Motivational speaker Sergio Argueta visited East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School students on the school’s Respect Day on Sept. 29.                  

Mr. Argueta is founder and board chairperson of S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc. (Struggling To Reunite Our New Generation), one of the leading gang prevention and intervention agencies in the northeastern United States. During his discussion with students, Mr. Argueta told students they were “some of the most intelligent, resilient kids ever” and that he understood the unique challenges they face on a daily basis. He also encouraged students to do they best they can and put it on display, to never give up and to think about what others may be going through. He also encouraged them to remember that some individuals feel alone and like they don’t belong anywhere.  

After the assembly, freshmen in April Francis’ global history classes were given various inspirational quotes to connect to the “Respect Day” assembly and asked to write reflections. Here’s what they shared:

“The assembly was about respect and how we can show it to ourselves and others. The speaker showed how, if we show others respect and peace, then we will get the same back. This was an inspiring way to signify Respect Day,” David Rodriguez said.
“Mr. Argueta made me think about how I can help my community. I want to start doing community service, especially during the winter. I will help shovel for those who cannot do themselves,” Nicholas Saldana said.

“Mr. Argueta’s message was a powerful one. He made me rethink how I feel about school. He really connected to my life,” Joshua Duryea said.

“The assembly was very inspiring. We learned that we should use our voice, and be the best person we can be, no matter what,” Gianna Rizzo said.

“I think our assembly was very inspirational. I hope everyone took something valuable from what we heard. It’s important to make the right choices in the people you surround yourself with, to make sure you are doing the right thing,” Nicole Acampora said.

“This assembly has made me want to be more respectful to my family and friends. And also, to speak to others I may not normally speak to. I also learned that it is better to keep the peace with people [who] I may have a conflict [with] and stay positive,” Isabelle Bigitschle said.