The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 7, 2013

Speaker says ‘Your voice is power’

DANVILLE — Carlos Ojeda Jr. had a message for Danville High School students on Thursday.

“Knowledge is power. Your voice is your power,” the motivational speaker told the teens.

Ojeda Jr. — a community advocate who works with high school and college-aged youth to spread his message of education, leadership, community activism and entrepreneurship — was invited to speak in Danville by the students of DHS’ Hispanic Leadership Council.

The council members first heard Ojeda Jr. speak last spring at the annual Latino Youth Conference at the University of Illinois.

Ojeda Jr. gave motivational and leadership presentations at South View and North Ridge middle schools Thursday morning and a final assembly in the afternoon at DHS.

Ojeda Jr. sprinkled in advice as he talked about his life, including his upbringing in Newark, N.J., where he witnessed a gang shooting when he was 10 years old. The violence prompted his immigrant parents to move the family to Redding, Pa., but that’s when the real trouble began for Ojeda Jr.

“I had trouble all the time … in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension by the time I was in tenth grade,” he said.

“They wanted to put me in a special school with special people,” he joked.

“I was told I would never amount to anything — I could either drop out (of school) or die — and I believed them,” he said.

Ojeda Jr. told the DHS student body that dropping out of school wasn’t an option for him nor should it be for them.

“It’s up to you to decide,” he said. “If you drop out of high school, you make $10,000 less a year (than a high school graduate) and you’ll make millions of dollars less over your lifetime.”

Eventually, Ojeda Jr. found out he had “a hearing problem and a communication problem” that was affecting his schooling.

When a teacher encouraged him to consider going to college and to take the SAT college entrance exam, he said it “changed his life.”

Ojeda Jr. also told the teens that time is precious and to love their families and warned against ruining their lives with some of the choices they make.

“I look at all the stupid things I’ve done, all the times I put my life on the line and how I could have lost everything,” he said.

Ojeda Jr. described his father as a daunting figure who worked in a factory around the clock.

“The only reason we never came to blows was because my mom always came between us,” he said.

When Ojeda Jr. learned his father was dying, it changed everything.

“Just when I learned to live with my father, I had to learn to live without him,” he said.

“I wish I had all the five minutes I wasted over my lifetime, so I had that time to spend with my father,” he said.

“You have those five minutes and people who love you,” he said, pointing to the crowd. “Love each other, love your family and smile a little more.”

Ojeda Jr. ended up receiving a four-year scholarship to a university in Michigan and being the first member of his family to graduate from college. He said his dad, who never cried at funerals, cried at his college graduation.

When Ojeda Jr. showed a photo of his father hugging him at graduation on a large projection screen, the student body collectively said, “Awww.”

He also showed photos of his wife and him on their wedding day and of his two sons.

“Your voice is your power. I had to believe in myself,” he said.

Cristina Padron, DHS junior and member of the leadership council, said, “His childhood, his story was so intense.”

Alyssa Trujillo, fellow DHS junior and council member, said, “No matter what, if you speak up, you can change things.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 29, 2014

  • NWS-CN 07-20 Foster mug County clerk on hunt for general election judges DANVILLE — The Vermilion County Clerk’s office is looking for a few good men and women for this year’s general election.On Thursday, Vermilion County Board members certified the county’s first group of election judges for the November general electio

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-29 Talking photo Report: Medicare looking better WASHINGTON — Medicare’s financial future is looking brighter despite a growing wave of baby boomers reaching retirement.Getting relief from a slowdown in health care spending, the program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030, the

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Reports Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleFriday:Battery and obstructing an officer in the 1600 block of East English Street.Burglary at The Juke, 1214 E. Main St.Saturday:Theft in the 1500 block of Oak Street.Vehicle burglary in the 100 block of

    July 29, 2014

  • Two hurt in weekend shootings in Danville DANVILLE — Two victims are listed in good condition following a pair of weekend shooting incidents in Danville.Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason confirmed the shootings, which took place around 8:15 p.m. Friday and just before 5 a.m.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Saturday, 10:08-10:23 a.m. — A medical call in the 200 block of Delaware Avenue.Saturday, 10:47-10:54 a.m. — Assist Medix in the first block of East Harrison Street.Saturday, 11:37-11:49 a.m. — A medical

    July 29, 2014

  • Library sets program for Farmers' Market

    July 28, 2014

  • Reception celebrates truck

    July 28, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 28, 2014

  • Artists can sell artwork

    July 27, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
NDN Video
NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now!
Must Read