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Juan Cangas: Life’s Real Decisions

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“The people who you hang out with, you become,” states Juan Cangas, the motivational speaker who talked to 7th and 8th graders Tuesday morning. “He was very relatable,” said Neveah Felix, “a lot of Mexican parents tell their kids off and Mexican kids, like me, know how to bug their parents to make them give in to what we want!””That’s what I did to get a specific shirt I wanted,” adds Jazmin Michel.

Juan talked a lot about REAL decisions he made when he was in middle school that changed his life: one time when he went into the garden shed and smoked weed with his friend, even when he had a feeling in the pit in his stomach it was wrong; trusting in friends that made bad decisions, as when his first friend at 8 years old, started drama at the Skate Island with an ex-girlfriend. “I had to make a hard decision to leave my friends”; he became a father at 14 and Juan was scared, but decided he would be a father, no matter what; he made his mother cry. “Don’t run from your problems, especially not in a police station. I decided to make his mom proud for all the sacrifices she had made for him–trying to cross the border when she was in labor with him and then leaving everything and everyone when Juan was five to work in a meat-packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska. I focused on school, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, a full scholarship to the college of his choice, working for a Fortune 500 company, and traveling to talk to young people.”

“He has a good story to tell!” exclaims Elyza Zamudio. “I would have never thought that he would have done something like that.” “And that he was a dad at only 14 years old!” adds Aylin Varela.

A lot of parents have to struggle, like his mother, who had to sacrifice everything to come to the US when Juan was five years old. He didn’t realize it when he was younger, but now he knows that when he went to his friends’ house and the mother was never there, it was because she was working two, sometimes three jobs to support her children.

Make good decisions, and when you make bad decisions, decide to do better and learn from those mistakes. “Find one adult that cares about you to help you, because life will test you.”


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Juan Cangas: Life’s Real Decisions