Lincoln HS announces scholarship in memory of late teacher

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Annie Lanning was tragically killed by the derecho that hit Sioux Falls on May 12, 2022. In December, her family decided to honor her legacy by creating a scholarship to do what Annie was passionate about: help students.

There’s really no timeline to the grieving process. Shawna Peterson, Annie’s sister, says that thinking about the good times they had and who Annie was as a person has been good for her and her family. Shawna was almost 14 when Annie was born, but despite their age difference, they had a special bond.

“She was the little sister that I was always looking for, and surprise we got her,” said Peterson. “Every morning she would call me on her way to work. Every night she would call me on her way home, telling me what was going on, and I’d tell her what was going on. We got really, really close as time went on.”

Annie and her 3 siblings, Shawna, Tony, and David, grew up in Yankton. Annie leaves behind her husband, Brian, and her son, Finn, who still live in Sioux Falls.

After Annie’s tragic death, Shawna was blown away by the community of people who supported and loved Annie and supported their family through the grieving process.

It was during the holiday season that her family decided to take the money usually used on their gift exchange and start a memorial scholarship in Lanning’s name. Since then, that idea came to fruition with collaboration between Lanning’s family and Lincoln High School.

There are no words to describe what losing a loved one feels like, but Annie’s family found all the words they needed to celebrate her life and legacy through this scholarship. They titled the scholarship “All the Words” because her initials are ALL and they wanted to include a reference to her passion for words.

“Annie loved words. She loved to read, she loved to write, she loved words in her teaching and in her parenting. She was a very witty, a very cheeky person,” said Peterson.

“There were opportunities at her funeral and through the grieving process where students were to come forth and talk about different notes that she’d written them or different conversations that they’d have and you’re just like, ‘wow, that’s really powerful,” said Lincoln HS Principal Laura Raeder. “The words this teacher has and allowing this student to think differently or write differently or be a little bit more creative.”

Annie was only at Lincoln for one year, but the impact she had on the school is still felt. It will continue to be felt through this scholarship that will go to a student in the Patriot Post Program, a program that she and her colleague and friend, Tiffany Svennes created.

The Patriot Post provides students with a learning environment tailored to each student involved. Raeder says that Lincoln high school is grateful that Lanning’s family even thought of them even though Lanning was only there for a short time. The family is fundraising for the scholarship and putting together a committee to advertise and look over the scholarships.

“Annie was a light. She was a joy. We desperately miss her and we just want to thank the family for giving us this opportunity to have a structure to remember Annie every year,” expressed Raeder.

The scholarship will be awarded every year until Lanning’s son, Finn, graduates high school. To ensure it can continue, you can donate to the scholarship fund.

From the high school’s press release:

To ensure that this award can continue through Finn’s high school graduation, donations are being accepted through the Annie Lanning Scholarship Fund at Lincoln High School. To donate online, click the following secure payment link: Sioux Falls Lincoln High School | ( select 008 scholarships and specify “Annie Lanning Scholarship Fund” in the memo. You can also send checks to the school at the following address:

Lincoln High School

Attn: Annie Lanning Scholarship

2900 S Cliff Ave

Sioux Falls, SD. 57105