Peddie Paved the Way
From the Peddie Chronicle Spring/Summer 2018 issue
The beneficiaries of Annenberg's generosity continue to touch lives, build futures and strive for the highest quality of citizenship. And, they are grateful for the lessons they learned at Peddie ... in the classrooms, and on the field and stage.
Sangu Delle '06
Born in Ghana, Sangu Delle’s ’06 search for an alternative school in America led to a full scholarship from Peddie.
"The experience changed my life ..."
Delle delved into nearly every aspect of student life at Peddie. At graduation, Peddie awarded him the school’s highest student award, the Wyckoff Honor Prize.
Today Delle is the co-founder of a venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurial ventures in Africa.
“Peddie has played such a powerful role in my growth and development,” he said. “The experience changed my life, and I am grateful to Ambassador Annenberg for playing a role in that.”
Delle received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and obtained a Doctor of Law from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Forbes magazine named him one of Africa’s Top 30 Under 30 and Euromoney named him one of Africa’s rising stars. Delle received the Young Person of the Year Award at the 2014 Future Awards Africa and was honored as a finalist for Young CEO of the Year by the 2016 Africa CEO Forum. He is a TED Global Fellow and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.
Delle volunteers for both his alma maters, serving on the Peddie Board of Trustees and the advisory board of the Harvard Center for African Studies.
JR Rodrigo '11
John Raphael “JR” Rodrigo ’11 was involved in numerous activities at Peddie, including varsity golf, student council and musical theater. “Music and the arts were an amazing way for me to find balance in my life when I was at Peddie, and they are things that I try to maintain in my life to this day.”
For his Summer Signature Experience, Rodrigo traveled to the Philippines to examine the microfinance industry and its impact on local entrepreneurs and businesses. The experience influenced his decision to pursue a career in finance and asset management.
"Annenberg's gift ... opened doors for me."
A Potter Scholar and a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rodrigo said that he is grateful for the opportunities that Peddie provided to him. “Walter Annenberg’s monumental contribution gave me and countless other students the chance to pursue a Peddie education that otherwise might have been less attainable. Put simply, Annenberg’s gift and the Potter Scholarship opened doors for me.”
Chavon Sutton '99
The valedictorian of her eighth-grade class, Chavon Sutton ’99 was accepted to all of the top schools near her hometown of Newark, N.J. Still, the intellectually curious student felt thwarted by the shortage of resources available to her.
That changed when Sutton earned one of the first scholarships funded by Ambassador Annenberg’s historic gift to Peddie. “While I may have done OK in life attending a top school at home, going to a school as nurturing and progressive as Peddie ensured that I would CRUSH life!”
Sutton immersed herself in many activities at Peddie and had the opportunity to travel to Trinidad as part of the Principio Project to study HIV/AIDS at the Caribbean Center for Epidemiology.
" ... Peddie ensured that I would CRUSH life."
One of Sutton’s favorite memories is when she opened her mailbox on December 10, 1998, to find a big envelope from the University of Pennsylvania. It was then that Sutton learned that she would be the first person in her family to attend an Ivy League university.
Sutton graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania and obtained an M.A. and MBA from New York University. She was a financial analyst at Bank of America, then a reporter for CNNMoney.com and eventually a vice president at J.P. Morgan. She recently took on an independent consultant role at Momentum Advisors. Sutton is a board member of Hyde Leadership Charter School in Bronx, N.Y. All of that and she is also a classically-trained soprano.
“I am eternally grateful to Ambassador Annenberg,” said Sutton. “My experiences at Peddie made me the well-rounded creative professional that I am today.”
Daniel Funderbirk '19
Daniel Funderbirk ’19 traveled from Georgia to become part of the Peddie community. “Peddie has shown me that you can feel comfortable even in a new or unfamiliar environment,” he said. “It feels like home!”
Funderbirk is an avid musician. He’s been in multiple Peddie productions, both as an actor and in the pit band, and performed in numerous concerts. Two years ago he portrayed Gaston in the freshman musical, “Beauty and the Beast.” “Being on stage is fun and easy for me,” he said.
"It feels like home!"
Funderbirk’s favorite Peddie experience so far was this spring’s music department trip to New Orleans. “The city was buzzing with music,” he said. “People were playing on the street, on stage, and some let me jump in on trumpet, piano and even kazoo.”
A gifted student and a valuable member of the Peddie community, Funderbirk might not be here if it weren’t for the long tradition of financial aid and merit scholarships spurred by the contributions of Ambassador Annenberg. Funderbirk is grateful to be the recipient of the Armellino Scholarship. “Giving back is such an important part of Peddie,” he said. “It encourages me to work harder to succeed, and is a reminder that I can do anything that I am committed to.”
Regan Cook '19
Regan Cook ’19 has a busy summer ahead of her.
First, she will row for the Pennsylvania Athletic Rowing Association, a competitive racing experience that prepares athletes for collegiate and national level competition. Following her one-month stint on the Schuylkill, Cook begins her Summer Signature Experience at the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“History has become one of my passions ever since I took Modern Global History my sophomore year,” said Cook. “My Summer Signature Experience at UNC will allow me to explore my favorite subject as well as a part of the country that holds a special place in my heart. I spent a lot of time growing up with my dad’s family in small-town Alabama.”
"I'll never stop being grateful for this opportunity."
Cook is involved in a variety of activities at Peddie. She’s one of a select group of student ambassadors for the Office of Alumni and Development and is a member of Peddie crew. Cook said, “I want to get as involved as I can at Peddie. I want to make the most out of my time here.”
When reflecting on the Armellino Scholarship that brought her to Peddie, Cook said, “I would not have been able to attend Peddie without the kind of financial support that Walter Annenberg inspired and that has continued with the generosity of those like Mr. Armellino.”
“Being at Peddie is the best thing that has ever happened to me, she added. “I’ll never stop being grateful for this opportunity.”
Reflections: Headmaster Peter Quinn, former Director of Development Anne Seltzer, Jeff Larsen '93 and Joseph DiSalle '93
Media coverage: "It was a 'Little Engine That Could' story."
Michael Armellino '57: Annenberg's tradition of philanthropy must continue