South Texas third grader has ambitions to be president

Melissa Cantu Trevino
Alice Echo News Journal
Chloe Valdez, third grader at Saenz Elementary, creates President-ville as a school project centered around her favorite subject.

A nine-year-old girl who is part of the gifted and talented program in Alice Independent School District created a town centered around her favorite subject - United States presidents.

"I like to learn the history (behind) our presidents and the history of Alice. I have, mainly, been infatuated with presidents since I was little," said Chloe Valdez, a third grader at Saenz Elementary.

Her town is called President-Ville - A Place where History is Made. It features a city hall, courthouse, library, businesses, homes, a farm, a ranch and public transportation like a train and an airport.

Chloe has been intrigued by presidents since the young age of three, her mother Deidra said.

"I assumed it was a phase, but she wanted to learn more and more. She'd go to the library and ask to see the presidential books and got her first presidents book from the library," Deidra said. "Years later and they still fascinate her."

Chloe said she hasn't watched city council meetings, but she has visited some historical and political places in Alice with her family. Her favorite place to learn about presidents is at the Alice Public Library. Before the pandemic, her parents, Deidra and Leonides Valdez,  often took Chloe to the library.

"One of my goals is to be the president of the United States. My second option is to be a pediatrician," Chloe said. "I want to make America a better country, but I also want to help sick or injured children...My favorite presidents are Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson because he freed the colonies from Great Britain and Abraham Lincoln because he freed the slaves."

Deidra says that her daughter is quiet and shy until the conversation turns to presidents and history.

"She loves to look for and read books on presidents," she added. "She wants to travel throughout the nation especially the White House and presidential monuments."

"She's always searching and digging into the background of presidents. She got excited to see President Joe Biden speeches during the campaign and we have them recorded for her," said Berta DeLeon, Chloe's grandmother.

Chloe said she wants to help her community and looks forward to being a part of local organizations where she can make a difference and help change the community for the better. 

She already has some ideas on how to make her community better and she's starting at the library. She wants new books and new crayons for the children who visit the library. She'd also like an area for GT students like herself to enjoy.

She received a City of Alice and U.S. flag pins from one of the current city council members and wears them with pride.

Chloe's project will be displayed at the public library for approximately a month for anyone who would like to see.