A local college student and mother of two is in Washington, D.C., to attend Tuesday's State of the Union address as a special guest of first lady Jill Biden.
Kezia Rodriguez, a general science major at Bergen Community College, who plans to enter a four-year nursing program, met Biden when she came to BCC last month to promote federal relief funds for community colleges.
Rodriguez, who said her school's federally funded child care program enables her to study full time, was asked to introduce the first lady. But according to the college's spokesperson, Larry Hlavenka, Rodriguez made an impression on a number of high-profile guests, who included the governor and his wife, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-Wyckoff, and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
"Kezia was undoubtedly the star of the day," Hlavenka said.
The free child care provided to her twin daughters under the American Rescue Plan enabled Rodriguez, a resident of North Bergen, to switch from a part-time matriculation to full-time, accelerating her intended entrance into nursing school.
Now, she has been invited to Washington to attend the State of the Union, where she will sit in the first lady's box among other invitees who exemplify Biden's key initiatives, including Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Ahead of the address, Gov. Phil Murphy applauded Rodriguez's trip to the nation's capital as a representative of New Jersey, tweeting that, as a mother and full-time student, "Kezia exemplifies resilience, courage, and dedication."
Nicholas Katzban is a breaking news reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Bergen college student Kezia Rodriguez to attend State of the Union