Valencia Remembered As “One of the Most Amazing People”

Hundreds pay final respects to slain DePaul University honor student, mentor and activist

Friends and family who said good-bye to Francisco Valencia Monday got a chance to hear directly from the campus leader, honor student, mentor and activist in his own words.

Video of the 21-year-old DePaul University student, who was killed over Halloween weekend, was played along with eulogies at the St. Vincent DePaul Church on the university's campus, where about 1,000 people came to honor his memory.

"I knew that as a commuter student, I had to be involved on campus to be happy. And I've always been a leader in whatever role I've been in," Valencia said in one video.

It was the Frankie Valencia his family and classmates say they'll remember; a young man who took his work seriously, but not himself.

"Frankie was one of the most amazing people that I've ever met," said Sarah Rothman, who worked with Valencia on the university's DePaul Voices project, an organization which promotes socially responsible leadership.

"He was one of the most kind and loving people; kind to everybody. He was kind to his best friends. He was kind to the cashier. He was kind to the homeless person on the street. Everyone meant something to him," Rothman said.

Valencia was shot to death during a Humboldt Park Halloween party, allegedly by two men who were refused entry. The attack was captured on surveillance video.

Narcisco Gatica, 19, and Berly Valladeres, 21, have since been charged with the crime.

"Frankie was everywhere," said John B. Simon, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Simon was to present Valencia with the Lincoln Laureate Medalion at a ceremony over the weekend. The award is given each year to an outstanding senior from each of the four-year, degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois who demonstrates overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

"He had so many activities it was incomprehensible how he could have done so much in so little time," Simon said of the materials that were submitted on Valencia's behalf.

During the funeral, Valencia's mother was given the medallion in her son's honor.

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