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Beyond Cathedral

Our esteemed Latin teacher and Faculty Chair of the 2016–2017 Annual Fund, Dr. Vitale, and Yelka Kamara, the Associate Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Engagement, speak to Cathedral Magazine about the importance of giving

Dr. Vitale, why did you agree to become the faculty chair of the Annual Fund? Dr. Vitale: All these years, I watched other people do it. And the thing is, I didn’t get involved. I didn’t catch on, because to me it was a business. But the thing is, this is not a business. And the concept that makes it work: there’s got to be a connection. It’s not a business, it’s a personal connection. So, Latin, always in the picture, says: videre lucem. May you see the light. So I saw the light. And it became my turn. When I’m teaching in the classroom now, I’m edified by the fact that the money has somehow helped me in the classroom; for instance, now I can write on those whiteboards all the way down. The school has never refused me anything. Any book, any map, anything at all. Where does this come from? The Fund. That’s where it comes from. So, I’m glad to do it now because I saw the light. Yelka, what is your favorite part of working with Dr. Vitale? Kamara: I think it’s really his connection. As he said, he saw the light, and I think that once you understand what the Annual Fund means, once you can actually see it in the work that you’re doing. Dr. Vitale: I have to put in a good word. It appears to me as a faculty member that your heart is in this. And we’re all pitching together. And it’s a no-brainer for faculty members, if in fact, all the faculty gave whatever they could give, if that would enable you to get donations from the outside, seeing that incentive, it’s a no-brainer. We have a responsibility to do this. And there’s another word involved here. Now it’s Greek to the rescue: the big word in raising money is philanthropy. If you break it apart, it’s love of people. We have a love for our students here. And also, what is unique about the school, what is absolutely unique and worth it, is the testimonials. The students keep coming back, year after year, who have graduated 20 years ago, to say hello and stay in touch. I would dare




Videre Lucem with Dr. Vitale say this doesn’t happen anywhere else. There is a legacy and a connection that is in perpetuity. As the Faculty Chair, why do you think the faculty and staff should donate to the Annual Fund? Dr. Vitale: We are part of the main. This is not an insular existence that we live. You see, years ago, when I thought that this was a business, I was on an island. But we’re not on an island. We’re on the mainland, and this is a connected unit. Kamara: And what we do supports you, and what you do supports us as well, because you are giving us the testimonials. Dr. Vitale: It’s a thoroughgoing reciprocity! Can we go back to Yelka’s favorite part about working with Dr. Vitale? Kamara: My favorite part was working on the Annual Fund video with Dr. Vitale. Just hearing your thought process and really breaking down the meaning of different words. I’ve been doing philanthropy now for about seven years, it’s always a beautiful thing to hear what other people’s interpretation of philanthropy is. My understanding of philanthropy is it is the expression of the human spirit. Dr. Vitale: It’s where it all starts, the roots. The students keep coming back to the roots. They are spellbound by the whole experience. There’s no experience like this. That’s why I don’t leave here! Check out the Annual Fund video “If Not You, Then Who?” featuring Dr. Vitale, at Don’t hesitate to contact Yelka Kamara at and make an Annual Fund donation today.

Cathedral W I N T E R 2017

Profile for The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2017)  

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2017)