John's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Being You

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Lake Elsinore, CA

JOHN RODRIGUES

Ice Sculptor / Author
High School Dropout to Harvard

“Don’t live somebody else’s life—take your unique talents and go live your own life.”

INTERESTS:

Art Food

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Individualism Success Struggle Failure Support & Encouragement Acceptance Choices Courage Focus Societal Pressures

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

accepting yourself, ADHD, art, challenges, chef, community college, cooking, creativity, dyslexia, education, failure, food, learning disability, life, sculpting, struggle, success, successful, talent, travel

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Growing up, he always felt like he was smart, but his grades were terrible; he failed the first grade, and started feeling like he wasn’t as good as the other kids.
  • After years of constantly feeling beaten down by the school system, he gave up and stop caring, eventually dropped out of high school.
  • Before he dropped out, he signed up for a cooking class, and his teacher recommended him for a kitchen job at a local hotel.
  • While there, he saw an ice sculptor carving a block of ice and was completely mesmerized; the sculptor took John under his wing and started teaching him the art.
  • His yet-undiagnosed dyslexia strengthened his three-dimensional thinking skills, so ice carving came naturally, felt like he’d hit a “sweet spot.”
  • Before long, his ice sculptures were in high demand...and he was only sixteen years old; he realized he could make a living doing the thing that he loved.
  • Eventually, he went back to school and earned degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard University.
  • Now, his passion is public speaking and educating others about how to foster the strengths that come with learning disorders.

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