Tribute to Louis A. Pharao
Our brother, Lou Pharao passed away in June 2021 from cancer. Lou had been first with the NYPD for 12 years and then another 20 years with DEA before retiring. After retirement, Lou taught for about 18 years at Paul VI Catholic High School first in Fairfax and after it moved out to South Riding. Lou’s former students and their parents are holding a memorial initiative honoring Lou at the new high school and ask that information be shared with the Lodge membership.
Friends of Lou Pharao,
I’m writing to let you know of an initiative started by a group of 17-year-old high school boys…and it doesn’t involve video games, nerf guns, or lacrosse! These boys all had Lou as a teacher at St. Paul VI (PVI) Catholic High School and all of them were devastated by his passing in June 2021. His classes were a highlight of their academic program at PVI, and he helped them navigate the difficulties of COVID, on-line learning, and life. They wanted to do something to honor his memory, support his family, and leave a lasting legacy for years to come.
To them, Lou meant being seen, heard and valued in the classroom. It meant learning about the values of duty, commitment and faithfulness. It meant acquiring knowledge about service and standing up for what is right. It meant seeing leadership in action and reveling in Lou’s contagious positive attitude. In their own words:
“I’ll never forget Mr. Pharao’s passion for teaching, his tough but caring soul. His spirit will forever live on in the PVI community.”
“Mr. Pharao really developed my interest in law enforcement, and now I’m pursuing a career in it. I’m majoring in Criminal Justice, and am an Army ROTC cadet.”
“Mr. Pharao was always there for us…He was someone you trusted and someone you knew was positively impacting your life in more ways than he knew.”
In brainstorming ideas, they decided they’d like to have a special area at the high school to honor Lou’s memory, preferably the walkway that ties together the academic and athletic buildings as Lou had such an impact on both students in the classroom and athletes on the field.
That’s why I’m writing to you today, to share with you the opportunity to be a part of the vision for a lasting legacy on behalf of Lou Pharao, a beloved teacher, mentor and friend. I’m the parent of one of those students blessed to have known and learned from Lou, and since my son is away at college pursuing his dreams as he was inspired by Lou to do, he’s asked me to step in and assist. It’s going to be a challenge to reach the $50,000 mark for this special recognition opportunity, but these boys wanted to go big, inspired no doubt by how Lou lived his life. They’ll be pitching in funds from summer job earnings, but they can’t do it alone. We need your support!
With the blessing of Lou’s wonderful family, I’m hoping you’ll join in this initiative at PVI and donate in a prominent and meaningful way to link Lou Pharao’s name in perpetuity with the life and work of St. Paul VI Catholic High School. He had such a positive impact on the students, both in and out of the classroom with his interactions at every level to include volunteering to drive the athletic bus! His legacy of service speaks volumes for the school and its philosophy, and I look forward to working with you to ensure his name is never forgotten and his dedication to PVI and his students honored.
We have set up a dedicated webpage for Lou’s memorial gift, and gifts can also be mailed to: St. Paul VI Catholic High School, Attn: Lou Pharao Memorial Gift, 42341 Braddock Road, Chantilly, VA 20152. If you’re considering a multi-year pledge, please call 703-352-0925 x1110 or use the pledge link on the webpage.
Deborah C. Pollard
Parent of Aidan Pollard, PVI Class of 2021
PVI is a 501c3, non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Download a pdf copy of this letter here to share with others: PVI letter to Friends of Lou Pharao