Elvis Santana’s Path To The White House

You may know me as the guy who set off the confetti cannon on stage at last year’s graduation. If you were actually there, I hope you enjoyed it. If not, even if you were, here’s a photo — on the New Haven Register no less.

See that man smiling in the back? That’s Dean Andrew Foster, the vice president for Student Services.  You can say we have a good relationship, but even Dean Foster had no idea about the large confetti cannon I had under my sleeve.  He did, however, know that I had a bright future ahead of me and stood by me every step of the way during my years at Albertus.

So, now that you know who I am, let me tell you who I was and what brought me to where I am today: on my way to the White House.

In my freshman year at Albertus, I was a trouble child, but when it came to my sophomore through senior years, I got it together and became involved in as many school activities as I could. I had a small circle of friends, including my girlfriend, and surrounded myself with Albertus staff and faculty.  I was a member of the Student Government Association, President of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (also known as SAAC, which I basically help grow from the ground up), and Vice President of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference SAAC. I had the chance to get pretty close to the commissioner himself, Joe Walsh. All of this was extremely cool, and I owe it to the College for offering these opportunities.

One thing I can truly tell you about my experience at Albertus was there were always tons of opportunities available that went well beyond the classroom.  But I’m not here to tell you about my experience in college, I’m here to tell you about where taking those opportunities will be taking me on St. Patrick’s Day.

First, imagine that it’s January and you’re still trying to figure out your New Year’s resolution.  It’s a typical day: You’ve just finished brushing your teeth and then made pancakes. Not any regular pancakes — chocolate chip pancakes. You feel good about the pancake accomplishment and have a great start to your day.  However, right after finishing your delicious pancakes, that hopeful feeling disappears and you begin to feel defeated because you’ve accomplished so many achievements that you fear the only great things left to do are earn your masters and work your way up in an organization.

So you go to get ready for your day and see that you’ve missed a phone call from your high school principal saying to call him back and it’s urgent.  You call him back and he slowly gives you the news.

Principal: Could you talk?
You: Of course I can, everything alright?
Principal: We received an invitation to the White House, would you like to come and possibly talk to Michelle Obama?
You: ….
Principal: Are you there?
Principal: I’ll let you know when it’s for certain and it’s details, but congratulations.

As you can imagine, my heart skipped a beat with excitement and I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that this is happening.

Why me you may ask? I wondered that too.

Well, I’ll tell you it came from taking advantage of all the opportunities I was offered. Other than what I did with Albertus, I was heavily involved with almost all the top programs for the non-profit I work for today that I was involved with as a child.  To put the icing on the cake, I went to 10 countries since I enrolled at Albertus Magnus College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

Discussion with President McNamara

Since then, I’ve been congratulated by many individuals, but the one person who impacted me the most is Albertus’ very own president, Dr. McNamara. I was beaming when she took the time to sit with me and talk about how proud she was of all my accomplishments and my upcoming journey. She really is a leader who takes her students’ success to heart.

Whenever I’m in a panel speaking to high school students, I recommend considering Albertus.  After all, the College helped turn me into someone who has been invited to the White House. With Albertus, the possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned as I document my experience.


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