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Sherley Arias-Pimentel ’19 Talks Service, Love, and Ubuntu

Jim Norman

For their Fifth Form Retreat in January, Canterbury students were treated to an inspirational talk on servant leadership by “the consummate Saint,” according to Theology Department Chair Amy Omaña ’86, P ’19, ’20. The list of activities and accomplishments for Sherley Arias-Pimentel ’19 at Canterbury is impressive indeed— she was a scholar, vital community member, athlete, co-founder of AHANA (students of African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent), founder of Saints on the Hill, and so much more. As Amy put it, she was “a dynamo.”

Sherley shared stories of how her grandfather’s spirit of service and values guided her life and recounted her amazing study-abroad trip to Ghana as a student at the University of Richmond. “Part of the study abroad program required that I spend four weeks pursuing an independent study project,” she told students. “For me, photography has always been my primary medium to share my thoughts, my emotions, and my ideas. I spent my four weeks using photography to form an illustration of a concept called Ubuntu.” 

So, what exactly is Ubuntu? “At its most basic core, Ubuntu means humanity. In practice, it expresses empathy and compassion for others through caring, sharing, warmth, and comprehension,” she explained. “The name of my photography series is ‘Because I Love Them.’ Through these photos, my goal is to introduce the ideas and practices inherent in Ubuntu and also use these images to produce a sense of joy.”

Sherley also expressed her gratitude for her time on the hilltop and urged the students to take full advantage of the School’s unique community spirit. “Canterbury is one of the spaces that instilled in me a moral purpose and desire to serve my community,” she told them. “Each one of us has a responsibility to take care of each other, especially at Canterbury, where such opportunities are literally built into your daily schedule. You have a hundred opportunities every day to make someone’s day brighter, easier, less lonely, more fulfilled, more energized, more fun, less burdened, more supported. You just have to decide to do it.”

 

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