Valley Valedictorians: Adam Castañeda, Robert Vela High School

Local News

              The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.

EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — Adam Castañeda is the valedictorian for Robert Vela High School.

He thought his senior year would be a smooth transition between high school and college, but the year came with major twists and personal lessons being quarantined at home with family. 

“I’m not as patient as I thought. I have had a few snaps, but I’m really trying to work on myself as I grow.”

Adam encourages other students to remain patient and calm.

“Know that God is at work. It is a conscious thought at times but one thing my dad always tells me is, ‘I love you. God bless you, and make right choices.’ I believe it’s always a choice in how you want to react and be in certain situations.” 

He’s learning to balance his schedule with several siblings, from who showers first to who uses the Wifi for meetings. 

Like so many students, this time is unlike anything his parents or teachers could prepare him for. Still, everyone is figuring out how to adjust to these times, day by day. He’s realized this life in quarantine with family is better preparing him for life in college. 

“Being in a room with someone, in a house with someone, for 24 hours straight for God knows how many days have really helped with adjusting to a roommate, life in different classes, life with different classmates working in a group setting with others, and making others accountable. I believe that anything we face is, ‘what can we learn from this?’ There’s nothing we’re going to face that’s going to be the end. I believe this is a new beginning not just for the class of 2020 but for everyone going through this difficult time.

It’s really taught me the importance of the unseen world of adulthood where cooking and cleaning and really embracing your role to sustain a home was revealed. It was something I never realized.”

Adam credits his teachers for helping him stay on track, while suddenly no longer having the chance to teach him in person.

“The entire teaching staff of the Edinburg kids department, the school system is amazing. That’s where I’ve learned to be who I am. I always told them, ‘I want to do this,’ and they always said if you work hard enough you can and in believe that message stuck with me.”

He thanks his family for everything they’ve done for him.  

“Thank you for being different, thank you for setting me apart. Thank you for not allowing me to do some things, and thank you for allowing me to do other things. They know they’re my hero. They know I look up to them and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Adam also thanks the unsung heroes of this pandemic: first responders. 

“During this pandemic is when they’re shining but they do this when the cameras aren’t there. I’d really like to thank first responders, fire departments, medical staff personnel everywhere. It really hits home because my father, he’s in law enforcement right now. It’s concerning but he has to do it and I really admire it, and respect others as well.” 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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