LSMSA Alumni Establish First-Ever Award of its Kind with $50,000 Investment
Peter Marzullo (‘94) and Thao Nguyen (‘94) are investing $50,000 to create the LSMSA Foundation’s first endowed student award of its kind, the Excelsior Award.
The Excelsior Award will assist a deserving LSMSA graduating senior. The first recipient will be announced at the school’s Senior Recognition ceremony in 2024, aligning with the couple’s 30th high school reunion.
Endowments are unique in that they allow gifts to have a lasting impact on LSMSA students for generations to come. The school’s only other endowment was established by an alumni grandparent’s generous $100,000 contribution to the Student Enrichment Fund in 2014. All LSMSA students are eligible to apply for financial assistance while at LSMSA, but the Excelsior Award is the first endowment designed to help seniors continue to excel after they have graduated.
“LSMSA students are undoubtedly eligible for many academic scholarships, but sometimes additional support with other expenses can propel you forward in a way that can really make a difference,” said Peter. “That’s one reason we want to ensure that recipients are well-rounded. In essence, we’re investing in these graduates to continue down their path to excellence.”
“We cannot express enough how grateful we are to the Nguyen-Marzullo family for supporting LSMSA Eagles for generations to come in such a meaningful way,” said Dr. Steve Horton, Executive Director of LSMSA. “I fully expect the Excelsior Award to allow many future alumni to comfortably attend their dream schools, and undoubtedly go on to make a greater impact on the world.”
Recipients of the Excelsior Award will be LSMSA seniors who have demonstrated excellence in student and community leadership. When choosing the award’s name, the couple wanted to inspire the LSMSA graduate to pursue a life “ever upward,” which is the Latin translation of “excelsior.” Peter and Thao also appreciated that “ever upward” was a motto often used by the late acclaimed comic book writer, editor, publisher, and producer Stan Lee.
“Louisiana School has given us so much, and we are thrilled to be able to make a lasting contribution,” said Thao, whose own parents immigrated from Vietnam and struggled to assist with secondary living expenses while she attended Boston University. “If it weren’t for LSMSA, Peter and I likely wouldn’t have met. We would not have our amazing daughter Amelie. It’s important for us to help others so we can demonstrate to her the value of investing in community.”
Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) is the preeminent state-supported residential high school with competitive admissions for Louisiana's high-achieving, highly-motivated sophomores, juniors, and seniors. As a public school, there is no tuition to attend, and assistance from the LSMSA Foundation ensures the program is available to all qualifying students regardless of family financial need.