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Blind Student Gabe Castellanos Featured in National TV Show Friday (Feb. 24)

Posted on February 23, 2012 in: @Gonzaga, Academics, Events, Feature Stories, Service, Students

Gonzaga junior Gabe Castellanos discovered a musical talent after he became blind. Photo The Gonzaga Bulletin.

‘The Real Winning Edge’ Profiles Student Meeting Challenges Daily

SPOKANE, Wash.  – Gonzaga University junior Gabe Castellanos will be featured in episode No. 323 of the television series “The Real Winning Edge” scheduled to air Friday, Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m. on KHQ TV’s SWX Right Now on digital subchannel 6.2. Some episodes also can be found online, including YouTube.

“The Real Winning Edge” (TRWE) is a product of Challenger Films, Inc. and was developed to feature high-performing teenagers in arts and sports who also face significant challenges (disability, illness, tragedy, depression, substance abuse, etc.). Recognizing the impact of TV on youth, Challenger Films developed this 26-week, 30-minute series to inspire young adults to seek a life of integrity and character by seeing it in their peers.

One of thousands of nominees, Castellanos was chosen for his musical ability to serve as a role model for all. In 2006, a diabetic coma left him with partial and fading vision. After graduating from Brophy High School in Tempe, Ariz., in 2009, Castellanos and his trusty guide dog Oregon made their way north to study computer science at Gonzaga. Using more than just the left side of his brain however, Castellanos’ passion is music and playing guitar. In an interview with The Gonzaga Bulletin in 2011, Castellanos explained his relationship with music:

“After I went blind, I had a lot of free time on my hands, and I started playing like an hour or two a day, just trying to improve myself. And through all that work, I became pretty good. It’s all about feeling – both in the sense of emotion, but also in the sense of if it feels right just go with it.”

As an undergraduate member of the Board of Regents, a Comprehensive Leadership Program student and an accessibility consultant for Gonzaga’s Disability Resource Education and Access Management, Castellanos stays highly involved in campus life. Losing his vision has not held him back.

“My life motto, the thing I live by, my personal philosophy, is: ‘Every day is a new day,’ ” Castellanos told the Bulletin. “And you don’t have to let the past define who you will become.  It’s like … life sucks sometimes, but you have to take it for what it was, and what it is, but also, you don’t have to let that make you.”

In TRWE, each student-athlete or artist is introduced by a professional in a similar field. In past episodes that has included Matt Hasselbeck, Jeff Gordon, Martina McBride, Misty May-Treanor, Apolo Ohno and many more. Four years ago Chris Lieto, Champion Ironman Triathlete, introduced now-Gonzaga alumnus and triathlete Justin Platon, showcasing his tolerance for adversity when dealing with a friend’s cancer. Watch that episode on You Tube.

Challenger Films has continued to add new shows to “The Real Winning Edge” since it started in 1987. More stations have been added each year it has aired; the full series is now airing on Fox-owned-and-operated stations in most major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, and in national syndication, reaching more than 85 percent of American households.

Don’t miss this episode. SWX Right Now is broadcast on KHQ-DT channel 6.2, and is available locally on Comcast digital channel 115; and Time Warner Cable digital channel 306 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

For more information on “The Real Winning Edge” contact Diane Preston-Reilly at 770-476-3232 or via email.

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