CNBC’s anchor Maria Bartiromo (left), First Lady of Florida Columba Bush (center), and Stephen A. Schwarzman (right) with students from the Phoenix Academy of Westchester. Chris, the evening’s student speaker, is pictured second from left.
Prominent business and community leaders turned out in force at Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel to pay homage to business leader and philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman, president and CEO of the Blackstone Group, for his outstanding public service. The gala dinner, held on April 28, 2004 was chaired by James B. Lee, Jr., Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. with CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo acting as toastmaster.
Schwarzman gave a warm and thoughtful acceptance speech, speaking about the importance of family, and commending Phoenix House for their work with troubled teens. “Phoenix House has helped literally thousands of young people turn their lives around,” said Schwarzman. “I am proud to support their work, and grateful that they chose to honor me with their Public Service Award.”
With his sisters looking on proudly, Chris, a 16-year old student at the Phoenix Academy of Westchester spoke about his struggle to escape from a life of substance abuse, vandalism and violence. When he announced that he had been at Phoenix House for one year to the day, Chris received the first of many spontaneous rounds of applause.
“Phoenix House has given me… a new relationship with my family, a better understanding of myself, and self-confidence,” said Chris.