Whittier, California – Río Hondo College (RHC) student Hesma Valdes took an oath of office to officially begin her tenure as the student trustee for the 2024-25 academic year during the College’s Board of Trustees meeting on June 12.

Valdes said she is motivated by a passion for advocacy for students’ basic needs and wellness, aiming to be a voice for her fellow RHC students and foster positive change on campus. Her primary focus is addressing psychological needs and improving accessibility for students.

“I feel my voice can impact change and better our Río Hondo community, and I am just really excited to get to work with the board and superintendent,” said Valdes, who plans to transfer to a four-year university at the end of the 2024-25 academic year and pursue a career as a mental health social worker. “I want to help our students succeed and thrive in higher education.”

Each academic year, a student trustee is elected to a one-year term by popular vote of the Río Hondo College student body. Valdes will receive materials, participate in discussions and have an advisory vote during her term.

Valdes became deeply involved in campus life after graduating from Santa Fe High School in 2023. The Whittier native is an RHC Student Ambassador and a member of the women’s basketball team, Black Student Union and Student Leadership Institute. She is also involved in Extended Opportunity Programs & Services, HOPE Scholars, Pride Scholars and Black Scholars programs.

As a freshman, Valdes served as a senator-at-large, vice chair of cultural diversity and chair of public relations for the Associated Students of Río Hondo College (ASRHC) in 2023-24. She also served on the Bond Oversight and Student Success and Support Programs committees.

“Hesma Valdes will be a tremendous representative of our student body on the Board, with her passion for advocacy and involvement in campus activities,” Superintendent/President Dr. Marilyn Flores said. “Her unique perspective and commitment to service will strengthen our Board and our commitment to serving our students and our community.”


VALDES1: From left: Río Hondo College Board of Trustees Clerk Rosaelva Lomeli, President Anais Medina Diaz, Student Trustee Hesma Valdes, Board Member Vicky Santana, Vice President Oscar Valladares and Superintendent/President Dr. Marilyn Flores celebrate Valdes taking her oath of office at the Board’s June 12 meeting. Valdes will serve as the Board’s student voice for the 2024-25 school year.

VALDES2: Río Hondo College Board of Trustees Student Member Hesma Valdes (right) takes her oath of office led by Board President Anais Medina Diaz during the Board’s June 12 meeting. Valdes will participate in discussions, receive materials and have an advisory vote while serving as a voice for the College’s collective student body during her one-year term.