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by Savannah Durden, Mount de Sales Academy Student

This speech was given for this year’s MDS Student Council elections that took place in August of 2023. Published with permission for our MDS Musings Blog. 

Greetings! I am Savannah Durden, a 9th grade student who came to Mount De Sales as an 8th grade transfer student. Though I am only beginning my second year with you all I have developed a deep sense of belonging and pride in being a Cavalier. I strive, daily, to choose actions that are aligned with the pillars of our mission so that I may be seen as a good ambassador for what it is to be a Cavalier.

Cavaliers are compelled by Mercy. Last year, at our 8th grade commencement ceremonies, Dr. Franklin instilled upon us a bit of advice about engaging with others. He said, “Of all the accolades a student, or any person, could hope to garner, being kindhearted may be what the world most needs right now.” Dr. Franklin was right to make this distinction because being compelled by Mercy isn’t just about affording grace it’s also about showing kindness, or being kindhearted, when others are in need even though they may not be so deserving of your kindness.

Cavaliers exhibit educational courage. It’s sometimes difficult to raise our hands or speak up for fear of critique from our peers or even our superiors. Education doesn’t always happen in the classroom. Sometimes it happens because we have the strength to start the hard conversations and engage with others in an effort to challenge old assumptions and new ideas.

Cavaliers are inspired by faith. My walk with religion and study of scripture has led me to understand so many things about myself, but most importantly is the understanding that my relationship with God continues to grow and change. I invite God into every decision that I make and include Him in every hope I hold. I know that this relationship with Him inspires not only who I am, but how I receive others. To be inspired by faith means that I hold my own religious beliefs in the highest regard, but I also practice the same respect, reverence, and compassion for the religious beliefs of others.

Cavaliers practice principled leadership. The pressure of being a human can sometimes overwhelm our behaviors, but Cavaliers stand strong as leaders. We strive to always practice ethical behavior, transparency, accountability, and responsibility. Courage becomes most important when faced with situations where these traits are needed. For some it may be easy to fall into behaviors of “going with the flow” or appeasing those we see as superior in some way or another, but for a Cavalier it’s far more important to uphold ethical behaviors based around honesty and integrity.

Cavaliers are a voice for dignity and respect. This means that we not only behave in our own dignified and respectful manner, but we declare dignity and respect for those who may not be able to do it for themselves. In every situation we do our best to ensure that others feel as though they are important and worthy of honor and respect.

These five pillars of our mission are everything it means to be a Cavalier; they are every quality that an active and fit member of student council should strive to possess. As a member of student council, I promise to approach each and every opportunity with reverence to these truths. I promise to always aim towards a goodness of fit for all. I also promise to always challenge myself and others to make it better. My name is Savannah Durden and a vote for me is a vote for Cavaliers.