The women of Delta Gamma sorority presented John Quinones with his very own UND hockey jersey. Quinones was at UND to talk about values and ethics.
“You just gotta take that first step,” John Quinones said when he addressed the University of North Dakota.
Quinones has traveled all around the world from the North to South pole with ABC and primetime live, but it was his very first time in North Dakota on March 27th. He is the host of ABC’s TV show, “What Would You Do.” Quinones had never been to UND or even North Dakota until he came to speak at UND for Delta Gamma’s annual Lectureship on values and ethics.
“I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am today, especially given my background,” Quinones said.
“I grew up in poverty in San Antonio, Texas, where my father was a janitor and we were migrant farm workers,” Quinones said.
Besides how he grew up, Quinones said that his family’s door was always open to abused women, children, and even wounded animals. When he asked her why she said Que es esto? Which in Spanish means, what would you do?
“I mean I’d like to say I was born to do this kind of show because of the way I grew up and where I grew up,” he said.
Quinones says as he grew up, he wanted to be a TV reporter, but everyone said that he couldn’t do it. Because he was Hispanic.
“My own teachers would say, ‘John, that’s a wonderful thing that you have, this dream of being a tv reporter, but we think you should try woodshop, or metal shop, or auto mechanics,’ not that there’s anything wrong with those, but I wanted to go to college,” he said.
His own teachers judged his abilities based off of the color of his skin and the accent in his voice.
And that’s what his show, “What Would You Do,” is all about.
“We all make assumptions, we all judge by appearances and that’s one thing we’re learning from this show that we shouldn’t do that, and I think it just reminds us that we have some work to do when it comes to how we treat people and accept people who are different,” Quinones said.
He said the most surprising stories that he has encountered are the ones that no one would expect.
“We did a story on racism and in walks this big white biker guy with tattoos and he looks like a skinhead and we think he’s gonna be one of the bad guys, one of the racists, but he actually turns out to be one of the nicest teddy bears you can imagine,” he said.
The most important thing he wanted people to take away from his lecture is that if he can do it, then we definitely can.
“Once you take that first step, then you take another step, and then another, and pretty soon, after a lot of hard work, you’ll get where you need to go.”
UND student Kassey Wilson said Quinones really opened her eyes to the rest of the world.
“I’ve watched a few of his shows, and each one is more amazing than the next, Wilson said.
Another student, Madalyn Worden also saw Quinones’s lecture, and said her favorite part was when Quinones actually showed a part of one of his shows about a kid with downs syndrome working in a grocery store.
“I couldn’t believe how real it all was, like I know the actors and stuff weren’t real, but the responses of others were real, and it was interesting to see how many people stood up for what they thought was right,” Worden said.
Quinones wanted everyone to know something about his story, so that others would be driven to go for their dreams, even if they’re far out of reach.
“I want you to look at me and my story, ‘specially in these college years, when you’re wondering if you should give up or work instead, I want you to know that you can work hard and you can do whatever you set your mind to,” he said.