LSA Scholarship Benefit 2023

On Thursday, May 11th, The Yale Club was abuzz with excitement as La Salle Academy hosted its 31st Annual Scholarship Benefit. The elegant ambiance of the venue provided the perfect backdrop for an evening filled with camaraderie and philanthropic spirit, paying tribute to three outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the La Salle Academy community.

This highly anticipated, sold-out event brought together over 200 guests, all eager to support the school’s Lasallian Catholic mission of providing a rigorous college-preparatory education for students of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The fundraiser proved to be a resounding success raising over $450,000 toward our scholarship fund with an astounding $70,000 collected on the night itself! These funds will directly contribute to tuition assistance, ensuring that deserving students have access to a quality Lasallian education, regardless of their financial circumstances.

The collective efforts and investment of the community have reaffirmed La Salle’s commitment to nurturing young men and empowering the next generation. Jerome Jose, a senior who will continue his studies at Manhattan College, expressed his gratitude for his high school experience during his speech, stating:

“If I was told years ago, I would accomplish all the things I’ve done now, I would have a difficult time believing it! But in the end, I will always continue making the most of what I’m given, and I take great pride in the person I am now and will continue to be: a big brother, a captain, a leader, a Lasallian.”

The success of the evening will have a lasting impact on the lives of deserving students at La Salle Academy, opening doors to opportunities and paving the way for a brighter future.

Candace D. Hammonds accepted a position at La Salle Academy as a School Counselor in 1999. La Salle Academy has a strong connection to her family for well over 100 years. Candace quickly discovered she was a direct descendant of a La Salle Academy graduate, Ralph Anthony Strafella, her great-grandfather on her mother’s side.  After three years at La Salle, Candace was promoted to Director of Guidance.  Soon after, she was elevated to the position of Assistant Principal for Academics.  Two years later Candace was named the first female Principal in the school’s then 160-year history.  Continuing her involvement in the operation of the school she was appointed as La Salle’s Interim President. Today, Candace remains involved as a student sponsor of the Lasallian Patrons Program and a member of La Salle Academy’s Board of Trustees. 

Mauro Lamagna ’56 was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was later accepted as a sophomore at La Salle Academy by a kind and concerned Christian Brother. At La Salle Academy, Lamagna excelled on the junior varsity basketball and varsity baseball teams. Upon graduation, Lamagna attended St. John’s University participating on the baseball team and obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies in 1960. Lamagna was a Social Studies and Earth Science teacher as well as the varsity basketball coach & Director of Guidance from 1960-1968. In 1968, Lamagna became the assistant to Congressman Theodore Kupferman of the 17th District of New York.  Mayor John Lindsay appointed Lamagna to be the Deputy Director of the New York City Firearms Control Board serving from 1970 – 1974. After Lamagna’s term he became the President of Vynatex Inc. Lamagna retired in 2012 and moved from Manhasset to Mt. Sinai in Long Island. Lamagna lives with his wife, Angelina.

Gary J. Zuar ’71 was born and raised in the West Village community of New York City to an Italian American family. After graduating from La Salle, he attended Pace University where he received a BBA in Accounting and attained his CPA certification while on the audit staff of Deloitte (Haskins and Sells). Mr. Zuar worked in the private sector for the next 40 years, exclusively in healthcare. He spent 15 years as the Chief Financial Officer of a major academic medical center in New York City and the last 18 years of his career as the Senior Vice President of Finance at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He retired in 2022 and now lives with his wife Kathleen in Greenport, New York and Charleston, South Carolina.