At the virtual Alumni State of the School event on October 6, Head of School Marjo Talbott announced this year's Distinguished Alumni Award recipients: Dominique DeLeon ’00 and Catie Lazarus ’94.
This year, Maret’s theme is Telling Our Stories, and it inspired the selection of the 2021award winners. “Everyone has a story whether individual, collective, real, or imagined. This year, we have decided to honor two incredible people who do tell and have told beautiful stories,” Talbott said.
DeLeon, global creative director at Google Creative Works, was honored for his meaningful, award-winning film and television projects and his continued engagement with the Maret community. Talbott described him as “a brilliant and true leader, sensitive to and thoughtful about systemic barriers in the entertainment and art industries.”
In accepting the award, DeLeon admitted to tearing up a bit. “I am happy to give back,” he said. “I remember the first time Mr. Erwin opened up a closet and…there was one of the first mini music-producing software things, and he said, ‘You know, you can use this any time you want.’ And that led me to making music.”
Lazarus, highly successful writer and comedian known for her widely acclaimed talk show, Employee of the Month, was honored posthumously for “her courageous pursuit of truth and laughter.” She passed away on December 13, 2020, in New York City after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
A clip of her work was shown to event attendees, giving them a glimpse into her contagious exuberance and skill as an interviewer. About her show, Lazarus once said, “I wanted to hear from people who, for the most part, love what they do and have carved out a niche for themselves. It wasn’t just about how they broke in, but what they continue to find worth struggling for.” Ben Lazarus ’99 accepted the award for his sister.