NAHS ‘Good Citizen’ Sanchez Unfolds Success Story


John Doyle

Valeria Sanchez (left) accepts the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award.

Christina Wong, Associate Editor

Last month, NAHS senior Valeria Sanchez, founder and producer of NASDtv’s Español program, was recognized for her noble character by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an organization for women who seek to secure America’s future through better education. I’m very proud to represent Norristown Area High School,” Valeria said of receiving this award.

Sanchez was awarded the DAR Good Citizen Award in the Valley Forge Chapter for her dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism shown throughout her home, school, and community.“This award can show people I’m a good person, caring, and responsible,” she said.

School activities like JROTC and UNIDAD allow Sanchez to give back to the Norristown community. “For UNIDAD and JROTC, I go to other schools and read books to kids and help them with their homework.” In addition to volunteering within the school community, Sanchez uses her spare time to help out those in Norristown. “Personally, I go to St. Patrick’s every other Sunday and give people food,” Sanchez explained. “I visit sick people in the hospital, and help ESL students check grades, do their homework, and talk to teachers.”

Recommended  by her teachers and guidance counselor, Sanchez felt optimistic and submitted two essays to the D.A.R. One was a 550 word essay on American heritage, responsibility, and perseverance, in which she discusses challenges America is and will continue to face in the future. The other essay was personal, including why she should receive this award, mentioning her charity work and accomplishments, like those in sports and the creation of the NASDTV Spanish program.

Sanchez believes that teachers like John Doyle, her video production teacher, inspire her to better herself, “He’s one of my biggest inspiration,” she said of Doyle. “He tells kids like me that we can change the world. He’s always inspiring kids and interested in the diversity at this school. He really pushed me to help inspire others.”

Influenced by her school community, Sanchez uses important skills like leadership to help other students be passionate about school and extracurricular activities. Along with JROTC, video production and UNIDAD, Sanchez also devotes her spare time to  wrestling and cross country. “I love doing sports and physical activity. It’s one of my inspirations because it teaches you a lot about leadership.”

In JROTC, Sanchez is a part of the Raiders and Drill Team. “I started JROTC sophomore year, where I had to talk to people,” she recalled. “Helping me improve my leadership skills through working and training as a team.” Although members of Raiders would occasionally fight because of wanting to be the leader, when united they are winners always “kicking [butt].”

Sanchez is also the founder and producer of the Español program, announcing the morning news in Spanish. Motivated by Samantha Detweiler, former senior, Sanchez gained the courage to be herself in front of the camera. “She didn’t really speak Spanish, but she would learn words to help me focus and be confident.

Over the the years, Sanchez learned the importance of time management. With the numerous activities she’s in now, she believes she can use her experience to advise others. “ I did a lot of activities and clubs before and after school. I didn’t make space to study or do homework, and I fell back on my grades. You really have to do your schoolwork! You can be the best runner in cross country, but if you don’t have your grades, you’re just going to be the best at that one thing, and not going to college.”

Born in Guerrero, Mexico, Sanchez came to Norristown in 2014 at the age of 14. “My English grew a lot,” she reflected. “I couldn’t t even spell my name in English. I learned everything at ESL. I felt a lot of pressure from school because it was all in English, which is not my main language. It was double the work the other students had.” Although teachers tried to help Sanchez, they couldn’t do much because it wasn’t the material being taught but the actual lesson that was in a different language that she struggled to comprehend with.

Sanchez could give you hundreds of reasons why she loves Norristown. Not only does Sanchez appreciate the diversity of Norristown, but she also takes a deeper look into the town’s history. “I have been reading about how the city has grown after years and years, like the people and the buildings.”

She also loves how veterans in this town help others through different programs, how close Norristown is to Philadelphia, and the town’s churches. “The Latino community is growing and becoming more active,”Sanchez explained. “It makes me feel at home. I feel comfortable and could live here forever.”

With her time as a students at NAHS coming to an end, Sanchez revealed with a smile, “My senior year is going great. I’m keeping up with all of my schoolwork and activities.” Although the future for Sanchez is not fully decided, she plans to major in communications and start her college life at Montco. Afterwards, she will work her way to a university.

Preparing for her future, Sanchez is currently working to perfect her English, confidence, and writing skills with Doyle. Sanchez plans to achieve her goals through her hard work and determination.  “I’m pretty sure I can do it [accomplish her goals]. It might take long, but I will put a lot of effort to come back here and tell the teachers I did it,”.

In Sanchez’ future years, she will remember the life lessons taught by her classmates and teachers. “I’m taking the love and support the teachers have for their students, not as students but as their own children, with hope of seeing their kids succeed. I’m taking the English that was taught to me because it was free. I’ll remember the confidence the principal and my friends gave me, telling me I could be anything that I want to be.”