Thursday, September 15, 2016

Student success profile: Cuyamaca College student Moises Morales

More than $81,000 in scholarships were awarded to 135 Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges at the fall scholarship breakfast on Sept. 10. Here's the story of one student who was honored.
Moises Morales
Moises Morales knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges. After all, the 23-year-old San Diego resident hasn’t let cerebral palsy keep him from excelling as a business administration major at Cuyamaca College or playing as a midfielder with the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team. 

“When a person starts thinking and has it in their mind, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I can’t do that,’ then you’re already limiting yourself,” said Morales. “You can’t limit yourself. You just go out and do what you can do.” 

It is that type of outlook that led to Moises being honored with a $500 Barnes & Noble Textbook Award, which was presented at a Sept. 10 scholarship banquet sponsored by the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. 

Those who know Moises say they are not surprised about the honor.

 “Moises has a very positive, ‘can do’ attitude about everything,” said Mathematics Instructor Eric Preibisius. “He is always smiling, and his enthusiasm is contagious to those around him. He worked very hard in my class, and was never ashamed or afraid to ask questions, or to come by my office during office hours to seek help. In addition, he also took advantage of all the support systems that were in place to help him succeed.”

 “He represents what is best in our students at Cuyamaca College as he exemplifies what hard work and determination can accomplish,” said Preibisius.

Morales is on track to transfer to San Diego State University as he seeks to carve out a career in international commerce.

Morales grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of Paradise Hills with a large family of limited means. Among the things his parents could provide was their love for soccer, and Morales began playing at the age of 7 on a team coached by his mother. Less than a decade after he took up the sport, he made the Paralympic National Soccer Team and competed in competitions in England, Holland, Spain and elsewhere.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said Morales, who has limited use of his left arm and walks with a slight limp in his gait. “I never thought someone like me would travel around the world and represent my country.”

Though he no longer competes in international competition, he remains dedicated to his studies. He has been at Cuyamaca College since shortly after graduating from Chula Vista High School, saying he enrolled at the Rancho San Diego school because of its atmosphere, reputation for excellence and low cost.

“Cuyamaca is a very good college with excellent professors who are willing to help any student with any challenge and that has a really nice environment for studying,” he said. “You’re surrounded by people who have the same goals and interests. It’s a good school to start your college education. I’m happy I came here and I’m so grateful for the recognition and the Barnes & Noble scholarship.”