This article is part of an ongoing series, “Everyone Has A Story” by Grace Knutsen. If you know someone whose story should be shared, contact us.
This summer, when I first heard about CHS sophomore Daniel “Dani” Valdés, friends and classmates told many things about his personality – he had a quirky sense of humor, a love for swimming the butterfly, the uncanny ability to bring fun to an otherwise monotonous swim set or school lecture, and he could often be spotted sporting a purple tie. However, the truly interesting aspects of Dani’s personality were left undiscovered by me until I met him in person on the first day of school. There, I found that, just like everyone else at CHS, he had a story to tell.
From holding citizenship in three countries and world travel to many others, Dani has plenty of stories to tell. Born in Quebec, Canada, Dani moved to Mexico at the young age of four. There, he attended first through sixth grade at a grade school with less than 500 students. While in Mexico, he and his family helped educate indigenous tribes on the importance of preserving endangered species such as fishing eagles and leatherback turtles, both of which were used by local tribes in their traditional rituals. When interviewed, Dani stated that his experience in Mexico helped him become more culturally immersed and educated in the ways of other societies.
More recently, Dani and his family moved from Mexico to Corvallis, where he took classes at the high school during his eighth grade year, and began his official high school career at CHS in the fall of 2015. Despite settling in Corvallis, his family’s move to the states has not prevented further worldwide adventures. This summer, Dani’s family traveled all over the globe, visiting countries such as Mexico, Italy, England, China, Thailand, and Japan. He further shared that his extensive travels have allowed him to make important connections amongst many countries.
Overall, meeting Dani and getting to know him has taught me quite a valuable lesson in life – everyone has a story to tell, and friendship to share. The next time you find yourself seated nearby someone new in class, keep this lesson in mind, share a friendly hello, and take the time to discover their story. You might just make a new lifelong friend in the process.