CONGRATULATIONS to the “Vantastic” Valerie Thene!

In 2023, two of ARCC’s most active and committed volunteers reached one of life’s key milestones for a young person transitioning to adulthood – High School Graduation.  ARCC would like to recognize these two AMAZING young women in two separate blog posts dedicated to each one.

In this blog post, we are recognizing our highly Valued Treasure, the Versatile and fantastic, or better yet, “Vantastic” Valerie Thene.  Valerie has been an ARCC member and one of our most truly dedicated volunteers since joining our organization in 2021. Since joining ARCC, she has been a valued member of the Marketing Team, co-led the development and execution of ARCC’s TikTok strategy and co-managed our TikTok posts for the last 2 years.  Additionally, she had the foresight, maturity and leadership to recruit a replacement (an undergraduate high school student) to step up and take over ARCC’s TikTok now that Valerie is graduating and moving on to university. In January 2022, Valerie appeared in Episode 1 of Season 2 of The ARCC of Change Podcast entitled “A New Hope” featuring three of ARCC’s youngest members sharing what drives them to stand up, speak out and take action for positive change. (You can access this episode here: Valerie made the time to do all of this at ARCC while also completing one of the most engaged and accomplished high school careers you will ever see.  Below is an incomplete list of the activities that she participated in and honors she earned during her time high school.

In the Community:

  • Founding Member of Candy Girls Key West old-fashioned Island candy business
  • Member of the City of Key West Sustainability Board
  • ARCC Marketing Team Member and Co-Director of TikTok Strategy and Execution

At Key West High School:

  • Founding Member and Historian of Ladies on Campus
  • Drum Major of the Marching Band and earned the Superior Drum Major award
  • Voted Girls Weightlifting Captain, won the District Championship, and placed in Top 9 in the State of Florida for both Olympic Weightlifting and Traditional Weightlifting
  • Voted the 72nd Homecoming Queen
  • Executive Board Member and President of the Student Council
  • Recognized as Best-All Around Award for the graduating senior class of 2023


Valerie will be attending one of the most prestigious HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the country, Florida A&M Univerity (FAMU) in the fall of 2023 where she will major in Business. After graduation from FAMU, she plans to then attend law school to pursue her Juris Doctorate. Not surprisingly, knowing Valerie, her career plan is linked to making a positive difference in the world and creating HOPE for others who are in desperate need of it.  Valerie, whose family immigrated from Haiti to the US, wants to help her embattled and struggling ancestral country by eventually becoming the United States Ambassador to Haiti.  Incredible!  This is H.O.P.E – How Optimistic People Endure.

We will miss Valerie as we know that as she begins university life as a freshmen she will be focused on getting off to a great start and will not be able to allocate as much time to ARCC.  But we also know that Valerie will continue to be a tremendous example and wonderful role model of ARCC’s values of standing up, speaking out and taking action to make positive change happen.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Very Vantastic Valerie Thene! 🎓🎉🎊⭐️🙌🏾

We at ARCC are so very PROUD of you!!! ❤️❤️😊🤩

Photo credit: Copyright © 2023 Adriene Lynne Cassamayor. All Rights Reserved.