My name is Jafet Sebastian Valdez and I grew up in the Gage Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. I am a recent graduate from Gage Park High School. While my high school is definitely not one of the best on the South Side, I made the most out of it. I joined the Cross Country, Track, and Soccer teams and got involved with groups that allowed me to engage with/work in my community. Through programs such as VOYCE (Voices of Youth in Chicago Education), BuildOn, Ten80 Student Racing Challenge, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), and the Illuminated Cities Project, I have gained experience working on causes that I care about, such as immigration reform.
“I realized that hard work truly pays off and that there was so much to explore beyond the city of Chicago.”