NORTH SMITHFIELD – Members of the school community have come together to honor a middle school principal who died this year, and have already raised $47,000 in his memory.
The John Lahar Scholarship Fund was launched in August through the North Smithfield Education Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established to promote scholarships for North Smithfield students.
Lahar, former principal of North School Middle School, died unexpectedly on July 28 of this year at the age of 48. A Mendon, Mass. resident, Lahar left behind wife Alyssa Lahar, and three sons.
Members of the foundation worked with the family of the late principal to set up the fund, first announced in Lahar’s obituary, with donations accepted in lieu of flowers. Lahar, who was raised in Bellingham, Mass., graduated from Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Providence College and worked as a teacher and principal for more than 25 years.
Lahar led the middle school from the time it opened in 2008, right up until he retired from the district last December to spend time with his family.
“John had a generous spirit and cared deeply about his family, friends, and the students and faculty in North Smithfield,” said Alyssa Lahar. “Our goal after John’s passing was to create something that reflected his character and passion. We are humbled by the generosity of your contributions, allowing John to give back to the community he loved.”
North Smithfield School Committee member William Connell – who volunteers with the foundation independently of his work in the school district – has served as the unofficial coordinator, and noted this week that thanks to generous donations, the group hopes to keep the fund going and award scholarships annually.
“We wanted to thank the community for their support,” Connell said. “This has happened relatively quickly.”
Connell noted that details regarding how the scholarship will be given out are still being developed.
Those with questions, or who would like to donate to the John Lahar Scholarship Fund, can contact Connell at Williamconnell.firstname.lastname@example.org