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The Student News Site of Landmark College




CDI Report: Ryan Sanchez

Editor’s Note: The following interview was originally aired on WLMC Radio and has been edited for clarity.

How did you become a part of CDI and the Pa’lante Center?

So back in the day–two years ago, to be exact, the spring 21–I was brought into CDI by my good friend right here, Julian Bond. We’ve been close ever since the day we met, and him and a couple of his friends wanted me to come down to the Rise Up Center a little bit more. And I said maybe if I have time. Because at the time I was dealing with typical college student days of life: seeing a girl, baseball, classes.

I always wondered my mind, before I even knew Pa’lante was a thing–before Angel came up with the idea–I was thinking to myself what if CDI had something like a Latinx Center?  I was brought in to Rise Up by you and Kenny Cooper and others. You remember I would be in there every night just chillin’?


I always felt that family-like type of connection in Rise Up, and it made me want to join CDI. So, I talked to Marc [Thurman] at that at the end of that semester about it. If you remember, I talked to him about it, because he saw me in there more and he was like, how would you like to join CDI? He said I think we could really use you a voice like you for the Pa’lante Center, which was starting next semester. He was like, you’re captain of the baseball team, you’re very prideful about your background, you’re from New York, you’re Puerto Rican, like, we need that type of positivity. And I said sure, I think that would be a great spot for me to help out kids that that come here that are Hispanic and don’t really know their way around here and they’re scared and all that stuff.

And it really joy to my heart that I can actually do this with CDI. Yeah. Let me tell you, becoming head of Pa’lante next semester, it’s like a blur, you know? I never thought I’d ever see myself doing something like this. I always thought of myself just playing baseball here. You know that was my main passion, but being a speaker of the people that I that I represent and playing baseball: it’s a dream in itself. I really love helping the community, and I really love welcoming people into the Pa’lante Center. And even welcoming new kids into baseball, you know? Say they don’t know how to play in the middle infield, I show them little things and I gave them some encouragement. It brings joy to my heart to always help somebody every day.

What was it like with your first semester at Landmark?

I met you on Accepted Students Day.  I was only 17 years old then.

This was fall of ‘19, by the way.

This was fall of ’19, I met Julian and he was the first friend that I made and I thought, I don’t know if I was ever gonna see him again after I talked to him. And then he told me, no, I’m coming here in the fall. And I’m like, word! So, then the fall comes around. I come in, I’m 17, I have blonde hair…

You were completely blonde, that’s true.

I was a Blondie from deep Puerto Rico playing World Baseball Classic

Word. <laughs>

So like when I walk in, people ask me how old I was and I was like, I’m 17. They’re like, you’re 17? And then you would come up to the people, yeah, he’s 17, so what? And I’d be like, yeah, I just got out of high school, I have a late birthday. And it was scary for me, you know?

I was introduced to Coach Wood and Pat McKenna when I first got here, and they brought me to the baseball team. They needed a first baseman. And at the time when I was younger, I was starting to get a little miserable here, even though I started to make friends with you, Danny, that group. I always had that feeling in my mind: maybe I shouldn’t be out at this young of an age and at school. Maybe I should have waited a semester, but my intuition started to get better when things started to move forward and progress. I started to get more comfortable because of the friends I had here. I was starting to reach the highest potential of my skills with baseball.

Marc Thurman, I met him around that semester, too. I’ve always respected him ever since I met that guy. Marc Thurman is the man. He’s one of the reasons why I stayed in the school to help lead Pa’lante and help run CDI and welcome others in besides baseball. It’s just something that’s so wonderful to be a part of. Like you don’t really experience that many things in your life that really drive you to continue.

Baseball, Pa’lante, my friends, the people that I’ve met here over the years that I’m still close with to this day. It keeps me going. It makes me feel better about myself every time I help out anyone that’s comes up to me. You know this, I’m like everybody’s therapist here, and I’m not even trying to toot my own horn. I mean that out of respect, because I love helping people and it’s always been a tradition for me to help somebody out that’s been less fortunate.

It’s very true. So, since you were talking about baseball for a bit, what was it like when you became captain of the baseball team?

Now there’s a story, let me tell you! <laughs> The captain thing has not been a strange thing to me. In the spring of ‘21, when Tim Beck was the coach of the baseball team, he came up to me and he told me, hey, you know Danny Burke’s leaving and he’s the most tenured veteran on the team and he’s our captain. How would you feel about following in his footsteps and take that position? And I said, I can definitely do that. I can help you structure drills, implement all these kinds of different, extensive, detailed plays into our practice so that we knew it was coming.  Because we knew after that spring ‘21 semester that we were gonna play. I knew because they were teasing it that semester. They wanted to play that semester so bad. And I was so talked about with the baseball team at the time. Like, if you remember, sports started to get bigger in the school at that time. And I started to become the talk of the entire athletics program because of the way I am with baseball.

That’s true.

There was times where I would get so excited, so elated to be running this leadership role. And let me tell you, sometimes it’s a drag. Sometimes you get kids that don’t cooperate, or kids that don’t want to listen or don’t even really have the spirit or the pride to play this sport. In the words of Yogi Berra: this game is 90% mental, 10% physical. Everything in this game revolves around how strong you are mentally. If you are not strong mentally and you are not able to keep your senses and your thoughts and your emotions in check, you’re gonna let everything get to you. And then it’s going to turn into this failure of a climax where you’re in your own head and you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.

So being a leader of the baseball team and even being a leader now for the baseball team, it’s an honor. I always love helping out kids that are getting introduced into the game, or just getting back into it, or even working with guys that are more experienced on the team. You know, like working with the guys like, do you mind if I throw out a couple players names out there?

Go ahead.

You know, working with guys like that are on the experience level of Kenny Katz, Julian Gooding-Williams, Gus McGee, and Alex Bernius and Matt Gibbs, guys of that nature. It’s always a pleasure for me to work with somebody that has all that game experience, and it always pleasures me to learn something from them as they can learn something from me.

And I like carrying that leader role because, like I said, it’s like helping people. I love to lead and I love to speak out on what I believe in. Being that sort of leader takes a lot of pride, and not that many people can walk around and with a straight face say, hey, I’m the captain of the baseball team without having an ego about it. When it comes to ego, I’m not all about ego. I’m all about humbleness and I’m all about honesty. I’m all about helping the people that come to the team. I’m all about making this team better and I’m all about speaking out for every value of every one of my teammates on that team because I treat them as one, as a family. And I always take that in the highest priority whenever I’m on the diamond with these guys, the Landmark baseball team. I tell my teammates every day, I love you guys. I’m only hard on you guys sometimes because I want you to do better. I want you guys to exceed what I think you can do. You know, like, I try to get the best out of them, and that’s my main priority and my main goal with this baseball team.

Like being, you know, a kid from New York City who played baseball all his life in New Jersey, New York, PA, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont. Playing in all these states and seeing the types of baseball in every different state makes me realize that baseball is a lot more special what a lot of people think it is. It’s a special sport that brings people together.

That’s true. That’s very true.

It’s a special sport that really helps build bonds, and I’ve built so many bonds with so many kids that play on this baseball team over the years that have gone past and present. I still have allies, as you know, from the baseball team’s previous semesters that still talk to me. Like Coach Wood, God rest his soul, I took everything that he taught me back in the day. If you remember what I used to tell him back in the day, how he used to have those talks with me all the time and try to psych me up. I always viewed Coach Wood as a father figure. I always viewed Tim Beck as a father figure. Those who have been my mentors in this school for years. And without them, I wouldn’t be the man I am today with the leadership position that I hold, and I wouldn’t be the same type of man with Pa’lante in conjunction with baseball, because they taught me how to be a leader. I grew up because of them and it’s made me into the man I am today and I and I love who I am today. I love that I have people telling me every day, thanking me. Like, thank you for helping me. Like, I really appreciate it. Like, thank you for being this wonderful person. It really warms my heart to see gratitude, because without gratitude and without the support of my friends and my family and the people that have guided me, I wouldn’t be here today.

At this time, five years ago, before Landmark, I was depressed. I was on the varsity baseball team at LaSalle Academy in New York City. I had nowhere to go at the time. I thought I was never gonna play college baseball. Yeah, I had a D3 offer when I was in Mitchell. I did. I almost played first base and almost played as a DH for Mitchell College in 2020, but I came here instead. And what I saw on the baseball team–family, connection, basic routine plays, chemistry–Anything that you think is very logical baseball-wise, I saw it here and that’s why I chose to be here instead. That’s why I chose to go this path of being a leader, because I always saw myself as one as I grew up, and I always wanted to speak for the people that I really love. and I care about, and I always wanted to speak for the people that I represent.

That’s heartfelt right there. So, I’m gonna hit you with another question and let’s talk about the time that you won the award.

The 2021 MVP?

Yeah. Let’s talk about that. How you felt when you won.

Dude. If you want to talk about surreal, let me tell you something. Winning that MVP award in 2021. Mind you this was a year after Danny Burke. Me and Danny won in back-to-back years. He won 2019-2020. I won 2021 and also 2022. There was no MVP that year, but they told me I was supposed to be the MVP that year.

Being an MVP, being a former one and an unofficial two-time MVP, it made me realize that I became the man that I always wanted to be. The Ryan Sanchez that everybody knows at this school. The one that’s helpful. The one that loves seeing anyone, no matter who he has a problem with, I would talk it over. I would help them through whatever they’re going through, and I would understand. I take that with great value and great pride that I have the privilege to be nice to so many people, and they have such gratitude for it.

There are 1000 names under the sun that I can throw in. And I’m not even saying this to toot my own horn. This is how proud I am of what I do. You know, like being an MVP, being captain, meant so much to me, I never won an MVP award in my life before that in baseball. Former high school city champion with LaSalle Academy from New York in 2016–great year to play baseball by the way–to coming five years later here…winning the MVP award.

You never thought that would happen.

I never looked back after that. I kept going. I became more and more into the game because of it. It brought me life again at a time when I was depressed, you know, like winning something in such high regard. You were there when I won the MVP. When Tim Beck said, I would like to award the MVP to Ryan Sanchez. You got up with Kenny Cooper and started cheering so loud.

We did. We did.

The whole place erupted. And I went up there. I almost cried when I went up there.

Yeah, I saw the emotion on your face. How much it meant to you.

Like I almost cried, because I never thought I would ever see the day I would get something in such high regard. Being an MVP of a school that’s kind of competitive, getting better every year, and is known all around this part of Vermont. Most of Vermont, actually. They know about the baseball team.

And playing in that high regard and having so many eyes on me. Like people asking me over Snapchat: when’s your next game? When do you guys play? I wanna see you come play. You know, having that pleasure of having people admire me for what I do and helping people and playing baseball, it really warms my heart because it lets me know that people like me for me. And that’s all I want to be: myself. And I’ve been myself five years that I’ve been here.

And it just feels so good, so warming that I had the regard to win the MVP award the year Coach Wood was in retirement. I was going to go up to the mic, I swear to you, swear to God to you, if they if they let me do a speech, I was gonna be saying it in tears. Because I would be saying I would like to thank everybody that has helped me along the way. Coach Wood, my friends, Danny Burke. Tim Beck, and my other professors and mentors that have helped me along the way here, I would like to send a thank you for making me the man I am today and for winning this great reward in high regard. Because everything that I achieve in baseball is always the most important to me, outside of helping people. It means so much to me when I can excite people for when I play a game. It means so much to me when I have support like that.

Like that’s what I that’s what I thrive under: support and adulation; like adulation in terms of admiring, not like, you know, egomaniacal adulation. I enjoy when people tell me, hey, I like the way you play. You play really well. And I’ll be like, thank you. I try. But you know, I’m not, I don’t consider myself the best. I always say that, because I’m always modest when it’s when I’m about it. I’m not egomaniacal, I’m not hey, I’m the best. I’m the best baseball player ever.  No, no. I’m all about honesty. I’m all about…

All about being about yourself and not like anyone trying to bring you down.

You know this better than anyone because you’ve been my best friend here. Like. I tell you literally everything. You know as much as everybody else knew how much winning MVP really meant. Having that regard, like I said, is the best one of the best things that has ever, ever, ever happened in my life. (18:03)

So, the next question I have for you, this is gonna be a hard-hitting one: what was it like when you took the semester off when you transferred?

Transferring to another school play to try to play D3 again, it was the hardest transition I had ever had in my life. Being away that semester after being at Landmark for three years, really took a toll on me. Being away from people that I was close with, being away from the people that I used to talk to every day, and being at home for a full year, let me tell you, it was heart wrenching. I love being home in New York City. New York City will forever be my home. Manhattan will forever be the home. God bless my mother and father love and my entire family, but being away really took a took a piece of me, you know? Being away really didn’t set me straight; like I get emotional talking about this sometimes, you know.

Yeah, I know.

Because it was such a heart wrenching semester for me to be away. When I was away, people were still talking about me.

That’s true, yeah.

Kids I didn’t even know were talking about me. Like, who’s this Sanchez guy? He sounds like he he’s a good baseball player. And then there was the ones that were close to me, saying Ryan’s amazing. Like, he’s probably the nicest person I’ve met in all my years going to school. The realist person, yada yada yada…but like being away and knowing that I still had people supporting me here while I was away, it felt like a warm spot, you know? It was heartwarming that I had so much support, because that’s what I like. I like when I have friends that truly care. I like when I have friends that are really there for me. You know how it is, man. Like I don’t let anybody that’s close to me out of my sight, ever. If you’re close with me and I know you are, I’m never gonna let you go like, because it means something to me that you’re building this bond with me.

Facts. Facts.

It was cool being at home mom and dad for a year, because I don’t see my mother and father that much during the year. I’m always here and I’m taking care of what I gotta take care of. And then I have my girlfriend in Connecticut. I love you, sweetie. <laughs> It’s just to be able to come back and having all those people welcoming me with open arms and greeting me and being so happy to see me. Like I didn’t know I was a light to many people’s darkness in the school. And you told me too, I am the light to most people.

Yeah. That’s facts.

And having people greet me and talk to me again and be happy that I’m back and want to hang out with me every day, it’s something that I never had when I was younger. Something that I never had in high school. Something that I never had in middle school. It felt so special, you know, to know that I had real friends that care. My main drive is seeing everyone happy. My main drive is to see everybody strive to do better for whatever they try in life.

Being away from the baseball team at that time, when coach Wood passed away, I remember I was so devastated. You sent me a text. You said yo, coach Wood just passed, and then I cried in my bed. I had just woke up that morning too, sort of crying in my bed. And then I went out to the field, and I threw to remember him.

And then I came up here, if you remember, I came up here that weekend to help.  Becca, the RA, came up to me and she goes, hey, Ryan, can you go calm down your teammates because like a lot of them are going through a hard time with coach Wood’s passing. And I said yeah, that’s what I’m here for.

Yeah, you did.

I’m here to support my friends and my teammates, like the ones that are affected most. My teammates, my family, like La Familia every day! Being there supporting everybody, helping everybody through it really, really melted my heart, because I didn’t know I was that loved, and I didn’t know people still wanted me to come back and just be back where I was. I didn’t know I had that much of a welcoming presence. I did not know I enlightened people all the time and gave them a light at the end of the tunnel. It really, really warms my heart that I have these people here that I’m friends with and coming back just made it feel 1000 times better.

This is the last question. What was it like when you came back after you transferred? Once you came back to Landmark?

Let me tell you the story of how I left Mitchell. So, when this semester began here, I was already at Mitcehll. I was doing my own thing, trying to get my stuff done. First two weeks, I cried every night that I was there because I didn’t want to be there. I felt like it wasn’t for me. And being in Connecticut, being near my girlfriend, that’s cool. It felt really good for that. Then when I was at school and I was missing her, it felt worse because I just didn’t want to be at that school. I wanted to be back here.

Like being back here, knowing that people still remember me, people still support me and people still tell me how much they’re appreciative of me for helping them, and being so humble about it, it really warms my heart to get those open arms when I walked onto campus in spring 2023. And seeing people again that I that I knew that greeted me and said welcome back, man.  Mike Ferzoco! I walked into Campus Safety and he said, Ryan? Welcome back, man! Like he was so happy to see me. Then we talked about baseball for like an hour after that. And I went back to my room, checked myself into Bridges, and started hanging out with everybody again. It was such a special feeling. It felt like being home.

I said to myself, when I went to the gym for the first-time last semester after being away, this is home. Like I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t here. This place will forever be my home when I’m away from home, outside of my girlfriend’s house. And it will always hold a special place in my heart for getting me to where I was, in terms of growing up, in terms of being a leader, in terms of guiding people, in terms of leading the pack, and in terms of helping people, it really sparked my desire to embark on the same journey that I went on a year prior; to continue what I was doing and then playing baseball again competitively, really competitively, last semester against schools boosted my drive even more. And I became more passionate. I became more prideful, and I became more grateful that I’m still here doing what I grind out best.

And it’s always a pleasure to be here. And Landmark College, from the Pa’lante Center leader to one of the leaders on the baseball team: Tu eres mi familia. You are my family. And for anybody that’s listening to this, Landmark past, present, alumni, or not: just know that if you knew who I was when I was here, and you are close with me, and you still support me, just know that I love you and that you can do anything you put your mind to.  Life is like a chain. You either pull it and go through that door, or you break it and lose everything.

That’s right.

My message to anyone that that supports me, loves me–family, friends, girlfriend, whatever– just know that I’m doing it to the best of my ability and I am pulling that chain to go through that door to the next chapter in life, and that I would like to thank everybody that has supported me in my journey with baseball, being a leader, being essentially a celebrity here, because of baseball.

True, that’s facts.

And for anyone that’s seen me play and loves how I play, I appreciate you admiring me. Like, it’s an honor to play for you and to see you guys smile. That’s what I do it for. Not only because I love the sport, but I do it so that the people can watch it, too. And the people can watch baseball if they’ve never really watched it before and they could see what it’s like, and then have a chat with them about baseball after that, like a positive chat. Not about ego, not about anything of that sort of toot my own horn, just about pure life and baseball. My motto in life: Love. Life. Baseball. Peace. That’s how I feel.

Thanks so much Ryan.  Appreciate it as always.

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About the Contributor
Julian Bond
Julian Bond, Sports Director for WLMC Radio
Julian Bond is from the Bronx, New York. He's been a student here at Landmark College since Fall 2019. His area of study is in the focus of Communications & Entrepreneurial Leadership. Graduated with his Associates in General Studies last semester, in May 2023. He's been a part of the Radio Station, WLMC Landmark College Radio during his 1st year. Has been a student leader since he became a staff member for CDI (Centers of Diversity & Inclusion), working at the RISE UP Center, and has been promoted to the Assistant Coordinator since Fall 2023. Also, he has even participating for the college's TV studio, Voices TV with one of his favorite professors, Gyuri Kepes. He always likes to socialize with his amazing group of friends, always caring about them over himself, a gentleman of his truest nature, and always has a competitive spirit when it comes to playing sports like Billiards, Basketball, Volleyball, etc. And, he always loves playing his favorite sports video games whenever he's hanging out with friends or just chilling in the RISE UP Center. He's one of a kind.

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