Brother Martin Celebrates Social Justice Liturgy, Welcomes Special Guest Mrs. Gayle Benson

Social Justice Liturgy and Award Ceremony

The Brother Martin community gathered this morning to celebrate our social justice liturgy...

This morning, our entire Brother Martin school community gathered to participate in a beautiful liturgy and social justice award assembly. There, we honored those in our community who have modeled what it means to be a Crusader for social justice, remembering those people who have given us the perfect model to live a selfless life. Such model Crusaders for social justice for our community of faith have been Father André Coindre, Brother Collin Dugas, S.C., and Mrs. Judy Stewart.

After the liturgy, Brother Martin President, Mr. Greg Rando '77, congratulated Mr. Johnny Ray Smith on his 40 years of service to Brother Martin High School.

Mr. Rando spoke about Mr. Johnny Ray Smith's time working at Brother Martin: "This morning we recognize one staff member who has been helping us carry out our mission for 40 years, Mr. Johnny Ray Smith. Mr. Johnny Ray currently serves as Brother Martin High School Custodial Supervisor and has been a fixture on our campus. With a calm demeanor and reliable presence, Johnny Ray works tirelessly to ensure, quite literally, that we are all able to come to this school on a daily basis and experience the clean and orderly environment that is conducive to promoting self-discipline and a positive learning environment, essential aspects of our holistic approach to education. For forty years, Mr. Johnny Ray has always held our students and his colleagues to the highest standard, and as a true Partner in Mission, he starts the measure of that standard with himself."

The 2021-2022 recipients of the Bro. Collin Dugas and Judy Stewart Social Justice Awards are: Mr. Michael Lynn '04, Dwight Alexander '22, Elijah Williams '22, and Andrew Biehl '22.

Congratulations to Mr. Lynn, Dwight, Elijah, and Andrew for earning these prestigious honors! We would like to thank all those in the Brother Martin family who have helped make this celebration so special.

2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy
2022 Brother Martin Social Justice Liturgy

We Offer Our Thanks to Mrs. and Mr. Benson

After the liturgy, we thanked our very special guest, Mrs. Gayle Benson, for her generous support of our school. Then, Mr. Rando remarked on the ties between Mr. Benson and Brother Martin High School.

"Young Thomas Benson and his brother were walking home from school one day in the early 1940s, and their route home took them past St. Aloysius High School on the corner of Rampart and Esplanade. The two boys peered at the buildings and students beyond the iron fence, and their stares were met with the eyes of Brother Martin Hernandez, the man whose name survives today here on Elysian Fields Avenue. According to lore, Brother Martin asked the two young men about their education and about why they were enrolled at another school and not at St. Aloysius. Young Tom Benson told Brother Martin that their parents could not afford the Catholic school tuition. Brother Martin invited the two students into the school and began a conversation with the boys and their parents that led to their enrolling at St. Aloysius, helping them pay the tuition that they could not afford." Years later, Mr. Benson would provide "a generous gift to Brother Martin of $10 million dollars - to make sure our school is financially secure for years to come and that the presence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart’s educational tradition would never fade here in our city." In doing so, the generous heart of Mr. Benson has modled that very same kindness and compassion of Brother Martin himself, and we know this act of selflessness will ripple through the lives of our Crusaders and stir within them the very same spark of love.

After these remarks, we played a video meant to honor the Bensons and show them our gratitude (this video's link can be found on this page, below). Brother Martin President, Mr. Greg Rando '77, Mr. Ryan Gallagher '00, our Principal, Mr. John Devlin, the Executive Director of Schools for the United States Province of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, and Mr. Kenny Spellman '84, Advancement and Alumni Director, then thanked and presented an award to Mrs. Gayle Benson:

"Our special guest today, Mrs. Gayle Benson, continues her husband’s legacy. As you probably know, she has made support of our city and many of its Catholic institutions the focus of her philanthropy - there is no better example of generosity and service than the Benson family. New Orleans has been and is being transformed for the good because of their vision and gratitude. Mrs. Benson, please accept this award, which is a replica of an award named after you and your husband, the Tom and Gayle Benson Award, which will be presented at graduation beginning this year and for each year forward to one senior who exemplifies qualities close to the heart of the Benson family, including an authentic appreciation for the value of education, exemplary academic progress, and a love of learning, all underscored by a strong work ethic and Christian values."

We are so grateful for all the wonderful ways Mr. Tom Benson '44 and his wife, Mrs. Gayle Benson, have blessed our community.

Thank you, Mrs. Benson, for being a role model of faith, courage, kindness, and love in continuing your philanthropic mission for the betterment of our community.

2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson
2022-02-24 BMHS Thanks Mrs. Benson

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