DALLAS - Dallas ISD students gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the victory of a local professional boxer who is also a teaching assistant at a Dallas school.
The students are really moved by Oscar Mojica, who tells them that no dream is too big. They just have to be willing to work hard, and yes, even fight for what they want to do.
"Thank you. I'm a little bit nervous,” Mojica said when speaking to the students. “People ask me if I get nervous when I fight, and I always tell them I get more nervous standing in front of people talking than when I fight."
Students at DISD's School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove gave Mojica a standing ovation for achieving one of his dreams.
He scored the biggest win of his professional boxing career at Madison Square Garden last weekend, beating three-time Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes in a six-round split decision.
"As soon as I landed that first punch, I knew that I broke his nose,” Mojica said. “And from there, I knew I had to seize the opportunity."
And seizing opportunities is what Mojica impresses on students.
The humble 26-year-old is a product of DISD schools. He grew up in Oak Cliff, where he began boxing at 6 years old.
"Seeing that I can motivate them, that means more than me winning,” he said. “It means I'm winning at motivating them and them pushing and pursing their dreams."
"Oscar Mojica told me that if you have a goal, to never give up,” one student said. “You keep on going until you achieve it.”
As a teaching assistant, Mojica practices what he preaches, and students can recite a variety of his inspirational messages.
"His really powerful and encouraging lesson I've learned is that hard work conquers all," student Samantha Urbina said.
"He's always told me that I can accomplish anything as long as my mind is set to it,” said student Noe Peralta. “And I just follow what he tells me and he encourages me to follow my dream and to never give up.”
"He's a really great guy! He inspires almost, I think, everybody in the whole school. Every single student in the whole school," student Edward Zarsosa said.
"I do boxing, but I really want to help kids with education and pursuing their dreams and whatever they want to do when they grow up," Mojica added.
Mojica is a busy man. Aside from being a professional boxer, he's a husband and father of two.
In addition to being a teaching assistant, he's going to college and is considering teaching as a career.