CoolSpeakers motivate young Latinos

Co-authors+of+Get+in+Gear%3A+College+Knowledge+Book%2C+Carlos+Ojeda+and+Ernesto+Mejia%2C+spoke+to+our+students+about+the+harsh+realities+of+life%2C+while+motivating+us+to+better+our+future+by+getting+a+college+education.+%0A
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CoolSpeakers motivate young Latinos

Co-authors of Get in Gear: College Knowledge Book, Carlos Ojeda and Ernesto Mejia, spoke to our students about the harsh realities of life, while motivating us to better our future by getting a college education.

Co-authors of Get in Gear: College Knowledge Book, Carlos Ojeda and Ernesto Mejia, spoke to our students about the harsh realities of life, while motivating us to better our future by getting a college education.

Co-authors of Get in Gear: College Knowledge Book, Carlos Ojeda and Ernesto Mejia, spoke to our students about the harsh realities of life, while motivating us to better our future by getting a college education.

Co-authors of Get in Gear: College Knowledge Book, Carlos Ojeda and Ernesto Mejia, spoke to our students about the harsh realities of life, while motivating us to better our future by getting a college education.

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Laughter, encouragement, and even tears were the reactions everyone had when Carlos Ojeda Jr. and Ernesto Mejia spoke to Alisal students on October 20.

After making nine stops at schools across the country, Alisal was lucky enough to be selected by the United States Hispanic Leadership (USHLI) and CoolSpeak partnership with McDonald’s as the final stop of their tour.

Coolspeak, The Youth Engagement Company, is a group led by Carlos Ojeda Jr. and Ernesto Mejia, who looks to put the motivation back into education, according to their website.

The day began with a motivational “speech” by Carlos Ojeda Jr. He talked about his life and how he changed it. Ojeda’s story made the crowd laugh and cry, but most importantly, it gave the students the power to pursue their education. Senior Deysi Cortez said, “This presentation inspired us Latinos because it provided us with a lot of information, it inspired us to do good in school, and it motivated us to try harder in achieving our dreams.”  

After Ojeda’s empowering speech, Mejia had some inspiring words for the students. Mejia’s talk was mainly about building a good future in order to help out your parents, and having a better life. He said, “I want the students to be inspired, motivated, and driven to succeed. I want the parents to support their students and help them make their dreams come true.”

Mejia’s speech definitely gave the students confidence in their future because they were able to relate with his story. Senior Alexis Mejia said, “I was able to relate to their ethnic background because I am a 17 year old Latina, I am coming from a poor, disgraced town and I am trying to become a business owner while trying to help support my family. So, their stories hit home because I am trying to be the ‘black sheep’ by beating the odds of success.” Ernesto Mejia said, “I want the students to change their belief in their capabilities, their belief in their ability to attend college, and their appearance in their family.”

While giving his speech, he asked the students to raise their hand if they really wanted to help their family out and go to college. Raising her hand, senior Maria Parra was called up to the front by Mejia. After asking her a few questions, he pulled out his wallet and gave her one hundred dollars. With both excitement and surprise, Parra said, “I am going to give the money to my parents, or I am going to save the money to pay for books in college.” It was a huge surprise to everyone, and it showed how much Mejia wants to help out the students. Mejia said, “The reason we gave a student from each session $100 was for them to show their families what the future can look like when you get an education.”

After the first two periods, there was a college fair during 4th period and lunch. Miss U.S. Latina Stefany Jacobo said, “For the college fair we contact as many people as we can, and promote scholarships. We are here to provide the resources and make them more accessible.” During the college fair, students were able to get information from colleges, and they were able to get more information about the USHLI scholarship and the Ronald McDonald scholarship. The college fair gave students the opportunity to get advice from the admission representatives. USHLI Director of Operations Alfred Ramirez said, “Everyone has talents, if you pursue your dreams you can reach them. But, you need to ask for help and search for the resources.”

The presentation followed by the college fair was a good duo because it gave the students the opportunity to get as much information as they could. Senior Guadalupe Montoya said, “The presentation was useful to me because it informed us about many scholarships that are available to us.” Also, Mejia and Ojeda were handing out a book they wrote called Get in Gear: College Knowledge Book for students who need help understanding how to pursue their education. The assembly’s main purpose was to motivate students to apply for the scholarships, motivate them to continue their education, and inspire them to build a better future.

Overall, students seemed to enjoy the inspirational messages of both Ojeda and Mejia, who both did two presentations. Senior Daniel Salazar said, “I thought it was cool because we usually don’t have people like the presenters come to our school to give us tips and advice on how to become better, or teach us that we are valuable and deserve to go to college.”

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