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John DeShazier: Stuart Hall School for Boys latest beneficiary of Bensons' generosity

Benson Leadership Field dedicated Friday, Sept. 8

Mr. and Mrs. Benson gift to Stuart Hall School for Boys is the Benson Leadership Field as well as scholarships to graduating 7th graders that exemplify a giving back to school and community on September 8, 2017.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle, the team's Executive Officer, on Friday made Stuart Hall School for Boys the latest beneficiaries of their generosity.

The Bensons were on hand for the dedication and blessing of Benson Leadership Field at the school. The multi-use field is located on the back side of campus, which sits at the corner of Panola Street and Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.

"We're glad we could do this, and in the future maybe we can do some more to keep producing young men like this," Mr. Benson told the students during the outside ceremony, during which the student body sat on the field. "You're our future. Without you, we have no future. You're going to be our leadership, and you've got to think about that. So work hard here at school so that some day, you'll be a leader, too."

Mrs. Benson, the keynote speaker for the occasion, said team executives and staff have sons, or have had sons, attend Stuart Hall.

"The reason for the gift is about building leaders in our community for tomorrow," she said. "Stuart Hall is a school where good boys become great men."

However, the field only was a portion of the donation the Bensons made Friday.

"We are also planning to start a leadership scholarship named after my husband that exemplifies his life of giving back to his community," Mrs. Benson said. "The goal is to identify a graduating student that represents the best he can be, both giving back to the Stuart Hall community and the community in which he lives. That is what my husband, Tom Benson, stands for and Tom is very humbled that Stuart Hall would carry on that legacy."

Michael Hulefeld, president of the Board of Trustees for Stuart Hall, said the gifts were substantial for the school.

"I want to very humbly thank the Bensons for what they've decided to do for Stuart Hall," he said.

"We'd like to thank you on behalf of the faculty, on behalf of the leadership of Stuart Hall. But most importantly, on behalf of the 347 young faces whose lives you're changing through this transformative gift to our school.

"And not just the 347 faces that look at you today, but the next 347 faces that will come through this school, and the next 347 after that, as we continue to strive to meet our mission to develop Catholic leaders and Catholic men for this community. The gift that you've decided to bestow upon us is transformative in nature and we could not be more grateful to you for working with us in the way that you've decided to."

The gift on Friday is the latest in a stream of donations by the Bensons, including gifts in recent years to Tulane University, Ochsner Health Center, Loyola University and Brother Martin High School.

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