My COVID Story

When I woke up from a two-month coma on May 16th, I had three thoughts: my son, my mother, and La Salle Academy’s commencement ceremony.

Back in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City, I had no idea I would be one of the millions personally affected by the virus. I spent a total of 101 days in the hospital fighting for my life, so to say I am thankful to be alive today is an understatement!

I am incredibly grateful to have made it to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on August 13th to watch La Salle’s Class of 2020 receive their diplomas; a special moment for their families and for me. As the graduates marched down the aisle to exit the Cathedral, I sat in the back to greet them. When I saw Amadou, I was overcome with emotion. I watched Amadou grow from a boy in the third grade to a young man who has excelled both academically and athletically. Amadou truly believed, promoted, and enhanced the brotherhood that has existed at La Salle for more than 172 years. At that moment, I realized that Amadou – and all the young men entrusted to our care – were the ones who gave me the strength to beat the coronavirus. My calling to continue impacting generations of young people was stronger than COVID-19.

Here at La Salle, my colleagues share the same passion. The commitment isn’t a superficial one; it is one that we make from the core of our being and one that truly becomes part of the fabric of our DNA. Collectively, we make decisions and sacrifices that result in what is best for the young men we serve – they are what matters.

Help us to continue to answer the call by making a contribution to the Lasallian Fund this Thanksgiving. You can click here, text LASALLE to 41444 from your cell phone, or send a check made payable to La Salle Academy to 215 E 6th Street, New York, NY 10003, ATTN: Development Office.

As we continue through this tumultuous year, let us all give thanks for what we do have: each other. That is the blessing that is bestowed upon us as we weather the storms of life. Thank you.


Jerome Pannell
Assistant Principal for Student Services