Gracie Valadez: ‘funny, caring, crazy, beautiful girl’

EllieAna Hale

Lakyn Becker knew she could always rely on her best friend Gracie Valadez to bring a smile to her face.

“She never failed to make me smile and laugh,” said Becker, who is a freshman. “She lit up every room she walked into.”

Ms. Valadez, a freshman, died on Feb. 28.

Becker described her as “a funny, caring, crazy, beautiful girl.”

“She liked humor,” her father, Larry, said. “She laughed a lot.”

Freshman Christina Truong said she could always depend on Ms. Valadez to bring a laugh and a smile to her face. 

“She was so incredibly funny and made me laugh every time I needed it,” Truong said. “She was dependable, trustworthy and considerate.

“Gracie is one of the best things that has ever happened to me…. Gracie was always there for me and she always listened. She was the strongest person I knew, she endured so much and still helped me through my own problems.”

She made a life-long impact on her friends and family. 

“I had so many memories with her that I will hold onto forever,” Becker said. 

Larry Valadez noted how quickly Gracie made friendships and how her devotion to her friends impacted everyone. 

“Gracie was so open about friendship and always wanting to be part of things,” he said. “It was surprising sometimes how helpful she was to all her friends, no matter what.”

Truong added: “I could talk to her about everything, and she would understand how I felt.” 

Larry Valadez reminisced about his daughter, noting her love for fishing, camouflage and boots. She also loved her 4-wheel drive pickup.

“What’s amazing is a lot of teachers have reached out,” he said. “She connected with so many people.”

Balloons in Ms. Valadez’s favorite color will be released from her truck’s cab. 

“Gracie had a huge heart and made everyone happy,” Truong said. “She lit up every room with happiness and was such a fun person to be around. I love and miss her so much.”

A GoFundMe was set up to help with funeral expenses with a $4,000 goal. As of March 5, the GoFundMe had collected $6,800 in donations with more than 100 donors.