Student-Athletes Show Appreciation for Opportunities
Nov. 9, 2000
Below are the comments from senior student-athletes Jamie Holmes and Roz Pelayo at this year's Bronco Bench Foundation Endowment Dinner held Nov. 9 at the Benson Center. In all, a total of 58 student-athletes were recognized as recipients of 44 endowed, living or special scholarships.
Senior Men's Basketball Player Jamie Holmes
"I'm in my sixth year here at Santa Clara. I started off at the University of San Francisco. I hurt my shoulder my freshman year and I realized it wasn't the right fit for me so I decided to transfer. I transferred to West Valley Junior College, where I played for Coach Burton. I played a year at West Valley then came here. I played a year here before I got hurt and sat out another year. I played last year and I am playing this year.
"I had a chance to experience other colleges, having attended USF and West Valley. It really opened my eyes as to what a great place Santa Clara is. I was able to get a feel for what it was like at other places. Being here and seeing the support we get from our coaches, other athletes, the alumni and everybody involved with the athletic offices is amazing. It really makes it a lot easier to play sports here.
"The bonds I have formed with my teammates, other student-athletes and alumni through my experience here are ones that will last for a lifetime. The memories I have created while playing here are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have developed skills that are going to help me be successful after my basketball career is over.
"In 1997, when I first got here, I was amazed at how successful our athletic program was. Our men's and women's soccer teams are national powerhouses. Our volleyball team is now the best it has ever been in school history. Our women's basketball team has gone to postseason pretty consistently the past few years. All our programs are thriving and will only get better from here on out.
"There is a direct correlation between the donors and benefactors here tonight and the success in our athletic program. It is all due to your generosity and we appreciate it more than you will know.
"Since coming to Santa Clara, I have been given opportunities that I would not have been able to even dream of. I've been to Hawai'i twice. I've been able to travel through Europe. I've traveled all around the states. We are going to Alaska next week. The experiences I've received though my association with Santa Clara have been invaluable.
"Throughout the past years, I have really enjoyed speaking with many of the people in this room, the alumni and others. I've listened to many of the experiences and memories of Santa Clara during their time here. I would just like to say thank you for giving me and all the student-athletes, the opportunity to create our memories and to experience Santa Clara life. It is really wonderful and we greatly appreciate your generosity. Thank you."
Senior volleyball player Roz Pelayo
"First of all I would like to say good evening to all of my fellow student-athletes, the coaches and administrators here and all the member of the Bronco Bench Foundation. When I heard that Jamie Holmes and I were going to be the speakers here tonight, I thought 'wow, we are going to have the grandparents speaking here.' We are probably the oldest student-athletes here at Santa Clara. I am a fifth-year senior on the volleyball team and this is my fifth Bronco Bench dinner. I wonder if that is a record?
"Four years ago, then-coach Annie ?? predicted that I'd be the keynote speaker here. Back then, I was just a freshman. I was terrified at the thought of speaking up here in front of all the athletes, coaches and Bronco Bench members. And, now that I am up here four-years older and somewhat wiser, hopefully... Yes, I guess I am somewhat terrified at being up here!
"I started playing volleyball about 10 years ago. And, much to everyone's surprise I started off as an outside hitter. I even played a little bit as a middle blocker at the time. Between the eighth-grade and the start of my freshman year, I missed the growth spurt that everyone else seemed to hit. And, so my days of playing outside hitter and middle hitter were over.
"As I played throughout high school and club volleyball, I started thinking about playing in college. But, I was realistic and I knew there wasn't much of a market for a five-foot, two-inch setter. But, it became my ultimate goal to get a scholarship and play college volleyball. My dad, on the other hand, thought I was a little crazy. He saw how short I was and how tall the other girls were. He often asked my why I didn't go out and play soccer or softball or some other sport where height wasn't so much of an issue.
"So, while most of my senior teammates were getting letters and offers from many volleyball schools, I was often overlooked and dismissed simply because of my height. I could play with the best of them, but that wasn't good enough for the coaches and scouts who were looking for the taller and more powerful players who can roof balls, hit it straight down and do all the things that make the crowd cheer. Luckily there were two schools that were able to look past that and became interested in me. Those were Villanova and the University of Connecticut.
"Because of my family's financial situation, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go to college unless I got a scholarship. So, my choices were either going way far back east or staying local and going to a junior college. I was holding off, waiting for any opportunity to stay closer to home. I got a call one day by coach Annie ?? who said 'I am interested in you. I want you to come play for our program. I've got a scholarship available.' That was such a great opportunity that I thought I would never get. So, I came for an overnight visit. I knew right away that I felt right at home. It was probably because I was right at home, 20-minutes away. I couldn't get more closer to home than here at Santa Clara. So, I committed almost instantly and knew that I wanted to come here. Santa Clara was the perfect fit for me. It is a great academic school. I could play volleyball. And, it was close to home. Things could not have been better.
"I would not have been able to come to Santa Clara were it not for the scholarship that I received. That is where the Bronco Bench Foundation fits in. Because of the scholarship, I competed with the best volleyball players around. I have made friends that will last for a lifetime and received an education that will virtually allow me to do anything that I want to do. I am a combined science major and I will hopefully go into physical therapy someday.
"These past four years have been absolutely amazing. For all of the student-athletes here, I urge you guys to relish the time that you have and to enjoy the opportunities that you have been so graciously given by these people be getting to compete in the sports that you love. As I have learned throughout these past 10 years of competing, if you work hard and play hard anything is possible. You can be a five-foot, two-inch setter and still play with the big girls.
"I'd like to thank my teammates, who aren't here right now. They are in San Diego. But, I want to mention them anyway. We've shared these last four years and they helped teach me those life lessons that only teammates can learn. I'd like to thank the athletic department for all their support and their continual effort to enhance the overall college experience for all student-athletes here at Santa Clara. And, last but not least, I'd like to thank the Bronco Bench Foundation and everybody here. All of the endowers who have graciously given so much money and time and effort to allow the student-athletes like myself to come to this great school.
"These four years have been filled with so many memories, good times and bad, victories and defeats, cheers and smiles. I would never trade any of these memories for anything in the world. Thank you to everyone who has made it all possible, especially those of you who are here today. Without you, Santa Clara athletics wouldn't be as great as it is. Thank you."