Roswell native and New Mexico Military Institute senior track athlete Christopher Enrique Vega signed on to run track and attend the United States Military Academy West Point in New York on Tuesday at the Roswell High School little theater.
Vega started the event with a speech, thanking everyone who guided his journey from his time in Roswell High, the Institute and the town of Roswell. He stayed with the Institute until his junior year and transferred to Roswell High for his senior. Vega is involved in track, football and is a Future Farmers of America member.
“West Point has a storied history behind it,” Vega said. “You are not only serving yourself. You are not going there just to run track and participate academically but also to serve the country. I’ve had some great people in my life and in every single foster home I have been in, the best were service members, and they continue to serve their country by taking me in. My stepfather, Command Sgt. Maj. Sammy Marquez, he’s just helped me so much. He’s my teacher, he’s taken me into his home and he’s my dad. That is why I chose West Point. It’s this commitment service that no other school can beat.”
Vega was accepted into several Ivy League schools including Yale and Cornell but chose to go to West Point due to its history and the values that the academy represents. Vega is a foster child and lived in foster homes from a young age due to his parents passing at an early age. As a foster child, he said that the families that took him in were service members and Command Sgt. Maj. Sammy Marquez became his father.
“I’m going to be majoring in defense and strategic studies so that’s usually the pathway to military intelligence or JAG, a judge advocate,” Vega said. “I’m also going to be running track there. I’m really looking forward to it. I was already talking to some of the coaches there and it’ll be my first time running in an indoor track.”
Roswell High Principal Pilar Carrasco praised Vega’s work ethic and advised the young man that he would not quit once he made it to New York.
“He is a very busy individual, very ambitious,” Carrasco said. “I feel that he is prepared academically and socially to be successful in West Point. He can’t go in and be static. He will be there and participate in the most difficult challenge he’s undertaken. Having a background in NMMI and being a graduate, the best advice I have for him is that going home is not an option. There will be lots of things that will drive him to go to a more secure, nourishing place, but West Point is designed to have the cream of the crop.”
His stepfather, Command Sgt. Maj. Marquez, advised Vega to continue his hard work and never give up.
“It’s so easy to quit, but winners don’t quit,” Marquez said. “I hope for him to achieve and shoot for the stars. I want him to become a great man, a leader, a person that people will follow, to be a good example, to give back to society what was given to him and to put God first in his heart. That’s what I would want him to do.”