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Victor Pena '16 Benefit Concert

Victor Pena '16 Benefit Concert

For years, Jesuit High School student Carlos Lamoutte ’25 desired to do something to commemorate the life of Victor Pena ’16, who tragically died in a car crash in 2020.

But what? He didn't know.

Lamoutte’s family is very close with the Pena family through their shared connection at Nativity Catholic Church and Nativity Catholic School in Brandon, as well as their Cuban heritage. Lamoutte’s older sister Caroline Lamoutte, now in medical school at the University of Florida, was the same age as Victor Pena. Other siblings, including Gabriel Pena ’17, who was drum major his senior year at Jesuit, are good friends. The families have always been close.

“I always wanted to do something special for the Pena family,” said Lamoutte, who considered Victor Pena to be like a big brother. “I just never knew exactly what that was or could be.”

This fall, Lamoutte, a gifted singer and musician, became part of a band, the Jesuit Boys, comprised of Jesuit students. That’s when the light bulb moment occurred.

“We’ve got the talent here; why not entertain to raise money?” Lamoutte thought. “Once this band was formed, I had the idea that we could do a fundraiser in Victor’s name. So I started brainstorming.”

Lamoutte connected with Jesuit’s director of development, Nick Suszynski ’98, and launched a months-long planning journey. Among the Jesuit staff who assisted Lamoutte along the way were Corey Perich, Richard Miller, Keith Woodard, Sharon Madigan, Austin Freeman, Adrian Quesada, and Nina Wegmann.

Lamoutte kept focused on his goal, and on March 16 he hosted the inaugural Victor Pena ’16 Benefit Concert.

Held at the Antinori Center for the Arts, the event included a silent auction and pre-concert tailgate with food sales to generate funds. The concert inside the Shembekar Auditorium – tickets were $15 in advance, $20 at the door – featured the pop opera Jesuit Trio (Lamoutte, Austin Blewitt ’26, and Juan Amador ’27, plus special guest on violin Santi Ramirez-Betancur '24), who earlier this spring starred at Gaudiosa, as well the Jesuit Boys, the rock-blues-country band comprised of Lamoutte, Jaime Flores-Sanchez ’27, Harry Hanes ’24, Cooper Kasper ’24, and James Slack ’24.

With Pena’s family in attendance, including his parents, Lidia and Victor Pena, along with relatives from Miami and Georgia coming to Tampa for the weekend, the event was a huge success. Members of the Pena family also performed, as did others such as Jesuit music teachers Wegmann and Quesada, and award-winning musicians Ramirez-Betancur '24 and A.J. Brazel ’27. A final act, a large Latin band comprised of the Jesuit Boys along with several of the guest musicians and members of the Lamoutte and Pena families, plus other friends, closed the show for the 200 in attendance.

In the end, they raised nearly $18,000! All proceeds will go toward the newly established Victor Pena '16 Annual Financial Aid Scholarship to Jesuit.

“It is truly inspiring to have a student supporting the mission of the school, supporting our financial aid program in such a significant way,” Suszynski said of Lamoutte. “He put in a tremendous amount of effort. It’s incredible what he was able to do.”

“It was like a Nativity, Jesuit, Academy reunion,” said Lamoutte, whose older sisters, Caroline and Lauren Lamoutte attended the Academy of the Holy Names, as did Angie Pena, Victor’s younger sister. “So many people knew Victor and were able to remember him, and generously gave toward the scholarship in his name.”

Victor Pena had recently graduated from FSU in the fall of 2020 when his vehicle was struck by a truck traveling 81 mph in a 45 mph zone, killing him and another passenger, his FSU fraternity brother Sean Shearman from Fort Myers.

Earlier this year, Fr. Patrick Hough, S.J., who taught at Jesuit when Pena was a student, was among those who were part of a Celebration of Friendship for Pena. And the family supported Lamoutte as he created this special fundraising event in Pena’s memory.

“I’m so happy we were able to do this, and so thankful to everyone who helped make it happen” Lamoutte said. “There were so many people involved who gave of themselves to help support this. I am very, very appreciative.

“It was a great time, and I look forward to doing it again next year.”

Please view photos below, which were provided by Dana Rozance, P '22, '25/Vidaroza Photography.