Dunbar Early Learning Center News and Events
With roots firmly planted in Hobe Sound’s Banner Lake community,
16-year-old Dymond Johnson has a robust educational foundation that can be
traced to her earliest days as a toddler at the Dunbar Early Learning Center.
Now a student at the Kent School, a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut,
she has gained confidence, independence, and expanded her horizons, all
without losing sight of where she grew up.
Her road to academic achievement and a larger world view were not without challenges. Prior to attending the Kent School, she went to Indian Mountain School, a junior boarding school also in Connecticut, for two years. “She started a bit guarded, not exactly sure where and with whom she belonged, but within a few weeks, she decided to make the most of the opportunity. When we extended a hand, she accepted it and then looked for opportunities to support others,” said Jody Reilly Soja, head of Indian Mountain School during a virtual commencement ceremony in spring of 2020 in which Dymond was awarded the Schutte Prize given to the student who has shown the most outstanding improvement in all areas of school life.
“Before we knew it, Dymond was volunteering for and excelling at some of the school’s most sought-after leadership roles. In two short years, Dymond soared past her expectations, surprising herself with her natural ability to lead and create a positive school culture. “We are shaped by our experiences—by the people who enter our lives and the places we go. Not only did she challenge herself to be better, but she also challenged us all to be better,” Soja added.
Dymond’s early academic life was positively influenced by the Dunbar Center and the Banner Lake Club and one special volunteer: Sally Auer Zunino, a retired educator and co-president of the Dunbar Early Learning Center.
“Dymond and I met when she was in first grade and I was her volunteer tutor for the BLAST program,” explained Sally. BLAST (Banner Lake Club’s After School Time) program provides students with free after-school and summer programming, including homework assistance, access to technology, arts and crafts, music, physical fitness, and health and wellness activities and services.
“Despite the differences in our ages and backgrounds we just cliqued,” explained Sally. “She is bright, kind, and witty, bringing levity to any situation. I was inspired by her honesty, tenacity, and desire to learn. Supporting her educational spirit was an easy decision and watching her grow into such an incredible young woman has brought me tremendous joy. I am so proud of her,” added Zunino.
“I’ve had a lot of support along the way and I am so thankful for people like Miss Sally and my mom who have supported my education and to all my teachers and instructors along the way, from Dunbar to Banner Lake to the Pine School to Indian Mountain. These learning opportunities have changed my life, and I look forward to more enriching experiences at Kent,” said Johnson.
Last year, while returning home during school break, Johnson worked part-time at Dunbar, the place where her education began as a young child, as a way to give back to the community that shaped her.
Johnson’s story is a shining example of the impact that a strong educational foundation and supportive relationships can have in opening doors and changing one’s life for the better. When asked what advice she would give to younger students, Johnson’s quicky reply was to “get out of your comfort zone as much as you can. It helps you grow and leads to opportunities you might miss out on otherwise.”
Kent School, Connecticut.
SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2020
Like everywhere, the pandemic affected the Dunbar Early Learning Center in Hobe Sound, which serves many families living at or below the poverty level. They weren't sure how they would keep going, and then the Consortium of the Community Foundation Martin - St. Lucie stepped in to help!
APRIL 23RD, 2020
As you know Dunbar Early Learning Center follows Martin County School District's policies. Therefore our Center will be closed until Friday, May 29th, 2020.