Concetta Vitale leads the community with her passion for service

Nominated by students, faculty, and staff of the Dana Hall community, Concetta Vitale ‘21 was chosen as this year’s Thanksgiving Convocation Speaker for her long-time and humble commitment to community service and being a role model for the community.  

The annual Thanksgiving Convocation Speaker is an individual in the Dana Hall community that is quietly committed to serving others, either inside or outside of the school community. Concetta was chosen to be speaker this year because of her commitment to make a difference, not for recognition, but for serving others. 

Ms. Angela Macedo, Director of Community Service Programs, has the job of selecting the speaker each year from the pool of nominees. Ms. Macedo said, “From all the applicants, Concetta had the most extensive and varied service record. She had been committed to several causes serving different populations of people.” Ms. Macdeo also noted, “Concetta’s call for us all to serve year-round was compelling to me; I thought it would speak to our community.” 

Concetta explained that “I developed a passion for community service and assisting people because I wanted to make change. I knew that to be part of this society, I needed to engage with others and do my part in assisting them. So long as there are people in society, there will be a place where I can help because everyone faces obstacles and hardships; everyone needs to feel cared about.” 

Novia Nguyen ’21, a friend of Concetta’s, noted Concetta’s humble but powerful approach to service work. Novia said, “Concetta is the ultimate social warrior ninja. She always does her part to make change silently and never expects any recognition for her work.” 

Novia mentioned that Concetta’s modest approach extends beyond just her service work and applies in the rest of her life as well. Novia recalled, for example, Concetta causally telling her that she was going to play piano at Carnegie Hall. Although a huge milestone for Concetta, she kept the news to herself for the most part, with the exception of a few close friends.

Having known Concetta for five years, Novia said, “I look up to Concetta because we do similar work in trying to do what we can to help our community, and I value that bond in our friendship. However, she has always kept the work that she has done more in the dark than I have, and I admire that about her.”

Concetta began participating in community service, trying to provide assistance to others, because from a young age, she witnessed the empathy and selflessness of her parents and grandparents. 

Concetta has lent a hand to various organizations serving numerous demographics. She has worked with the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council, the Woodrow Wilson after-school program, the Jackson Mann Community Center, Veronica B. Smooth Senior Center, Wellan Montessori School, and Cradles to Crayons. 

At organizations such as the Wellan Montessori School, Jackson Mann Community Center, and Woodrow Wilson Elementary School programs, Concetta worked directly with children and students ranging from six months to twelve years old. In these programs, Concetta fills a variety of roles assisting students with homework, playing games with the children, and accompanying them during recess and snack times. 

The Wellan Montessori School in particular has a special connection to Concetta as it was the school she attended before coming to Dana Hall in the seventh grade. Since leaving Wellan Montessori School, her commitment to the community has not stopped. For the past five years, Concetta has dedicated her Spring Breaks to volunteering at her alma mater. She lends a hand in all subjects, including art, woodworking, Spanish, math, history, science, and English classes. 

Dashia Toomer ’21 worked closely with Concetta as partner-mentors during the Woodrow Wilson after-school program, All-Stars. Dashia stated that “Having Concetta as my partner definitely made [the program] especially enjoyable. With her enthusiasm to work with kids in the program, it didn’t take long for us to work as a solid team!” 

Additionally, throughout the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, Concetta has been a Change Agent and a Youth Ambassador on the Mayor’s Youth Council for the City of Boston. According to Concetta, “this committee strives to implement three project that will assist the youth in Boston. Through outreach involving the processes of Idea Collection, voting, meeting with department heads, youth in Boston, and individuals crucial in the process of each project, the committee gathers information on implementing projects that will have a positive impact on the lives of Boston residents.” 

Previous projects the group has worked on have been the addition of new water fountains, solar benches, and trash cans. Current projects include renovations of a homeless shelter in Boston, as well as renovating sections of the Mattahunt and Tobin Community Center.  

During her Thanksgiving Convocation Speech, Concetta discussed her reasons for partaking in community service and why she is passionate about what she does. She specifically mentioned her work with the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council and Woodrow Wilson after-school program because she wanted people to know that community service can take shape in many different forms, big and small. 

Concetta said, “I wanted people to know that the scale of the initiative isn’t what’s important. It is being willing to support and assist people with any task no matter their background.” 

Looking back at the experiences that she has had with volunteering, Concetta reflected that her role in service work has given her the opportunity to witness and be present in initiatives that allowed her to learn from experiences that have contributed to her identity and values.  

She said that the interactions she has had with each individual has been unique and “that led me to learn about the power of communication and supporting others. This lesson has contributed to my understanding of what an unified and inclusive environment where people have the freedom to express their true selves looks like.” 

“Everyone is able to participate in community service, they just need to find the key to unlock that part of them. I wanted to use my speech as an opportunity to encourage people to participate in community service, to be the key to inspire action. I wanted to embody the true meaning of community service: assisting others, in any way big or small, with the intention to be selfless and aid others.”

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