Former NYC Police Dept Commissioner Ray Kelly, wife Veronica Kellly and NY State Assembly Woman Rebecca Seawright were among those who came to support La Salle Academy and its new President, Brother Thomas P Casey, FSC, at a reception hosted by Joan Hope MacNaughton and Ismini Scouras on Thursday, December 12.
Founded in 1848 to serve the immigrant population of the East Village, La Salle is part of The Brothers of the Christian Schools, who run schools and educational apostolates worldwide. La Salle is their oldest, and although technically a private school, it is a 501©(3) organization, because 90 percent of its students are on some form of scholarship.
“Our mission is to provide a human and Christian education to young people, especially to those most in need,” Brother Thomas told us. “This particular institution finesses it and focuses on secondary education with a college preparatory program.” Students can also take classes for college credit, including special partnerships with St. John’s University and St. Francis College. Most will be the first in their families to attend college. “It’s a big challenge,” he continued, “because the cost of educating the kids is more than these parents can cover. It’s the American story: they came here as immigrants looking to get something better for the next generation. They are investing in their sons, paying something, but, for many, the total price of tuition is out of reach.”
When he arrived in July, Brother Thomas took a survey, and found there were 43 different homelands represented in the school. “So,” he told us, “the fidelity to mission has been sustained through these many, many decades.”
Commissioner Kelly is also a product of Catholic private schools. He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and holds a J.D. from the St. John’s University School of Law. “I remember when I was going to high school, this school was on Second Avenue,” he told Hamptons.com. “The neighborhood was much obviously different than now. It’s been challenging. But the dedication of the teachers has always been its hallmark, because it was a tough place to go to school.”
Kelly’s wife, Veronica, brought him to the event. Veronica met Joan MacNaughton and Rebecca Seawright when Veronica co-founded The September Concert in 2002, to perform annually in different New York parks and venues. “The idea was to spread music in the air all over the world on 9/11,” MacNaughton told us. Kelly was looking for strong women to support her. “Rebecca was the Chairman of the Feminist Press and brought me in,” MacNaughton continued. “I’m a dancer and the Founder and Artistic Director for Leggz Ltd. in Long Island. We present The Nutcracker ballet, with the symphony orchestra at the Madison Theater in Rockville Centre every year. I bring in principal dancers from the New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, and other companies. And I’m still teaching.”
La Salle Academy will hold its 29th Annual Spring Gala, May 7, 2020, at the Pierre. For more information: www.lasalleacademy.org.