Auburn Middle School Student Heading To State House

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Kiara Valdes, an eighth-grade student at Auburn Middle School, was congratulated Wednesday night by the Auburn School Committee. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey

AUBURN, Mass. – An Auburn Middle School student soon will be walking beside Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and other important decision-makers in Boston.

Later this month, Kiara Valdes, an eighth-grade student at Auburn Middle School, will be visiting the State House as the town’s representative to Patrick’s Project 351, a youth congress to celebrate service and civic leadership.

Each of Massachusetts’ 351 communities will send an eighth-grade representative to partake in the day’s events at the State House, with the goal being “to inspire and amplify the power of our youth.” Ambassadors are nominated and selected for “an exemplary ethic of service and the values of compassion, commitment, humility, kindness and generosity of spirit.”

Joseph Gagnon, principal at Auburn Middle School, said teachers and counselors recommended Valdes with numerous other students. Gagnon interviewed three of the top students, and Valdes was an outstanding candidate, as were the other students, Gagnon said.

“Kiara Valdes is a fantastic asset to the Auburn community,” Gagnon said at Wednesday’s Auburn School Committee meeting. “Kiara is a member of the chorus, an exemplary student and a strong leader among her peers. During the months leading up to the Boston ‘Relay for Life,’ Kiara and her family saved their money and trained for the five-mile walk in order to honor her grandmother.

“Kiara has been participating in this event for the past seven years. Kiara has shown extreme commitment to service this year. Her compassion shines through all that she does. Kiara’s willingness to help both her local and global community is inspiring.

“We believe that Kiara will embrace the opportunity to learn, share and contribute to the 351 initiative. As an articulate and studious young woman, we believe she would serve as a proud representative of Auburn Middle School.”

Committee Chairman Jeffrey Lourie congratulated Valdes on becoming the town’s ambassador.

“I know the Relay for Life event, as I participate in it as well, and I commend you for giving back and I thank you for participating in it,” Lourie said.

At the State House event, eighth-grade representatives will have a packed day of community service and workshops. 

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