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Students inspired by speaker

As human beings, we all face challenges. It’s up to us whether or not to let them affect us.

On Nov. 17, Alex Montoya gave a presentation titled “You can do Anything!” and gave out signed copies of his book: “Swinging for the Fences.”

Montoya was born without arms or a right leg. In Columbia, where he was born, the doctors told their family not to expect much from him due to his disabilities. At the age of four, Montoya moved to San Diego to live with his aunt and uncle.

Montoya walks with the aid of a prosthetic leg, and uses prosthetic arms. At the presentation, he signed every book that was given with a personal message.

Montoya shared his experiences about how he faced adversity.

“The most important thing in our lives is our experience, particularly how we overcome bad times,” Montoya said.

Natasha Davalos, 19, is an engineering major who attended the presentation on the suggestion of her career counseling teacher.

“It reaffirms that even though things can be really hard and you’re really unsure about what you’re about to do, things are possible if you’re really going to work at it and you’re really serious about it,” Davalos said.

In 2010, Montoya was given the Cesar Chavez Visionary Award by the Cesar Chavez Committee. This award is given to individuals who make a positive difference in their community. Three years later, Montoya joined this committee.

Montoya stated Cesar Chavez was one of his biggest inspirations, and was incredibly honored to receive an award named after his hero.

Kevin Bejarano, 21, is a digital broadcast arts major who helped out at the event.

“He’s promoting a very positive message: ‘just be yourself, and do what you can.’ He’s saying do good for everyone else. That’s what I took away from it,” Bejarano said.

Montoya said it’s important for college students to remember that they are in school to change the world.

Associated Student Government Sen. David Aguilar also attended the presentation.

“I learned how to be resilient, how to overcome obstacles that may deter you from reaching your ultimate goal,” Aguilar said, “But meeting people like this just motivates me even more to reach my educational goals, and life goals in general.”

Montoya told the audience that “disability or disabled is not a bad word and it doesn’t mean you are unable. It means you can’t do everything,” Montoya said.”Even though you have physical challenges, you can still achieve your goals, and you can still love yourself.”

“That’s probably the biggest challenge for people with disabilities is to truly love themselves,” Montoya added.

Montoya’s books “Swinging for the Fences” and “The Finish Line” are available on Amazon.

For more information, go to alexmontoya.org, or follow him on Twitter @AlexMontoya619.

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