WFS Supporting the Anthony Penna Foundation

Henry Wieman, Features Writer

On October 3rd, 2017, Anthony Penna, a junior at Archmere Academy, passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident on September 29. In honor of Anthony, the Penna family created a charity to support many of the programs that Anthony had enjoyed. Schools around the state have joined together to show support, and now, members of our school community have formed a club to raise awareness of this new local charity.

One goal of the Anthony Penna Foundation is to support music and theatre arts in the local community. The charity began this task by supporting Archmere and Saint Edmund’s Academy, although more schools will be included as the Foundation’s influence increases. The foundation is in honor of Anthony Penna, an avid musician and singer, who sang in Archmere’s Mastersingers, was a member of his church’s choir, and an inspiration to many of those around him. This charity has slowly gained traction within Wilmington, with many local school clubs, sports teams, and choirs supporting the Penna Foundation and the Penna family in their own small ways.

Recently, the #PennaStrong club was formed by Sean Brady ’20. The goal of this group is mainly to show their support for the up and coming charity, on behalf of our school and our Friends community. This club involves planning and organizing fundraisers to aid the Penna Foundation. It’s a challenge to organize and prioritize the club, but for Brady, “I found it really important for somebody to take this on and really help the [Anthony Penna Foundation] on behalf of the Friends School.” He hopes that the advent of this club will spread awareness for the new foundation, and encourage others to get more involved as well.

Many other students and staff have given support to this club and foundation. Susan Kampert, the faculty sponsor of the club, has shown her appreciation for what this club is doing for the grieving but resolute family; “When a family loses a child, I think there’s a point where people remember that person but then lives get busy and move on,” she says. “I think that, by the Penna family establishing this foundation, and trying to make just the community better as a result of losing their son … shows tremendous support, and I think by our school getting involved will show them how much we care.” Una Winn ’19 also joined the club, with a similar reason; “I think it’s important to support our community right now. [The Penna’s] are all going through something so hard that I think we could imagine how we would feel in that situation, and we would want others to come forward to help us and support us.” The dedication of members like these helps the club and organization get up on their feet.

Recently, on February 2nd, PennaStrong held their first fundraiser for the organization. Students could, for just two dollars, buy a Penna foundation laptop sticker, a bumper sticker, and a Penna Foundation bracelet that signifies a dress down day on a to-be-determined date. The fundraiser was a big success; due to the enthusiastic response of the student body, almost 100 bracelets were sold and almost $200 were raised. It was successful enough to continue the fundraiser into Monday. The members are hopeful that the club and its message are now on students’ radars. This is the first in a number of fundraisers for the Penna Foundation.

The Anthony Penna Foundation is small and still struggling to flourish. However, its inspiration and objectives towards aiding local music and theatre arts programs are universal, and as a response to an awful accident it is very heartening. Support like that from PennaStrong and other groups will strengthen and entrench the newfound charity into our Delaware community.