TOPPENISH, Wash. — A high school student who faked a pregnancy for six months as a social experiment stunned a student assembly this week by taking off the belly bundle.
Only a handful of people knew that 17-year-old Gaby Rodriguez was not really pregnant, including her mother, boyfriend, and the principal, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.
They helped keep the secret from some of her siblings, her boyfriend’s family, and students and teachers, all as part of a senior project on stereotyping.
Before the revelation, she asked several students and teachers to read quotes that people said about her during the course of her experiment.
“Her attitude is changing, and it might be because of the baby or she was always this annoying and I never realized it,’’ her friend Saida Cortes read.
It grew quiet in the gym as more and more quotes were read aloud, Yakima Herald-Republic reported. Then Rodriguez dropped her bomb: “I’m fighting against those stereotypes and rumors because the reality is I’m not pregnant.’’
She had been nervous about how the crowd might react. After all, she had been lying to them since October.
“In essence, she gave up her senior year,’’ said principal Trevor Greene.
“I admire her courage,’’ he said. “I admire her preparation. I give her mother a lot of credit for backing her up on this.’’
At first Rodriguez’s mother was not sure what to make of the idea, either.
“I thought she was crazy,’’ said Juana Rodriguez, 52, adding that it was difficult to lie to family members.
But she felt she needed to support her daughter, who enlisted two mentors from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s childbirth education program to help her with the project.
Gaby Rodriguez — who has a grade-point average of 3.8 — came up with the idea during her sophomore year.
Rodriguez plans to attend Columbia Basin College to study social work or sociology in the fall. And, she said, “I’m not planning to have a child until after I graduate.’’