Toppenish Teen Fakes Pregnancy to Teach Peers a Lesson

Toppenish Teen Fakes Pregnancy to Teach Peers a Lesson
TOPPENISH -- A gutsy senior project by a Toppenish student has quickly earned her national attention. Gaby Rodriguez faked her own pregnancy for the assignment. When the story hit the paper this morning, Gaby was quickly overwhelmed with calls from national morning show outlets hoping to tell her story. Action News talked to her about why, and how, she pulled off the elaborate hoax.

Gaby says when she first told her friends and family she was pregnant in December, the harsh words started flying.

"She's Latina,” said Rodriguez. “She's from Toppenish High School. It was bound to happen. There was no surprise to my pregnancy."

"You just ruined your lives, you made everything difficult for yourselves,” said Gaby’s boyfriend Jorge Orozco. “You aren't going to make it.

And she wasn't the only one hurt for the sake of her senior project, faking a pregnancy to see how people would react. To succeed in the experiment, she lied to almost everyone in her life. Only a handful of people, including her mom, boyfriend, and principal knew the whole thing was a hoax.

"It was tough for all of us,” Orozco said. “We lied to a lot of people. A lot of people were upset when they found out."

Most of her siblings didn't even know the truth. Neither did her boyfriend's parents, thinking they were going to be grandparents. It's amazing the lie was pulled off at all.

"They were pretty upset, but they'll get over it,” said Gaby’s mother, Juana Rodriguez. “It's nothing but positive from here on out."

Many are admiring how she managed to do it. The homemade bump was filled with clay and cotton, and looked just like the real thing. That's why an assembly to reveal the hoax was so emotional for Gaby and Jorge. She says she was relieved to finally come clean and teach her classmates a valuable lesson.

"A lot of students are grateful I did this because I've gotten comments saying I deal with stereotypes and rumors in my family and school as well,” she said. “They said, I'm glad you spoke up about it."

And so is Gaby. The teen says she's never felt freer in her life. She's currently looking forward to prom and college in the fall, and handling all those calls from New York. Until then, it's back to being a normal teen, but what she's accomplished is far from it.

While Action News was there, Gaby's phone was ringing off the hook from the Today Show, Early Show and Good Morning America. She was already planning to go on a field trip tomorrow, and hopes to put off the national attention until it all sinks in. Gaby has dreams of becoming a social worker, and is set to attend Columbia Basin College in the fall. She says she wants to help troubled teens.