Last night we introduced you to Sal Villa, a McAllen memorial high school student, juggling the average life of a teenager all while being visually impaired. Tonight Hannah Mackenzie gives us a closer look at Sal’s activates and accomplishments.
Sometimes in life, you come across people who leave a lasting impression on you. Sixteen-year-old Sal Villa is one of those people. Despite his disability he stands out from the rest, always striving to go the extra mile. Here’s part two of ‘No Holds Barred’.
Ask anyone who knows Sal and they’ll tell you he excels at just about everything he sets his mind to. Playing in his high school band, boxing, tennis and being an active member of the McAllen Memorial high school ROTC program.
Sal is the first visually impaired cadet to join school’s ROTC program.
Sal’s ROTC instructor, Alfredo Longoria says as much as Sal learns he also sets the bar.
If he wasn’t visually impaired, Sal says he’d want to join the marines. ROTC is probably the closest thing he’ll get to that. And he admits, it’s taught him a lot.
That confidence carries into other areas. Sal plays percussion with the McAllen Memorial Mustang band. Last year, he earned a division one title at the state solo ensemble competition.
Angel Martinez, Sal’s band director, says his upbeat personality is contagious, yet unmatched.
Learning songs is also challenging. Sal doesn’t use brail he memorizes every song through repetition.
Outside of school, Sal plays tennis, trains at a boxing gym, and one of his favorite hobbies: mentoring blind children in the community.
Sal’s big heart and commitment to the community caught the attention of McAllen mayor, Jim Darling. In June alongside one of the children he mentors Sal was awarded a key to the city.
So what’s next for the 16-year-old who has a key to the city, endless talent and an unquenchable thirst for learning?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘no holds barred’ as being ‘free of restrictions or limits’. The phrase perfectly describes Sal villa. Despite being born with a disability Sal pushes himself to his full potential each and every day he’s a role model for anyone who has the pleasure of meeting him.