"Frankie was an amazing individual. He stood for so many causes and he was always, always, always working for change in Chicago," said Sarah Rothman, Valencia's friend.
The 21-year-old DePaul University senior was shot to death at a Halloween party in the 1700-block of North Rockwell Street. Friends say, from his earliest days on campus, Valencia worked on developing his leadership skills, and became a well respected student, and a positive influence on his friends and colleagues .
Friends and colleagues say Valencia was a civic-minded student.
"There was something different about him, something that was really amazing. I remember Frankie's ability to connect with every single person," said Cesar Gonzales, Valencia's friend.
A graduate of Lincoln Park High School, Valencia was recognized for his grades and his commitment to volunteering. He was recently named a student Lincoln Laureate, an annual award given to an outstanding student who shows excellence.
"Frankie Valencia was selected to be that student from DePaul University," said John Simon, Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
The DePaul student body is having a difficult time dealing with their loss.
"It's a very difficult time for the entire student body," said Rothman. "I know that people have been joining together, like Frankie would want us to do, and really trying to band together and move forward and work for the change that Frankie believed in."
Valencia was the first in his working-class family to attend college. He encouraged other minority students to do the same.
His friends say that Valencia was the real thing, authentic, a young man who cared about others and wanted to make a difference.