Going for the gold

SUBHEAD: Junior nurtures next gen writers


Staff Writer

HARLINGEN — It was a smashing success.

The young girls who participated last month in the Next Gen Writers event gave a stellar performance as they acted out their skits, much to the joy of Valerie Martinez.

After all, Next Gen Writers was her project to win the Gold Award from the Girl Scouts.

“I’m so excited that I finally finished this award because I completed my bronze and my silver and now I’ve finally got my gold,” said Valerie, 16, a junior at Early College High School.

The event took place at the Main Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen on July 22.

“The main thing was the girls writing skits and then they acted them out,” Valerie said. “I recorded them while they were acting them out. It was like a friendly little competition. I gave prizes to all the girls who competed.”

Valerie, a member of Troop 289, logged 89 hours working on her gold award. Two other young women, Alyssa Dale and Victoria Garza, also recently earned their gold awards. Before that, it had been years since anyone achieved such a feat.

It’s a rigorous process requiring many hours of planning.

“I had to plan out the dates of the competition,” she said. “I had to make phone calls for approval. I had to make a web page.”

The webpage provides a visual overview of the project, of which her mother Caly Martinez couldn’t be more proud — and excited.

“What she did, she would get the group of girls and they started writing little scripts and once they wrote the scripts they started practicing,” she said. “When they acted the play she recorded them. You can go in the web page and watch her videos and see her pictures while she was doing her project.”

Three judges observed the performances of the young girls. There was a first place, and then a tie for second, and then a third. And of course everyone got prizes for showing the courage to participate.

“It went smoothly,” Valerie said. “All the girls had fun, and afterwards I even gave them books to take home.”

But her activities with the Boys and Girls Clubs don’t stop at the Next Gen Writers event. Valerie also built a puppet theater for the girls and put in a book shelf. She expects to receive donations of books from ECHS to continue building the Clubs’ reading resources.

“I really love education,” she said. “For my bronze I did a book drive, and for my silver I donated shelves to three of the Boys and Girls Clubs. I’m going to continue helping with projects and then once I go off to college I’ll come and visit and see how it’s turning out.”

After high school, Valerie plans to attend Texas State University to become a physical therapist.

Valerie Martinez’s webpage: