Published April 4, 2023
BY MAGGIE JOHNSTON
You may know her as the woman in the window adjacent to the CHS library, or as the woman students go to when they have fees to pay or need to turn in community service, but there is so much more to CHS fiscal and community service manager Diana Vita than meets the eye.
Living on the Big Sur coast, Vita and her husband, Greg, along with their dog, Sophie, live on a farm that is almost entirely self-sufficient. Their vegetable garden, along with chickens, cows and bees allow them to live their life uniquely.
Born and raised on a farm in South Africa, Vita has always had farming in her blood and on her mind.
“My grandparents were dairy farmers and my parents were asparagus farmers,” Vita explains. “Every day I feel very
fortunate to live here and do what I do.”
At the age of 18, young Vita moved to the United States to study food science in college and instantly found work at wineries following her graduation from Cornell University.
Vita worked for various wineries as a manager over the years, but found that the work she was doing was not as fulfilling as she originally wished it to be. In 2007, the mother of two decided to apply for a job at CHS while her youngest was in his sophomore year. Within 48 hours, she had the job.
“Working at a school is just the best thing ever,” Vita says. “I really do like the kids. I find them amazingly entertaining, and I can just come home and play farmer at the end of the day.”
On her farm, Vita has four beehives that she tends to, removing the frames from their hives twice a month in order to extract honey from their honeycombs, collectively producing 25 gallons of honey a year. The extra honey is spun, filtered, jarred and given out as gifts to coworkers and friends alike. Despite its popularity, Vita chooses to not sell it and instead uses it for good in the community.
“I have always kept beekeeping and honey production as a hobby because I do not want the stress of ensuring steady production,” this beekeeper says. “When people ask to buy honey I explain that I don’t sell it, but rather if they make a monetary donation to The Food Bank for Monterey County…I will give them honey.”
This experienced farmer has also organized honey fundraisers, one being the Flowers to Food fundraiser at CMS in 2020 which raised over $3,000 for Monterey’s food bank.
Vita continues to work towards food security in our community with the annual event, Empty Bowls which fights hunger through the sale of ceramic bowls made by CHS students. One must purchase a ticket to indulge in the night of music, dinner and ceramic shopping. All proceeds go to The Food Bank for Monterey County.
Vita works not only as an event planner for this particular project, but she contributes her time to working with students to help them create bowls, rewarding them with community service hours for their efforts. She also coordinates with restaurants to provide a locally sourced, hot dinner for all.
Diana Vita is an essential part of CHS as she manages all fiscal and community service matters of students and is responsible for organizing important events such as Empty Bowls. CHS activities director, Aubrey Powers, explains how the campus would not operate as smoothly without her maintaining order and organization.
“She is such an angel for our campus,” Powers says. “The tasks she does are many and are unknown to most people. I just don’t think that Carmel High School can function without all that she does.”
This year’s Empty Bowls event is April 27 at 5:30 p.m. during the CHS Open House in the upper quad.