By Harshini Dinesh(‘23)
For many students and staff, Mr. Ben Diggs’s presence was comforting because he could be found throughout South Brunswick High School, helping students, talking to staff, and doing his job as a security officer and hall monitor.
According to English teacher Mrs. Asmaa Kabel, “Mr. Diggs could always be found with a smile on his face and often a dictionary in his hands. He loved word puzzles and as an English teacher I admired that hobby.”
Mr. Diggs served South Brunswick High School for over 23 years and during his time he brightened many people’s lives with his positive attitude, comforting smile, and kindness.
Assistant Principal for Class of 2025 Mrs. Yoshi Donato, who has gotten to know Mr. Diggs through the years, said, “I met Mr. Diggs when I started out here at SBHS in September 2002. My first impression of him was that he had a very kind disposition about him. He was very helpful and knowledgeable about what happens here at SBHS. Also, Mr. Diggs was super involved in our athletic department events, he tracked the bus arrivals and had a huge rapport with many staff and students over the years.”
Mr. Diggs’s friendly personality and dedication to athletics meant that he got to build strong relationships with many students, staff, faculty, and athletes at SBHS. He helped individuals who were new to the school navigate the building, and he helped all major sporting events at SBHS run smoothly by maintaining transportation logistics.
Additionally, Mr. Diggs has impacted the history department, specifically Mr. Nicholas Gazzale’s class, The Vietnam Era, by providing Mr. Gazzale and his students with a firsthand account of his experience as a soldier during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Gazzale worked with Mr. Diggs for 13 years.
He said,“I met Ben when I was a student here back in 2001 and as a 15-year-old freshman my original thought was that he was pretty intimidating (but who isn’t when you’re a freshman?) but soon you learn how kind, funny, and caring Ben is. When I was fortunate enough to come back to the building as a teacher, I realized that Ben is all of those things and more. As a Vietnam Veteran, Ben has been kind enough over the last five years to come and share his experience every year with my class. Hearing firsthand accounts is invaluable to studying history and Ben has been a major part of this.”
Moreover, Mr. Gazzale appreciates how, “Ben has always been real. For both teachers and students, Ben will tell you exactly what you need to hear even if that isn’t what you want to hear at that moment. He is not going to sugarcoat anything and it is hard to find people like that.”
Since Mr. Diggs was always genuine and kind, many students spent time with him.
According to Mrs. Donato, “Ben’s strength is that he is friendly to everyone. However, sometimes he was too friendly to students who should have been in classes, but who instead sat near his post in the hallways because they loved Ben. Ben loved students and was definitely a crucial part of our day to day successes here. He often gave his wisdom to kids who struggled with being in classrooms; therefore, the weakness in the eyes of some could definitely be a blessing for those students who were struggling.”
Those who know him say that by being there for these students with different backgrounds, Mr. Diggs gave them a voice, helped them feel heard, and gave them advice that positively impacted their lives. During his service at South Brunswick High School, Mr. Diggs has been a major contributor to our school’s success and students’ happiness, so the Viking Vibe would like to thank him and wish him all the best in his retirement.