Hunter Valencia

May 1, 2021

Hunter Valencia
Hunter Valencia
Hunter Valencia is a 17-year-old Analy High School junior and recent transplant to Sebastopol who believes that making the world a better place begins at home.  His passion for education, dedication to community, and interest in making a positive impact has led him to being recognized as a Sebastopol “Local Who Makes a Difference.” Hunter moved to Sebastopol with his family in 2019 with a history of participation in community service and student government already firmly established. 
Community Service: Hunter is no stranger to community service. He has been active in giving back since he was a toddler attending events with his mom. When Hunter was seven, he decided that he wanted to grow out his hair and donate it to make wigs for people with cancer. He had just started at a new school and the students began to tease him. Rather than being upset by the situation, he saw it as an opportunity raise awareness among his classmates. He invited Relay for Life to come to his school, and together they held a presentation for the entire school. When Hunter was eleven, he became a Certified Children’s Yoga teacher and has volunteered time teaching children yoga. Hunter has enjoyed volunteering for Soroptimist, Relay for Life, Bowling for Bobbies-a pink October event, Girls on the Run, Walk to End Alzhiemers, Salvation Army Kettle Bell ringing, Out of the Darkness-Suicide Awareness 5k, and many others. 
Hunter volunteers for the Peacetown Family Village. During the 2020 Virtual Peacetown Summer Concert Series he was featured in two videos and spoke about how youth engagement benefits mental health, self-esteem and resilience while promoting peace, positive youth experiences, positive role models, and development of decision-making skills. “It is important to engage our youth because they will be the ones carrying on the torch,” said Hunter in one of the interviews.

As a result of the pandemic sidelining in-person community Easter Egg Hunts in 2020 and 2021, Hunter took part in a collaborative community effort to ensure local families still had something fun to look forward to while using the pandemic safety measures. He helped to fill 6,000 plastic Easter Eggs and helped to assemble 500 Easter Egg Hunt To-Go bags. He has helped put together and distribute 3,500 Peace Bags in another Peacetown project that provided bags to families every week during what would have been the 13-week summer concert series. The bags contained items that promoted peace and positive childhood experiences. 

Student Government: Hunter has served in student government since the 4th grade. His first task in his new hometown was to run for freshman class president.  He has since served as ASB vice president and is currently Junior Class president. In his sophomore year Hunter was asked to serve as student representative to the West County School District. During that time, he successfully lobbied for a student representative for Laguna High School to ensure that they had a voice at the table. He also picketed with teachers for more equitable pay and was constantly vocal at meetings, even if it meant going against the board. In his junior year he has been focused on the recent consolidation of Analy and El Molino High Schools. Hunter wants unity between the two merging schools, and through a student-led unity movement has helped to gather over 200 survey results about consolidation.

DeMolay: From the age of twelve, Hunter has been a part of Demolay International, a fraternal organization for young men dedicated to preparing them to lead successful, happy, and productive lives by developing civic awareness, personal responsibility, and leadership skills. Hunter currently serves as the Redwood Empire Divisional Representative and has served as past Master Councilor of his local chapter. What he loves most about this club is that it is deeply involved with the community. Through his local chapter, Hunter has volunteered at the Gravenstein Apple Fair, Civil War Days in Duncan Mills, and Peacetown events.
Hunter lives with his mother Elizabeth Smith, his stepfather Teran, his little sister Lucy, and his dog Penny Lane. When he isn’t volunteering, studying or helping to expand and advance the Analy Speech and Debate Team (he and his debate partner are currently ranked 73rd in the nation and will be competing in the state championships in late April), Hunter enjoys jamming on his drums, hanging out with friends, and trying out spicy foods. Hunter would like to attend Stanford Law School, and one day get into politics. Hunter hopes that his recognition as a Sebastopol Local who Makes a Difference inspires other young people to get involved in their community. He feels that it is important for his peers to participate in meaningful activities where others expect them to show up, where they feel valued and helpful, and where they are supported to achieve something bigger than themselves to help make our world a better place.