Meet Lindsay's OBF Queen Valicia Saucedo

I am the daughter of Valeriano and Teresa Saucedo. My brother, Valeriano, is a junior at UC Berkeley, my rival school.

My grandparents, Valeriano and Margarita Saucedo, and my aunt and uncle, Joe and Mary Rivera, also live in Lindsay. I was born in Salinas, Calif., but I have lived in Lindsay since I was 3 years old. We have lived in the same blue house on Gale Hill Avenue for as long as I can remember.

Academics have been my life for a very long time. In high school, I was active in the Drama Club, where my favorite role was that of Cinderella. I joined the French Club my sophomore year, eventually becoming president in my junior and senior years. I played the clarinet in the band for three years, including the magical year when the Lindsay High School Band performed a "Titanic" field show in our then brand-new uniforms under the direction of Dan Talbert. I also swam on the Lindsay Skimmers for three years because I enjoyed the excitement of competitions. I loved the Mock Trial team. I was the defendant my freshman year, then a defense attorney for three years.

My favorite high school memories, however, are related to the Academic Decathlon team. I was a member of the team for Three years. I will never forget the thrill of winning the overall county competition in my senior year, when all of Lindsay's captains stood together with our individual trophies and realized that Lindsay must have won the overall competition. My proudest moment was graduating in front of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as the LHS valedictorian in 2001.

Spirituality and faith have always been important to me. I have been a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where I was among the first girls to become an altar server. Later, I also became one of the first youth lectors. After graduation, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Stanford University. Here, I have been an active member of the Catholic Community at Stanford as both a greeter and a lector.

I am graduating from Stanford with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Japanese. As a freshman, I joined the Stanford Mock Trial team, which has been a great source of pride for me. I have received two Outstanding Witness awards from the American Mock Trial Association for my role as a witness in my freshman and senior years. In my junior and senior year, I was a co=coordinator of our community service project, the Stanford Mock Trial High School Symposium, an event that teaches local high school students how to conduct a mock trial. I have been active at El Centro Chicano, Stanford's Latino community. In my sophomore year, I was a co-coordinator for the Cesar Chavez Commemoration, an event that has had such august speakers as Jesse Jackson and Dolores Huerta. I have also been a tutor for Barrio Assistance, a program at El Centro that brings elementary students from local schools to Stanford for tutoring in reading and math. This year, I moved into Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, the Native American theme house, which has meant that I have b become involved with Stanford's Native American community as well.

I once told Mr. Talbert that I wanted to attend Stanford and join the infamous Stanford Band. True to my word, in the spring of my sophomore year, I joined the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. Of course we do not actually march, but I have a lot of fun and have picked up a new instrument, the tenor saxophone.

The most incredible blessing I have had at Stanford was the opportunity to study abroad for nine months. I spent three months in Santiago, Chile, where I studied sociology and political science. I stayed with Enriqueta Fierro and her son, Pablo, in Providencia. Chile has some truly remarkable people who have lived through a terrible dictator and yet managed to maintain their love for each other and for other people. I also traveled to Japan for six months. I was in Kyoto for three months, where I took classes in Japanese, religion, and political science. In Kyoto, the center of traditional Japanese culture, I was exposed to Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, the tea ceremony, traditional beauty and feminine poise and artistry. I studied calligraphy with a master and learned about the tea ceremony from a woman who has been putting them on for more than 50 years.

I then moved to Tokyo, where I worked for the East Japan Railway Company for three months. As part of the International department, I translated Japanese into English and English into Japanese, helped prepare executives for their English-language presentations abroad, and helped the company assess the accessibility of their train network to foreign tourists. A major element of my internship at JR East was touring their facilities all over East Japan. After more than two months in Tokyo, I was sent to Nitsu, a small town in Nigata Prefecture. The rural town reminded me so much of my home, and it was there that I realized what I most love about Lindsay.

Our town is a place where people know each other. Neighbors know and care about each other. We have grown up together. We know when new people move to town, and we work hard to make them feel at home. In a small town, we live with our hearts open. The warmth in our community is clear. That is what I miss most about Lindsay when I am away. On the other side of the world, I was struck with the realization that we have been blessed to live in a tight-knit community such as ours. It is this community that I return to. It is this community that I am proud to call home.

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