How far would you go for your senior project? Most of us would happily settle with more boring, simple, and conventional topics for our senior project. We would play it safe. That’s just us, but there are some out there who prefer to challenge themselves with the harder topics.
Take aspiring social worker Gaby Rodriguez as an example. The senior was determined to do a senior project that was a bit more challenging. What she did? The seventeen-year-old senior student from Washington State faked her own pregnancy. Her project include lying to her whole school. She wore fake belly to convince her peers and to gather their reactions.
The people who knew that her growing baby bump was just wire mesh and cotton quilting were few: her mother, her boyfriend, and the school’s principal. Gaby’s older brothers, her school teachers, and all the students (aside from her best friend) were convinced that she was pregnant, even her boyfriend’s parents were convinced too.
“At times, I just wanted to take it off and be done. I didn’t want to go through this any more,” Gaby stated.
On a Wednesday, Gaby unveiled the truth. She took off her fake baby bump in front of the whole Toppenish High School student body. She told the truth during her presentation called Stereotypes, Rumors, and Statistics. The brave senior student said that she decided to do the experiment as a part of her senior project, a requirement for students so they can graduate.
The Toppenish High School is made up of 85 percent of Hispanic students, and Gaby said that part of the reason for her experiment was that there was a high teenage pregnancy rate among Latinos.
According to the school’s principal, Trevor Greene, “It ‘happened’ at homecoming. So in essence, Gaby sacrificed his senior year to find out what it would be like to be an expecting teenage mom. I admire her courage. I admire her preparation. I give her mother a lot of credit for backing her up on this.”
The principal admitted that he was shocked when Gaby came to him with her idea last spring. He rightfully warned her about the reactions of the people around her. He told her that people, including her friends, might talk about her behind her back, that her older brothers might try to beat up her boyfriend, and there might be a backlash when she reveals the truth.
The first thought that Gaby’s mother, fifty-two-year-old Juana Rodriguez was, “I thought she was crazy.” The mother found it hard to lie to so many relatives including six of her eight children, but she was determined to support her daughter’s experiment.
To make her “pregnancy” believable, Gaby started wearing loose-fitting sweaters and then changed to homemade prosthetic belly after spring break. According to Gaby, two of her women teachers were relieved, but her biology teacher, Shawn Myers, was said to be impressed by how good her experiment was.
Mr. Myers said, “I just kind of leaned forward and said, ‘Are you serious?’ I told her, ‘You’ve run a great value experiment. You couldn’t tell anybody because you had to control the variables.’ Gaby will have to finish her study and present her research to a board of community members in May.
Twenty-year-old Jorge Orozco, Gaby’s boyfriend of three years, reacted like her mother. He said, “I thought she was nuts. I thought I was going to end up getting into problems with her brothers. I didn’t really want to get into problems with anybody.” But he added, “I was doing it for her. My parents thought it was going to be a boy.”
Gaby said that she was terrified about how the whole student body would react to her after lying to them the whole year. But contrary to her fears, her presentation was greeted with loud cheers and a standing ovation, the very first in the school’s history.
Even the district superintendent attended the presentation. The district superintendent left a conference on the other side of the state at 5:30 a.m. just to watch Gaby’s presentation, saying, “I wouldn’t miss this.” July 27 was the supposed due date of Gaby’s “baby,” two months after her graduation.
Gaby wanted to go on an English trip to Oregon without her fake baby belly that’s why she made the revelation. She also wanted to attend her prom wearing the dress she wanted, a close-fitting mermaid-style gown with spaghetti straps. Gaby also said that she has no plan to be pregnant for real until she graduates.