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The Many Roads We Travel on
our way to build a resilient self!!!
Cleo Rodriguez, Jr.
National Migrant Seasonal Head
Start Association
My realization when I became involved
with the Devereux Early Childhood
Assessment for Preschoolers through my
good friend and colleague– Linda Likens.
First step
• Every journey begins with the first step…………
Different journeys
• Personal
Childhood Journey
My personal childhood journey
Started in Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Parents- both migrant farmers- cotton
Mom oldest of 7
Father- youngest of 8- dad’s father died in a farming accident when
my father was 2 yo
• Both parents 3rd/6th grade education
• I grew up in public schools
• Mom was a stay at home mom
• Dad worked two jobs– newspaper and produce department of
grocery store
• Sailed through school- average student
• One experience- 9th grade shop class– wanted to take a
communication/debate class. Built a stepping stool.
Foundations of my childhood
• Started with parents and one of my aunts
• Incredible love/admiration my parents had for each other- 50
years marriage
• Mom’s constant presence in school (room mother, sewed,
• Father’s constant– and I mean constant reminder—
“son, get educated– you don’t want to work like I
do– you can do something different- you will”
• I had an internal drive and resiliency that I cannot explain– I
just knew I could do it! NEVER GIVE UP!
Dad and Mom today….
• Worked with my aunt at the age of 10 at the offices she
cleaned. She was my inspiration of hard work and enjoy what
you did for work– she would whistle to work- literally– in the
100 degree weather as we walked to clean her office– never
complained- always smiled.
• Taught me about work in the fields– watermelons and orange
• She taught me the value of hard labor work– something I am
forever grateful… gracias Tia Tome
Me and Tia
• Graduated from high school with ZERO plan……..but knew I
wanted to go to college.
• Parents had ZERO clue how to help me gain access…….but I
got to the university on my own– that internal resiliency again.
• Flounder for 3 years before I met one of the single most
important persons in my life– Dr. Nelwyn B. Moore.
• She told me I was smart and I believed her.
Dr. Nelwyn B. Moore
We all have our journeys. We all
come to crossroads. We all have to
make choices……………
My reason today for excellence:

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