Catholic Standard El Pregonero
Classifieds Buy Photos

For St. Mary’s Ryken senior, service is about ‘seeing people happy’

Dillon Peed from the class of 2024 at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown will attend High Point University in North Carolina where he will major in cyber security. (Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Ryken)

In participating in community service as part of his education at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, Dillon Peed worked with Building Bridges, a program that “increases the amount of time that students are engaged in learning, which increases their ability to succeed.”

In that outreach, Peed – a member of the Class of 2024 at the Xaverian Brothers-sponsored school – worked with a fourth-grader, and wound up having a profound impact on that young student’s life.

“One of the students that I was working with regularly and helping him with his reading, I noticed how he messed up or forgot simple, three-letter words,” Peed said. “I recognized at times that he was trying to read those words backwards. So, I convinced his mother to get tested and depending on the results, I could help him learn better.”

The child was indeed tested, and his learning differences were discovered and addressed after being brought to the attention of educators who had missed the signs that Peed noticed. The child can now read thanks to Peed.

Peed is modest in describing his part in this success story: “After the deficit was recognized, I kind of shifted how I reacted with him,” he said. He added that through the Building Bridges program, he assists students not only with reading but “with whatever they need – math, English, science or something as basic as reading a clock. It’s not necessarily always a school subject they need help with.”

Peed and his family – mom Julie, dad Bruce, and younger brother Logan – are members of St. Mary’s Parish in Bryantown, Maryland. Peed attended Archbishop Neale School in La Plata, Maryland.

At St. Mary’s Ryken, Peed serves as a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward. The stewards are a group of seniors who act as living witnesses to Christ in the school community.

“I really enjoy being someone that people can look up to, and this is something I take seriously,” he said.

During his time at St. Mary’s Ryken, Peed was in the National Honor Society and the Key Club, a national service club.

He also regularly helped out at the high school’s Caritas Resource Center, a community outreach sponsored by the school’s campus ministry. “We would collect donations, sort them and organize them, and eventually they would all go back out to the community,” he explained.

“My faith is one of my biggest motivators in why I do this (community service), but another thing is I like seeing people happy and I do not like seeing people in situations where they need help,” he said. “I just want to help them in any way I can.”

In the fall, Peed will attend High Point University in North Carolina where he will major in cyber security. He chose that school because “we did a lot of different college tours, and High Point was the place that made me feel at home. That campus felt more alive and the faculty and staff made the whole place more comfortable to me.”

While in college, Peed said, “I will continue to do community service, I am not stopping.” He said that he sees a compatibility between his interest in community service and his chosen major.

“To me, with community service you help people, and with cyber security you also help people but in a different, broader way,” he said.