St. John’s senior reaches last month of high school

Rodniqua Brothers pictured with her prom date Arthur Freeman. (Provided)

May 30, 2012, is less than a month away. What is just another Wednesday for most is bound to be one of the most important days in Rodniqua Brothers’ life: high school graduation.

The St. John’s High School student isn’t dwelling on the fact that her four years in high school are coming to a rapid end. She has more productive uses for her time, such as studying for final exams.

All the activities that normally demand Rodniqua’s attention are winding down, and she’s thankful for the extra time to focus on school.

Senior prom has come and gone, and so with it the time spent preparing for the tropical paradise-themed evening she once referred to as her class’ last hurrah.

“I feel like I was more relaxed this year than I was at my junior prom. I wasn’t concerned about every little thing. I just wanted to have fun,” Rodniqua said.

Months of training for a debutante ball sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority also came to end.

Despite her fears, the teen donned a “puffy white dress” and managed to sing, dance and curtsy without falling down.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking,” Rodniqua said.

The only major items left on Rodniqua’s to-do list are final assignments for school and, of course, to decide on her future.

Choosing a college hasn’t come easily. Just when Rodniqua thought she made a decision in Francis Marion University, a trip to Washington, D.C., last month has her rethinking her plans.

In April, a U.S. Department of Energy representative invited Rodniqua to observe an open discussion on future leader initiatives at the 2012 National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program.

While there, attendees from South Carolina encouraged her to look into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs at historically black colleges and universities, such as South Carolina State University.

Rodiniqua, who hopes to become a neonatologist or veterinarian, didn’t apply to State, but she’s considering it after finding out the school could offer her a scholarship.

“My mom thinks it’s a good opportunity. It’s just the fact that I haven’t decided yet, but she’s still really supportive,” Rodniqua said.

Rodniqua’s mother, RoQuelle Saxby, said she has mixed feelings about her daughter’s last-minute considerations. “I’m not totally against her going to State, I just thought she had already made her decision,” Saxby said. “When we went to the conference in Washington, she found out some good information that may be of help to her. If it’s going to help her, and that’s what she wants, then I’m OK with it.”

While she remains supportive, Saxby said she questions whether Rodniqua is looking into State for the right reasons.

“She’s more worried about the financial aspects of going to college, and I’m trying to steer her away from that and just focus on actually going to college,” Saxby said. “She doesn’t want to take out any loans, and a scholarship from State would help with that. ... It has its perks, but State wasn’t at the top of my list.”

Saxby, who attended S.C. State for two years in the late ’80s, said she isn’t sure why she doesn’t want her daughter to go to go to the school.

Saxby favors Francis Marion, but she revisited State with her daughter to help with their decision.

“I must say I was very impressed. I’ve seen improvement since I was there, so I was a little more comfortable with her decision to look into it,” Saxby said.

“I also thought the campus was gorgeous. I don’t know if it was because I’m older now, but I didn’t see that beauty before when I was there.”

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908.