by Claire Sullivan
Culture of Service
Service. It’s fundamental to the ethos of Landmark, and we encounter acts of it daily on both the High School and Elementary•Middle School (EMS) campuses. In times of crisis, calls resonate to help those suddenly without. Bags of clothing and boxes of canned goods are marshaled in Landmark’s lobby before shipping out. On designated Fridays, EMS students present about personal causes, and the opportunity to don non-dress code attire for the day draws monetary donations. Service pervades our school’s culture.
Few members of the Landmark community better personify this ethos than Anna DiPerna. Anna, an assistant math department head on Landmark’s EMS campus, lives a lifestyle of serving. Anna embodies what it means to selflessly give to others because she gives something all of us value so much: her time.
Outside of the classroom, Anna’s career of service is impressive and expansive. More than a decade ago, she began working with Kestrel Educational Adventures, a nonprofit that in their own words, “empowers young people to learn science the way scientists do science.” Over the years, she has held many roles, including interim head of the board of directors, tirelessly working to further the group’s mission of supporting place-based nature education.
Expanding Beyond out Walls
Several years into balancing her time at Landmark and Kestrel, the opportunity to travel to an orphanage in Honduras arose. Anna soon forged a lasting relationship with the program Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. While there, she met several children, including a young boy named Carlos. Deeply affected upon returning, Anna sponsored several children herself and set up sponsorship between Landmark and Carlos. Dress-down days and the beloved annual basketball tournament, Slam Jam, both raise money for the orphanage.
Anna also brings her service-minded philosophy to campus, where she co-founded the Community Action Team (C.A.T.) to involve students in service. She encourages students to collect donations and organizes service-based field trips around the area, a favorite being to the local animal shelter. All of this, plus additional projects, such as the adult education math tutoring she provides on weekends, grew from her dedication to service and helping those around her.
In a culture where everything seems to be on display, Anna’s work is surprisingly understated.
If she mentions her work at all, it is not to boast.It is rather to inform and educate, share and inspire. Anna rallies others around her because she leads by example. She will not solicit a donation because she has to; she asks when she believes strongly in the mission. Anna impacts the Landmark community every single day. For all of her service, we are grateful.
Article originally published in The Lantern, Fall/Winter 2019/20.