Get to Know Mr. Valdivia

Cecilia Martinez, Writer

We all know that Ms. Bui, our former school counselor, left at the end of last school year. Many of us miss her, but thankfully, we have a great replacement: Mr. Valdivia. He’s no different from us; he loves to hang out with his family and girlfriend, and he even loves to travel. Let’s get to know him better.


Where did you grow up?

“I was born and raised in South Central; it’s right by the 110 freeway.”


Where’d you go to high school?

“I went to school at Wallis Annenberg High School, which is located in South Central LA.”


How was high school for you?

“High school was very interesting. I think for me, it was a time where I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life, [and] where I wanted to go. That brought up a lot of stress, so I looked back on my high school time and I see a lot of stress, I see a lot of confusion, in terms of my future and my direction. But also, I see someone that was very calm and collected, so I knew things were going to work out if I continued to put in the time for myself.


So you managed your time?

“I would say; I played soccer in high school. I played since I was maybe 8, so I think doing sports kinda helped me to learn how to manage my time, because I was very into athletics, so I was training in the morning, after school [and] sometimes 3 days … I definitely think that helped out.”


How would you describe yourself when you were a teenager?

“Me as a teenagervery helpful, caring, and outgoing; I think those are things that would describe me as a teenager and as an adult now. I used to get in trouble a lot for talking in class; now, I get paid to talk to people. I think things kinda worked out in the way they needed to work out. Now I’m fortunate enough that I get to talk for a living because that’s my strongest point. I love to talk to people.”


Why did you decide to become a counselor?

“I think growing up in my community led a huge part in that. My community didn’t have stable teachers; we didn’t have a stable school. A lot of people came in and out, [and] our resources were miles away. We didn’t have the money to pay for things. I think all of that started impacting the way I started viewing education, [and] the way I started viewing my community. … I wanted to be part of change and bring equality and opportunities to people.”


What’s your goal as a counselor?

“I think my goal as a counselor is to teach my kids to love themselves, to help them through emotional problems that they’re going through, and giving them the resources that they need to make decisions for their future based on information that can be beneficial to them.”


How did you find out about HMSA?

“Ms.Vasquez worked at the previous high school that I worked [in]. She reached out to me and informed [me] that there was a position available at HMSA. [We’ve] know each other for 3 years but we didn’t work together.”


What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

“I love traveling. … One of my favorite places that I have been to is Cuba. I want to go zip lining. I love hanging out with my family. I love hanging out with my girlfriend. I love to read; I write poetry from here and there. I’m not the greatest, but it helps me express myself, and how I feel about certain situations.”


If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?

“I think just having a belief or believing in myself earlier on. I think it really took awhile for me to really embrace who I was. There was a lot of times [where] I was comparing myself to other individuals… [I needed to] have that confidence within myself, embrace my abilities what I can and cannot do. That would’ve helped me reach higher goals.”


What advice would you give us to survive high school?

“Understand that everything is a process, understand that within that process there’s going to be a lot of stories of success, there’s going to be a lot of stories of failure, and it’s what you do in those moments that defines your character. Practice self-care and self-love, doing things that you enjoy to do.”


Is there any quote you like or admire?

“Something that has come to mind or things that [have] happened in my life [have] led me to believe that ‘Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care.’ And I think that’s something that all educators we need to think about.”


What else should we know about you?

“I always try to be positive, I always try doing positive things. I’m very calm. I like to think that I’m good at multitasking, but I write things out because I forget a lot of things and I’m always looking for the best intentions for my kids.”


Hopefully, you know more about Mr. Valdivia than you did before you started reading this article. As we welcome him into our school with open arms, it’s important to remember that while he is our counselor, he’s a person too.