Because dyslexia does not discriminate, Landmark High School students hail from across the state, country, and world. Sunaina "Su" Hoon '22 is one of our international students who bravely ventured from afar—New Delhi, India—to Landmark when she entered ninth grade. She left behind all that was familiar to her—family, culture, cuisine—so she could attend a school where her teachers understand her learning style and needs, she's surrounded by students who learn like she does, and she receives an education that has helped her gain confidence and reach her academic potential.
Landmark quickly became Su's second home and the community an extended family. "I was homesick at the beginning of my freshman year because everything was new, but everyone at Landmark was so kind," she said. The teachers, my houseparents, and friends went out of their way to understand me and make me feel welcome and important. I can talk to my houseparent, Mama O, about everything—and I do."
Relief, Camaraderie, and Independence
It didn't take long for Su, who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, to breathe a sigh of relief academically. The small classes, individualized curriculum, enthusiastic faculty, and other students boosted her confidence and independence. "In India, most people don't know that dyslexia exists. There were about 40–50 students in each class and I felt lost and I couldn't pay attention. I didn't want to ask for help," she said. "At Landmark, I'm with students who also have dyslexia, and my teachers totally get me and understand how to teach me. They encourage me to ask questions and ask for help. It's really comforting to know that people in class with me have the same struggles as I do. I've become so much more independent here."
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most important celebrations in India. Rev. Bill Ferguson, Landmark's chaplain, recognized that Su would miss observing the occasion and brought Su and a group of friends to dinner at a local Indian restaurant during Diwali. It wasn't quite the same as celebrating in India, but it remains one of Su's fondest memories at Landmark.
Su, who may be thousands of miles away from home, takes comfort knowing she can depend on her second family, led by Mama O.