Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School will see its name in lights when it is featured on a program airing on the Discovery Channel this winter.
The program was filmed in September, not by flocks of Hollywood directors and cameramen, but more fittingly, by a family of three who value a thorough education in its own way.
Darien Rodriguez, 34; his wife Patricia, 48; and their son Darien, 11, travel throughout the United States to film for the television show “The Profile Series.”
The show is broadcast nationwide on Discovery and hosted by actor Lou Gossett Jr. From one state to the next, this family is constantly preparing to catch the next big thing on camera.
Saint Stephen’s will be featured on the program for its 21st century innovative technologies, including the school’s new green Middle School building, its Marine Science program and its global exchange through the Atlas Initiative program. The independent school will be introduced in the report among other innovative schools that incorporate today’s technology into their curriculum.
Surreal Pictures and Video producer Patricia Rodriguez said she hopes other schools and parents see the show with Saint Stephen’s and take action to make these technologies a part of their schools.
“It’s a very competitive world out there today,” Patricia Rodriguez said. “With that, we wanted to find schools that are focused in preparing our students for a much larger world. A lot has changed in the last four to five decades. We can’t teach today the way we taught 40 years ago.”
Darien Rodriguez is just as inspired by the educational technologies as his wife.
“When I was younger, school never caught my attention,” he said. “But today everything is interactive and computerized, and the teachers take an entirely new approach. In the old days, they’d smack you across the head with a book and just tell you to read this and learn it. I wish I could go to school now versus back then and what I had to work with. I don’t think these kids realize how great they have it.”
In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, Darien Rodriguez said the general population gets caught up in their day-to-day lives.
“People generally like to do the same thing every day. So, when people watch our show, I hope that we take them out of that normalcy, that repetition and teach them something else,” he said.
The Rodriguez family, which is based in Miami, travels as a film crew unit.
“We travel all over the United States,” Patricia Rodriguez said. “Basically, what we do is we come out, we write our script, we shoot the actual footage we need, we go back to our studios and then we actually prepare a story so that it can be aired on the Discovery Channel.”
On top of carrying the heavy camera everywhere they travel, the Rodriguez family also brings along their son. Despite the travels from one state to the next, the elder Darien said his son thrives with his constantly new surroundings and home-schooled education.
“Darien is an imaginative kid, and his head kind of wandered a bit (in school),” he said. “Now that we’ve brought him into this home schooling thing, and he gets to travel with us, he gets to read something in his books, then physically see it on location. It’s very relatable to him, so it always keeps him interested.”
The younger Darien has enjoyed this different brand of education.
“I really like being able to see all the different schools in states across the country, but I have to bring a lot of erasers to do homework,” he said. “When my dad is driving I have to keep erasing because he uses the brakes a lot.”
A family who travels together stays together, you could say; and the Rodriguez family is living proof.
“When I was working as an IT (information technologist), my family hardly saw me,” Darien Rodriguez said. “It’s a very stressful job that requires maybe 60 hours a week. Now they get to see me all the time.”
Rodriguez said he sees his son taking on the family business when he grows up.
“He’s a storyteller. He’s very imaginative,” he said.
As this family continues to work together, the Rodriguez crew members said they hope that they will be able to produce a major film in the near future.
“I hope our family remains tightly knit, and at the same time, maybe we’ll get our names up in a couple lights,” he said.
Patricia and Darien Rodriguez take on the roles of parents, film crew, script writers, producers and teachers, but according to Patricia Rodriguez, they are “just the production team.”
The Profile Series episode featuring Saint Stephen’s will air for the first time between December and February on the Discovery Channel.
Junior, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
Activities: Co-editor-in-chief of The Gauntlet, president of Spanish Club, Student Ambassador, secretary of Math Club, National Honor Society member and tutor, Varsity soccer, U-17 Brandon Flames CDL soccer, Arts and Letters Society, Spanish National Honor Society, TOP Soccer volunteer
Why I joined the newspaper staff: As a freshman, I was ready to learn more about my high school and expand my social network while practicing what I love most — writing.