Monthly Student Spotlight: Keppler Villanueva

Reality Changers hosts monthly Speech Tournaments where students share personal stories and triumphs with their peers, tutors, and community guests. Each student is given five minutes to speak using techniques taught by Achievement Coaches and the Chief Inspiration Officer (CIO). Community guests judge the speakers on their execution of the speech techniques. Alex Reyes, Chief Inspiration Officer, opened Speech Tournaments with the prompt, “Where my feet have been will take me to where my head will go.” Seven student speakers competed and impressed the judges, however only one earned the title of Speech Tournament Winner.

Keppler is an 11th grader at Garfield High School and this is his second year with Reality Changers. Despite his unstable home life, he is hopeful to obtain his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer. Reality Changers had the opportunities to sit down with Keppler Villanueva after he told his story of heartache and hope. Reality Changers asked him about his motivations and aspirations:

What motivates you?
My little sister and my mom motivate me. My mom has gone through a lot to get me where I am today. [At past speech night], I saw Blair share his story about how he met his mom and dad. He performed his best and after watching him share his story, I knew my struggles won’t hold me back.”

What brought you to Reality Changers?
I want to be a first generation college student. To prove to the world that I can make something of myself. I want to be a mechanical engineer and own my own auto body shop. I like being able to make something with my own hands.

What do you want to show Reality Changers?
I hope to show Reality Changers that I can make it and the Achievement Coaches’ help was useful to me.

What would you tell your younger self?
No matter what happens keep moving forward. You might lose a lot of people, but you have to overcome that.

On Speech Night, Keppler shared his story of an abusive past, but he is motivated to change his reality. He believes his past will not define his future rather propel him toward it with Reality Changers on his side. “Reality Changers is like family to me. I look at my sisters (both in the program) and see them doing better than me, and I am grateful for their success. I want to let them know all the things we have gone through should not hold us back, but push us forward. I am going to college to become a mechanical engineer. I am going to tell my mom she can stop working and I am going to buy her a house. I’m going to prove to everyone who told me I am not going to make it that I am something and that I matter. My sisters are my reason and motivation to keep going. Every time I look at my sisters, they remind to keep fighting. I want to give back to my sisters, my mom, my community, and give back to people that have been through what I have been through.” Reality Changers is honored to feature Keppler this month.


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