From a hard childhood to Hollywood: Actor brings message of self-empowerment to Hereford students

From a hard childhood to Hollywood: Actor brings message of self-empowerment to Hereford students
Actor Michael Copon came to Hereford High School and Junior High Thursday, speaking to students about anti-bullying, self-empowerment, overcoming parental loss and more. (KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A Hollywood star is making a stop in Hereford, but it’s not to talk about his tv shows or movies; it’s to bring a message of hope to students dealing with anything from bullying to loss.

Actor Michael Copon came to Hereford High School and Junior High Thursday, speaking to students about anti-bullying, self-empowerment, overcoming parental loss and more.

“When I grew up, I was one of the heaviest-set kids in the class, being picked on, they even called me Hawaiian Punch," said Michael Copon, actor and speaker. “It all turned around when my father committed suicide when I was 12. And at that moment is when my brain sparked and I got to see death become such a reality to me to where you’ve got to live your life like, every minute like it’s your last.”

Copon’s life flipped in another direction after his loss, taking him to the varsity football team and eventually Los Angeles, where he was cast as a Power Ranger in one of his first auditions. With years in the industry, he wants to use his platform and upbringing as a source of inspiration and motivation for students, leading him to Hereford High School and Junior High.

“What I’m trying to do with my situation and platform is saying hey, I came from poverty, very low income family, a lot of abuse and different things going on in my family and then I took that negative and made it a positive," said Copon.

The high school’s principal says the event’s message of overcoming bullying and any other issues teens may face came at the perfect time.

“His message was perfect, just be nice to people and if there is issues out there, make sure that you find someone who can support you and help you through your situation and your problems," said Richard Sauceda, principal of Hereford High.

As for Copon, he hopes students continue to persevere no matter what’s going on in their lives.

“If someone’s trying to bring you down, it means they’re already below you.," said Copon. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to keep pushing forward. You know what your goal is at the end. I always tell everyone this is not a spring, it’s a long distance race.”

It’s a lesson for students and adults to take beyond the halls and into every day life.

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