ROCKLAND — Superintendent of Schools Alan Cron and Principal Beth Bohn are pleased to announce that Rockland’s John W. Rogers Middle School recently hosted youth motivational speaker Carlos Ojeda Jr.
On Friday, March 5, seventh and eighth grade students at Rogers Middle School participated in a virtual presentation with Carlos Ojeda Jr. Ojeda Jr. is a youth motivational speaker who focuses on empowering students to succeed by teaching them that their voice is their power.
“It was very inspiring and had a lot of plot twists, like when he said he was almost completely deaf,” seventh-grader Maria Quirino said. “The way he said things make it easy to relate to. Things just made sense.”
Within his presentation, Ojeda Jr. discussed topics related to overcoming adversity and hardship; his learning disabilities; difficulties he experienced when he immigrated to rural Pennsylvania from Puerto Rico; and how to combat being labeled by peers and society. He also spoke about how students at Rogers Middle School can use their voices for power.
“We hope students feel empowered to make a change and seize the moment, and we want to capture that momentum,” Principal Bohn said. “Mr. Ojeda did exactly that through his presentation, and we are extremely thankful for the opportunity our students had to listen to him speak.”
The presentation was funded by the Rockland Education Foundation.
“Our learning community at the Upper Middle School was given this unique opportunity by the Rockland Education Foundation to welcome a well-known youth engagement speaker,” seventh grade English teacher and program organizer Jacqui Gervias said. “During his session, Mr. Ojeda Jr. made sure students felt heard, not spoken to. He told them that individuality matters and that they can label themselves and should never allow others to label them.”
Added Gervias, “He reminded students about accepting differences: ‘You don’t need to understand in order to love. You don’t need to understand in order to respect. When one person shines, you shine. That’s how we look out for each other. We hold on to the people that matter.'”