Jonathon Montoya is an 18 year old senior at Del Valle High school, he participates in Austin PAL boxing. Jonathon has been with PAL since fall of 2015 and he is well respected by the Officers, coaches and his fellow teammates. Jonathon is regarded by the boxing coaches as a true leader in the gym and in the community. Jonathon takes every kid that enters the gym under his wings and works with them. All of the kids look up to him as a role model. Jonathon will be joining the NAVY after high school and hopes to study marine biology.
How has PAL helped you think about your future?
Boxing and PAL has given me great opportunities, they have not limited my success. I have learned that I can use the skills I learned in boxing to have a positive impact on my future. I remember early on when I was asked by one of the Officers what I wanted to do after high school. I told him I wanted to study marine biology in the NAVY, and ever since he has been making sure that I am on track to accomplish that goal.
How has your perception about Police changed?
Ausitn Police and PAL supports all youth in different sports and activities. It definitely helps change the stereotype that cops are killers and they don’t care about kids or the community. We see Officers on a daily basis and in different situations that help us understand that they are just like us and they only want to see us succeed in life.
How have the Officers played a role in your life?
The Officers have been a role model to myself and teammates. They have been positive role models and mentors for us by taking us to different fun activities like movies and bowling, and supporting us in school and during competitions. Whenever I’ve been in need, they’ve always had my back. Officers came to my school a few times and once just to sit in a meeting I had with a principal to show support. It's funny when other students see me with the Officers, they think I'm in trouble, and then they see that we're just hanging out and talking like friends.
What is your favorite memory about PAL?
My first fight was January 2016 in the annual golden gloves tournament. It was memorable because I was supported by all of the coaches, my teammates, my family and Officers. I had confidence that I would win because I had a lot of people rooting for me. I won that fight with a knockout and earned a golden gloves championship jacket.
What would life be like without PAL?
If I wasn’t in the PAL program, I probably wouldn’t be hanging with the right crowd. I have a place to go every evening and it’s free. I didn’t like too many other sports and when I found boxing it opened my eyes to greater possibilities for myself. I wouldn’t be boxing without PAL because of the expenses and resources it takes to stay in a sport like this. PAL has definitely allowed me to stay in this sport and see a future in it. I found out that I can box while I’m in the NAVY. So I’m more focused on progressing in my boxing career and in life than I am getting in trouble. I don't want to let anyone down.
Anything you would like to add?
I just want to thank the PAL program because it has definitely changed my perception of the Police. Keep doing what yall doing. Growing up in a bad neighborhood, I used to believe the media portrayals and people around me when they would say not to trust Police but with my firsthand experience I definitely have respect for the Police.