For the past five years, Lasallian Notes has featured an article entitled “Face of the Fund” highlighting recipients of the St. John Baptist de La Salle Fund, which seeks to make a Lasallian Catholic education possible for youths who would otherwise not be able to afford it. We had a chance to catch up with three previously featured students. Each is a living example that Lasallian education imparts values and morals in students that last long beyond the hallways, and continue to develop years after graduation.
You may ask what happens when these recipients leave the halls of these institutions. What will they do with all that this Lasallian education has instilled in them? Let’s take a look!
Manny Ortiz, Nasir Haqq, and Bianca Perry are all graduates of Lasallian schools, recipients of tuition assistance from the St. John Baptist de La Salle Fund, and current young adults who are answering calls from God where they are making an impact guided by Lasallian values.
Manuel (Manny) Ortiz is now a 30-year-old whose career path has led him back to two of his alma maters, first to San Miguel School Providence, where he was the Director of Graduate Support, and currently La Salle Academy Providence, where he is a physics teacher. He says that his Lasallian education “empowered us as students to look at the bigger picture and figure out how you will pass on your Lasallian education to those who follow.”
Manny Ortiz with some of his students at San Miguel School Providence RI
Manny commented that the elements of community service and a commitment to peace and equality were his biggest takeaways from his Lasallian education. He is living out these values through his teaching career, and his community service efforts helping Providence youth to understand their options after high school. In his free time, Ortiz is currently using his Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate to collaborate with the Rhode Island Department of Health to reduce the health inequality in Rhode Island that has become evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ortiz shared, “I am grateful for not only the De La Salle Fund Scholarship but also all of the help I have received from so many people from the Lasallian community.”
Nasir Haqq attended La Salle Academy, then West Catholic Preparatory High School, both in Philadelphia PA. Nasir is now a 23-year-old and a courageous defender of his fellow man—living out the values he learned through active duty with the United States Marine Corps. He credits La Salle Academy and West Catholic with teaching him structure, discipline, and a sense of responsibility for others, that helped lead him to military service.
He is excited to be transitioning his career to national security, as he was recently offered a job at the Pentagon as a Logistics Specialist.
Nasir Haqq graduated West Catholic Prep in Philadelphia and entered the US Marine Corps
Nasir recalls, “I remember getting a letter that I was going to be removed because my tuition was not getting paid. I started thinking about enrolling in public school, which would not have been a good path for me. Without the opportunity this financial aid gave me, I would not be where I am today.”
Bianca Perry graduated La Salle University and now attends St. Thomas University School of Law
Bianca Perry, now 29 years old, is working to pay forward the kindness and support that she received as a Lasallian student and volunteer, and break the cycle of poverty. During high school at La Salle Academy Providence, the Lasallian community helped her locate accommodations that kept her from living in a van and homeless shelters. These same Lasallian educators also obtained tuition aid from the St. John Baptist de La Salle Fund which allowed her to continue attending the school. After then attending La Salle University, she joined the Lasallian Volunteers program, where she lived a community life while teaching at La Salle Middle School in St. Louis MO.
Bianca shares, “I believe it is a great duty to give back to those in need. I will always be grateful for what the Lasallian community has done for me.” Perry is putting her words into action. Two years ago, she took over temporary guardianship of her 11-year-old niece. Bianca is proud to report that her niece is currently thriving, after dealing with severe behavioral issues from the trauma of poverty and homelessness. “I feel blessed that I am able to implement what they have done for me and pass it down to make a difference for others as well.” While taking care of her niece, Perry is currently living in Miami FL, studying law in her second year at St. Thomas University School of Law, and working as a contact tracer at a COVID-19 testing site.
Through taking a glimpse at these three Lasallian educated scholars, it is clear that Jesus lives in their hearts … forever! So too do the values of a Lasallian education.
With your support, The St. John Baptist de La Salle Fund is now providing $845,000 annually for our students like Manny, Nasir, and Bianca. Please consider making a lasting impact on a student’s education and beyond through providing the opportunity to receive a Lasallian education. To get involved or with questions, contact Patrick Donahue at (732) 380-7926 x112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.