Rebecca Pesqueda & Lisa Luna
Jourdanton ISD held a memorial assembly on Tuesday afternoon in honor of 17-year-old Vicente Valero, who was laid to rest this past Saturday, just outside of Charlotte.
JHS Principal Keith Chapman opened up the assembly by welcoming fellow students, staff and Valero’s family with a poem called “The Dash”.
“If you see on most tombstones, it gives the date/year the person was born and the date/year the person died,” said Chapman, “The most important part is in the middle, the dash. That represents all the things that happened in Vicente’s life, which is what we are here to do today.”
Teachers, friends and classmates of Valero then took turns speaking about him. The first to speak was Valero’s robotics teacher, Mr. Hatch. Mr. Chapman recalled Valero spending lunchtime with Mr. Hatch everyday to work through some puzzles and other stuff together.
“It was sure good to know him. Wherever he’s going now, he’s well covered,” said Mr. Hatch.
Abbie Lanier, Jourdanton FFA member, then spoke about how diligent and hard working Valero was behind the scenes when it came to preparing his pig projects for show. “His achievements were not defined in how good he did in the show ring or how many volunteer hours he logged. His success is defined by the work he accomplished when no one was looking. Vicente didn’t work to be recognized, which is what makes his effort that much more appreciated.”
Following Lanier was one of Valero’s good friends, Jabez Medrano, who spoke about how he and Valero first met last year.
“We were at a show and he saw that I didn’t have lunch, so he decided to come over and share his with me,” said Medrano, “We come to school to expect to learn about math, science and English, but we really learn lessons about our everyday lives, friends and family. This is the first time that I have lost a close friend, and for those who have lost close friends, I understand how you feel. Vicente you will be loved and missed by all.”
Officers of the Kindness and Compassion Club also came forward to speak about Valero. Members of the JHS band; Valero had been in band for seven years and played the trumpet. They presented Valero’s parents with a photo collage of him signed by members of the band. Following was the playing of the JHS Wind Symphony Band with the song “With Each Sunset”.
The junior class, alongside Valero’s parents and JHS faculty, then released white balloons to the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw.
“It describes just exactly who Vicente was,” said Mr. Chapman.
Kylee Myser then closed the assembly with a prayer. Students, faculty and staff, friends and the community then lined up to offer their condolences to Valero’s parents.
Staff remembers Vicente
“The tragic passing of Vicente has been devastating for the students of Jourdanton ISD. Vicente was active in several activities at JHS,” said JISD Superintendent Theresa McAllister.
She shared that one of Vicente’s characteristics was the smile he always seemed to have on his face.
“Some students were quoted as saying, ‘Vicente was always so nice to us and we are just freshmen.’ I think this is indicative of Vicente’s personality and for that Vicente will be deeply missed at JHS.”
McAllister continued, “One thing I have learned over the past two and a half years as superintendent of JISD is that when anyone or any family is going through tough times, especially when it’s the loss of a child, our school family, our parents and our community all pull together to support, comfort and help in any way they can. We are truly blessed to live and work in such a caring community.”
Jourdanton High School counselor Marie Fanno described Vicente as the sweetest young man who shared his smile with everyone every day.
“As the students shared memories of him this week they all said the same thing, ‘He was just a cool guy that was always smiling,’” said Fanno.
Among other recent tragedies that have claimed the lives of Jourdanton students are the vehicle accidents involving siblings Madison and Tanner McCleary in January of 2017, and Shannon Ruble in August of 2012.
Fanno said what we can all learn from these three accidents is that, “Life is short, smile as often as possible, be kind to all those around you, and let your friends and family know how much they mean to you. JISD will miss him.”
Jourdanton High School Band Director Babatunde Onibudo said, “Vincente was always a great student and loved by everyone in the Indian Band.”
Jourdanton High School teacher Patti Drummer shared how she had put together some of Vicente’s projects he did for her.
“One was his Power Point that I have all the kids do about their life and now I am very glad I did. I was able to use his Power Point and add his other projects to it and add music. They played it for the service and then gave the Power Point to the family,” Drummer said.
She also expressed, “Vicente was supposed to be with his team and myself taking his Networking and Technology state certification exam for IT on May 4, not us all saying goodbye to him that day. Vicente is a part of me as well and loved him like my own child as I do all my kiddos. He grew on all of those that knew him. His smile, his laughter, his success stories, his victories and even his defeats, which all became ours, too.”
Drummer ended, “I believe with all my heart and soul that: “God had a job position open and his only requirements was that he should fill it with only the best…. Vicente Valero met all GOD’s requirements and he now sits at the right hand side of God as his right hand man…..”
“May God give the Valero family peace and hold them ever so close in their hour of need.”
Jourdanton High School Ag teacher John Lanier said that Vicente Valero was one of the most pleasant individuals he has ever known.
“He was always smiling, always helping, and always working. Vicente volunteered to help whenever he could and was not afraid of hard work. He was a vital part of the Jourdanton FFA, especially in the pig barn where he kept his show pigs. He helped younger students with their projects and was a good example for them. Vicente was a proficient welder and had built several structures and projects. He most recently was building a Bar-B-Que pit for the stock show next year. Vicente touched the lives of all who were around him and will be truly missed.”