Sal Santos Receives Mayor’s Award by Salvador Villa

Authors: Salvador Villa, student at Memorial High School

Keywords: blind student, mentoring, percussionist, JROTC, NFB

Abstract: A high school blind student tells how he was awarded the keys to his city of McAllen.
Sal and his mother with the Key to the City of McAllen.

Sal and his mother with the Key to the City of McAllen.

I am currently a junior at Memorial High School in McAllen Texas and I participate in several extracurricular activities in my school and community. Currently I am a percussionist in the high school band and a sergeant in JROTC program. I have been blind since birth but I have not let my disability stop me from achieving my goals. In the future I’m planning to become a lawyer and a leader of the state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).

Also I plan to help other blind children like my mom and my mentor Daniel Martinez have done in the last few years. Helping others became one of my goals when I started to volunteer in the NFB BELL (see Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning) program that comes to the Rio Grande Valley every year. What motivates me to do this is seeing how the young students improve in school and in their lives. I enjoy showing others that being blind does not and should not mean anything to anyone.

In May, I had the honor and privilege of receiving the keys to the City of McAllen. I received this award in recognition of my perseverance, dedication, and accomplishments and for inspiring others to perform beyond their expectations. What really means a lot to me is how the plaque is made. On top, it has a key that says City of McAllen, on the bottom the reason I received the award is engraved in Braille and print. It was a memorable day and I am glad I was able to share this moment with my family, teachers, and some of the members of my NFB chapter.

Editor’s Note: Watch the news video of Sal performing in the band and presenting the JROTC color guard along with him mentoring a young blind student.

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