Ruben Flores – Hernandez, a recent graduate of McKay High School in Salem, is our spotlight student this summer. He has worked hard to overcome significant obstacles this past year, and through it all, he has shown that passion and hard work will prevail.
Michelle Tonkin, a former board member of Michael Allen Harrison’s Snowman Foundation, worked hard to inspired Capitol Auto Group to create a scholarship fund in support of Ruben’s talent. Play it Forward, found a teacher for him and presented him with his very own piano. We then watched him finish out his senior year at Salem’s McKAy High School. He is not only an incredibly talented pianist, but has a natural gift for mathematics.
This young man has long been impressing his orchestra teacher Jim Charnhlom, along with his other teachers, so it was no surprise that he was accepted at all ten universities he’d applied to, and received scholarship offers for his musical ability.
Recently, Ruben has had to face significant health challenges, but they are not stopping him. Despite suffering from diminishing eyesight and hearing loss, Ruben’s attitude is filled with optimism and a strong commitment to success. He’s been learning brail over the past year, and continues to find ways to improve his memory to compensate for the loss of some of his vision and hearing.
In a news story on KOIN (watch it here) reporter Jenni Hanson had a chance to ask Ruben about how he is coping with his health issues.
“Through all of this I realized that my vision impairment, my hearing impairment, isn’t a disability,” he said, “but more of a challenge that I can and will overcome.”
We have been honored to be a part of Ruben’s musical life, and will stay tuned for the next chapter in his very bright future.