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Rescuing Rodrigo: Round Rock Sophomore 'Blessed' After Incredible Journey

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 PM CDT
The National Anthem: a pregame routine that is far too routine for many athletes. Not Round Rock High School's Rodrigo Rosales. The "Star Spangled Banner" strikes a chord with the sophomore - a reminder of where he is, and where he came from.

"You would have never know until he told you," said Rosales's best friend Breylin Mitchell.

"It's a little painful to remember where you came from," said Rodrigo's stepmother Laura.

For the first 12 years of his life, Rosales lived in El Salvador - a third world country crippled by gang violence and poverty. His two room home, shared by four people, was only safe because of the gate and armed guard outside.

Marcelo, Rodrigo's biological father, fled to the U.S. in 1996. He, along with his wife Laura, could not go another day knowing their son was in danger.

"I was afraid that something could happen to him," said Marcelo. "I saw a lot of things that are still in my mind."

In August 2009, the Rosaleses brought Rodrigo to Round Rock. Albeit out of harms way, his journey was far from over. Rodrigo knew just five words of English.

"I was a little scared maybe?," admitted Rodrigo.

His English may have been broken, but his athletic dreams had never been more in tact. Playing basketball on a hardwood floor, indoors for the first time ever - Rosales began to excel both on the court and in the classroom.

"Just to know that he'd only been here since the 7th grade was astonishing to me," said Cody Blake, Round Rock head boy's basketball coach.

In just his second year in the United States, Rodrigo was Class President and voted best overall male athlete at his school. He's now considered fluent in English and as only a sophomore - he's a starting guard for the Dragons.

"Now that I'm here I feel I have more to be happy and blessed of than when I was back in El Salvador," said Rodrigo.

"I'm speechless," admitted Marcelo. "I don't know what to say. It is incredible the way he has handled everything."

"I think it's a blessing to be able to see what you've had as an individual in growing up as an American, and then being able to give that to someone else," said Laura.

So while the National Anthem signals the start of a game, for Rodrigo it represents the culmination of a remarkable journey.

"I'm thankful to be here and I don't take anything for granted."
Rescuing Rodrigo: Round Rock Sophomore 'Blessed' After Incredible Journey


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