middle school students in classroom wearing masks

Special Visitors Address Landmark Faculty

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On the Friday afternoon before the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend, more than 200 Landmark faculty members gathered in the Ansara Athletic Center to listen to local author Lisa Fenn share her remarkable story. The event was organized and sponsored by Landmark's internal professional development committee, InReach. At that time of day and after a long week, most teachers might start to mentally check out, but not this group of educators. Instead, they listened with rapt attention to Fenn tell her compelling story.  

As a former ESPN producer, Fenn talked about how her father tipped her off to a story about two remarkable high school wrestlers, both born in to poverty, in Cleveland, Ohio. But their story was much more complicated than that. Leroy Sutton lost his legs from a tragic train accident when he was 11 years old and was regularly seen being carried by his closest friend and fellow wrestler Dartanyon Crocket, who was legally blind. Lisa was hooked the moment she saw these two young men and, over many years, not only told their story on ESPN but came to mentor and then legally adopt both of them.  

About half way through her presentation, Fenn said that "saving some twist or a surprise to reveal at an unexpected moment in the unfolding of a story is an important skill for any television producer." At that moment she turned to the gym entrance and introduced Crocket, to the shock and delight of the audience. As a co-presenter he introduced the notion of, as he put it, "compassionate investment—the human instinct to nurture another person to help them grow and foster confidence and self sufficiency." Crocket continued, "It often boils down to simple things like genuine eye contact, authentic listening, and empathy. Lisa gave Leroy and me this, and so much more."

Toward the end of the presentation Lisa explained that Sutton had completed his undergraduate degree in video game design and was gainfully employed in his field, and Crocket, a two-time paralympian in Judo, was finishing his degree in sociology. She ended her presentation by thanking Landmark teachers for their compassionate investment, never giving up on their students, and serving as role models for other educators. 

Lisa Fenn and Dartanyon Crocket at Landmark School

Watch the ESPN segment about Lisa Fenn, Dartanyon Crocket, and Leroy Sutton

Read the book, Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family, by Lisa Fenn