Excerpt from SGA VP Benites’ speech

Diego Benites, SGA Vice President

Editor’s note: This vice-presidential inaugural address was delivered by Student Body Vice President Diego Benites in the Dana Center on April 28th, 2023 during the annual SGA inauguration. Benites and Student Body President Salvatore Parent were elected this Spring. Both are sophomores. The speech was delivered orally and has been edited here for brevity.

Good evening,

I must say how surreal this moment is for me. Just a few years ago, I would’ve never imagined attending college, let alone being elected Vice President at one. As I stand before you all today, I am overcome by emotions. Emotions of joy, excitement, and optimism, but also of fear and anxiety. However, there is one that trumps them all. That is this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. As I stare out into the crowd, I am reminded of all those who have granted me the strength, guidance, and support to be standing here today. I want to thank my family–particularly my parents, Donna and Pedro Benites. Mom and Dad, words cannot begin to describe the love and gratitude I have for you. You’ve always been there for me, and I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for you, and I dedicate this speech to you both.

If you ask my parents what I was like as a kid, they would tell you that I was a straggler. It seemed that no matter what it was, I was always behind my peers. I couldn’t write until I was in high school. I couldn’t read until I was in middle school. I couldn’t speak until I was six years old. At times, it seemed like there was no hope for me. Numerous people–doctors, teachers, and extended family members–told my parents to set their expectations low and to “go easy” on me because they believed that I wasn’t going to amount to much. My parents made the wise decision to ignore this advice. Instead, they chose to believe in me and pushed me to become the best version of myself.

My parents never gave up on me, even though they had great reasons to do so. They set their expectations high and pushed me to not only reach them but to exceed them. They supported me at every step of the way because that is what a family does. A family is there to support each other, to love each other, and to push each other to become the best versions of themselves. A family rallies amongst each other to overcome obstacles. A family works as one to grow together and be better versions of themselves.

Saint Anselm College–I intend to treat you the same way my family has for me. I am setting my expectations high. I am choosing to place my faith in you, and I intend to push this college toward being the best it can be. When people say that our ambitions are unachievable, we will choose to ignore them and reach unimaginable heights. We will encounter numerous obstacles. However, we shall never give up, and we shall overcome them.

There is a lot that sets each of us apart, whether that be age, class, major, etc. However, we all have one thing in common, and that is the love that we have for this school. We’ve all answered the call to come here, and we’ve all decided to call this place our home. It is the love that we have for this school and for this community that will allow us to push our differences aside to become one family. Individually, we chose to seek an Anselmian education and join student government not because it is easy but because it is hard. We all had the desire to make a difference and to serve this community, but this is a tremendous task that no one can do alone, so let’s all do this together as one SGA, one school, one community, and one family because hawks soar higher together.

Thank you.