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Looks Bright: ECW’s Angel Valles’ passion visible with work, successes

LAPLACE — Emily C. Watkins Elementary faculty and staff agree eighth grader Angel Valles is one of the school’s most hardworking and cooperative students.

Serious at times, Angel has a mission to stay out of trouble and a heart full of compassion for others.

He follows his moral compass in every action he takes, even if it just means stopping to warmly greet his peers.

Angel is an honor roll student who has received perfect attendance in the past, though his attendance this year was impacted by his travels.

Each year, Angel takes summer and winter trips to Mexico to visit his extended family, and he holds his heritage in high regard.

“I like it over there because I live in the city, and I can go walking alone to the stores without having to worry or be scared of any danger,” Angel said. “Over here, the stores are very far away from where I live.”

Angel Valles and Kayley Gallo work on the Christmas tree at Emily C. Watkins Elementary in LaPlace.

When he visits Mexico, Angel embraces the outdoors through hiking trips and playing sports with his cousins. He hopes to see more basketball courts and greater youth outreach in St. John the Baptist Parish parks.

At Emily C. Watkins, Angel participated in the school’s Hispanic heritage celebration and enjoyed some of his favorite Mexican snacks.

As Vice President of 4-H, Angel has become an active member of his LaPlace community by participating in workshops. Some involve learning new skills, including sewing or working with duct tape, while others are service oriented.

Delivering crafts to Southeast Louisiana Veteran’s Home residents and picking up trash at local parks were among the most memorable activities.

Angel receives awards at annual 4-H Achievement Days for maintaining a perfect record book and passing out monthly newsletters.

“Getting awards motivates me a lot because I feel happy and good about myself,” Angel said. “My family supports me and tells me to work hard in school so I can get a good career.”

When he’s older, Angel hopes to follow in the footsteps of family members who are successful in construction and architecture. He also enjoys science, especially when it comes to performing experiments.

School counselor Sharell Warren said Angel has the drive to succeed in any path he chooses.

“Angel is one of the most independent, hardworking team players that we have at Emily C. Watkins,” Warren said.

“Anything you need, give it to Angel and he’ll definitely get it done. He’s just a wonderful young man.”

School disciplinarian Veda Bailey knows Angel through 4-H, and she said she admires his positivity.

“I like Angel’s demeanor and school spirit,” Bailey said. “He’s very calm and focused on his work, and he does whatever you ask of him without giving an attitude back. He’s very cooperative.”

Angel’s goals for the last semester of middle school are to graduate on the honor roll and prepare to attend high school at East St. John High.

Angel is the son of Miguel Angel Valles and Imelda Ferrera of LaPlace.