2023 Salutatorian Samuel Panatera


Benet Academy

The Class of 2023 Salutatorian Samuel Panatera.

Editor’s Note: This piece was also posted in the Benet Herald 2023 Graduation Edition.

How did you develop your strong work ethic?

My work ethic comes from the advice of my parents. They taught me that even though you may not be the best at something at first, hard work will get you somewhere worthwhile.

Benet Academy is full of smart students, what did you do to set yourself apart?

I set myself apart through the bustling schedule I maintained. In the fall, I took part in cross country and club volleyball, often back-to-back. At the same time, I helped coach middle school volleyball teams. I also participated in the musical during the national tournament season for volleyball. Throughout tech week, I would hustle to the gym for volleyball. In addition, service, choir, and clubs were incorporated into my time at Benet. Through this variety of extracurricular opportunities, I was able to distinguish myself from others.

What are your college plans? Where are you going, and what are you studying?

I will be attending Georgia Tech for Architecture and will participate in a learning community focused on global sustainability. In this community, members take an extra class encompassing the UN’s sustainability goals so students can easily participate in the diverse global society.

What advice do you have for future Benet Academy students?

My advice would be to create a support system of friends for your high school years and beyond. With this support system, participating in campus events, joining sports and clubs, and completing coursework becomes easier.

If you could have a Benet Academy do over, what would you do differently?

Overall, I would make many of the same decisions I made throughout high school. If I were to have a “do-over,” I would have branched out earlier since I hadn’t reached out to friends until the end of freshman year.

Who would you like to thank for influencing, motivating, or supporting you?

I would like to thank my family, my support system of friends, my peers, and of course my teachers, the faculty, and staff at Benet that constantly motivated me to improve.

Who are your role models?

I find inspiration in the people closest to me, especially my friends, family, and classmates. Seeing the amazing things they do pushes me to better myself in all aspects of life.

What would you like the Benet Academy Community to know about you?

I would like the Benet Academy Community to know that my experience at Benet was defined by my involvement in numerous spaces around campus. Involvement was encouraged as I grew out of my shell to make connections with others.

What would surprise people about you? Any hidden talents or aspirations?

People might be surprised to know I participate in both fine arts and varsity sports. Both were supportive when I had to miss a game or performance for the other. Many people are also surprised when I express my love for architecture, but the juxtaposition of math, science, art, and service made the major an easy choice.

What is your favorite Benet Academy memory? What event or moment will you take away?

One of my favorite Benet Academy memories was spending time backstage with my friends last year during the musical. We would sit and talk, go for walks, and just enjoy each others’ company. Spending time with people backstage will be one of the memories I will hold forever.