Rotary Club of Walla Walla honored students Vicente Flores and Yeltsin Sanchez in May with $1,000 scholarships.
Vincente, a spring Touchet High School graduate, is father of Johnny Flores, boyfriend of Maria Garcia, son of Clara Flores and brother of Jonathan and Citclaly Flores.
Vicente became man of the house as a seventh-grader after his father was restricted from seeing the children. Vicente took care of his younger siblings while his mom worked.
“Over the years Vicente struggled with intermittent gang activity, transportation problems after the family moved to Walla Walla, the death of a child, and the birth of son Johnny during his junior year of high school. These calamities could have stalled other students, but not Vicente,” according to a release.
He stayed in school and pulled away from gang activity. He played football, basketball and club soccer. He works full time at Taco Bell, often closing at 2 a.m., then headed to school at 8 a.m., keeping up with his studies. He has a 2.3 GPA and plans to enroll at Walla Walla Community College this fall.
Yeltsin graduated from Walla Walla Valley Academy this spring. Rotary cited him for taking advantage of second chances academically and personally. When he started attending WWVA, he was flunking most of his classes, was ready to drop out and was so withdrawn he avoided speaking with teachers and fellow students. Over the past three years he made a dramatic about face, had a cheerful demeanor, engaged with others and earned good grades.
Now his goal is to be an engineering major at Walla Walla University.
“Yeltsin has been embraced by the WWVA community and he is thriving. He has played on the school’s soccer team for the past three years and works at McDonald’s to help pay for his education and personal expenses. He particularly excels in math and science and is a much more confident and driven young man than when he first stepped over the threshold of Walla Walla Valley Academy.”
He is the son of Flavio and Hilda Sanchez and brother of Jessica.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.