The face of Eureka spirit: The ACV


Ali Pate

Aidan Valentine celebrates the Wildcats from the sidelines.

Aidan Valentine, 11, more commonly referred to as The ACV, has become a staple in Wildcat spirit. In the three years Valentine has attended Eureka, he has not been hesitant about sharing his love and passion for Wildcat pride.

“No matter what he’s always excited for the next game and it doesn’t matter who the opponent is he gets just as fired up every single week,” Mason Mayer, 12, wide receiver for the Eureka varsity football team said. “I just love seeing all the support and all the excitement that comes from him.”

Valentine makes himself known in the Eureka Catpound, regardless of the sport, with an overflow of energy and excitement.

“The Catpound and all the sports teams have gotten me so extremely hype for coming back to school every year,” Valentine said.

Valentine credits his passion for Eureka to his older brother, Zach Valentine, a Eureka alumni who was known for his contributions to the Eureka football team and Best Buddies.

“I think [my spirit] comes from my brother always inspiring me, telling me to pick my head up and try again,” Valentine said. “If it weren’t for me being his brother I don’t think I would’ve been one of the most well known kids in Eureka history.”

Zach Valentine has always been a role model for the younger Aidan Valentine, both on the field and off the field, contributing to Aidan Valentine’s dedication to the Wildcat pride.

“I think it [his spirit] started with his brother. He loves his brother. And Zach was such a good player for us but not only that but an awesome role model. He was so good in best buddies,” Coach Tyler Wasson, offensive coordinator for the varsity Eureka football team, said.

Valentine’s spirit is not just limited to football, he brings out his everything to each and every Wildcat game.

“It doesn’t matter what sport Eureka’s playing in, he’s as enthusiastic for football, as he is basketball, as he is volleyball, as he is field hockey,” Wasson said.

His spirit is quite unlike the average Eureka fan, because of his inspiration and consistency in every game.

“It stands out because his passion for Eureka is more than anyone I’ve ever seen and he’s just inspirational,” Alex Wangerin, 12, player on both the football and basketball team, said.

Valentine’s positivity is infectious to the players, coaches, as well as the fans.

“The best part about him is his energy and just his enthusiasm, that rubs off not only on the kids but you can see that in the Catpound. That kind of energy spills over not just on the football field but into the enthusiasm in the hallways. He makes for a better, brighter school,” Wasson said.

Whether it’s a smile, good-natured trash talk, or a positive reminder, Valentine seems to make everyone around him happier.

“Whenever I see ACV it puts me in a better mood and makes me happy to be able to play whatever sport I’m doing with him there and it just makes the environment a better place,” Mayer said.

Austin Kirby, varsity basketball coach, agrees. Valentine’s positive reminders he has for his basketball teammates help to keep their head and spirit’s high.

“I think ACV’s biggest asset to the basketball team is just his positive attitude. He looks at everything with a positive light, the glass is half full for him. He just is a joy to be around. The kid’s love him, he makes people laugh,” Kirby said.

His energy is a steady motivator for the teams, and Valentine fears that without his constant hype, the team will face consequences.

“I feel like if I don’t cheer loud enough at the sporting events I’m afraid they won’t play as well without my energy,” Valentine said. “I think if it weren’t for me on this Earth I don’t think Eureka would ever be excited to go to the sports game without me, The ACV, in the school. I just want for anyone else who is in that Cat Pound to cheer loud for me whether I’m there or not.”

Valentine gives his all, all the time, and is a motivator to others to do the same.

“What I ask of my players is to give me their best effort, they give me good attitudes and control what they can control and that is the definition of ACV. He shows up everyday ready to work and willing to do whatever it takes for the team,” Kirby said.

Regardless of athlete or student, everyone seems to know and love Valentine and his personality.

“I think he has an infectious attitude, he is blessed with a personality that everybody loves to be around, he makes people smile, and he is extremely genuine,” Kirby said.

Valentine is not exclusive, he makes friends with everyone in the school, because of his love for others and the Eureka community.

“I think he’s just got an unbelievable personality. And he’s everywhere. He interacts with every different group of kids from every background,” Wasson said.

The effects of Valentine’s spirit can be seen everywhere, in coaches and players’ attitudes, in other student’s spirits, and walking down the hallways of the school.

“I love that kid. He comes and talks to me everyday. What it does for me is it makes me work harder. It makes me game plan harder, it makes me coach harder because I know that young man really cares about the success of our football program,” Wasson said.

The school’s love for Aidan Valentine is undeniable, and it is clear that he is as a part of Eureka culture as it is a part of him.

“The team would never be the same without ACV, he’s the whole package,” Wangerin said.

Through thick and thin, Valentine has proved his loyalty to everything Eureka and knows what it means to be a true Wildcat.

“The kid bleeds purple and gold and that definitely stands out in everything,” Wasson said.