Saint Paul’s School in Covington, LA is creatively reaching out to parents through a new Lasallian formation program. The Five Core Meal is modeled from a program the New Orleans-Santa Fe District developed and tested last year with parents from Lasallian schools in Louisiana.
Approximately 40 parent leaders attended the inaugural dinner at Saint Paul’s, which included five courses corresponding with the five Lasallian core principles: appetizers and Faith in the Presence of God, gumbo and Inclusive Community, a bowl of rice and Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, the main course and Quality Education, and dessert and Respect for All Persons.
“The more we can educate people into the Lasallian Mission the more effective we’re going to be,” said Principal Brother Ray Bulliard. “If everybody is on the same page-parents, faculty, alumni, students, administrators, board of trustees-we have a much better chance of accomplishing our goals.”
Parents were seated at tables with people they did not know to encourage new interactions. Before Lasallian Youth Leaders served each course, a Lasallian Partner made a presentation on the principle followed by guided discussion at each table during the course. “The highlight of the night for me was realizing that the faculty of St. Paul’s has such a strong faith and belief in the mission of the school and that they will strive to teach this mission to each student on an individual basis,” said Stacie Hollingsworth, a Mothers Club board member who has two sons at Saint Paul’s.
Bro. Ray said this type of parent involvement raises the bar and shows parents are not only interested in academics, rules, and procedures. “They’re actually getting down to the core reason why we exist and if parents buy into that the kids are going to gain so much from it,” he said.
Mothers Club Vice President and Marching Wolves Boosters Secretary Julie Authement, mother of a current student and a graduate, said the event helped her feel more connected to the school community. “Saint Paul’s has always been such a welcome and open community, and this event helps to expand on that feeling and how blessed our family is to be part of such a great school community,” she said.
Elizabeth Grashoff, a Mothers Club board member, has four sons: a Saint Paul’s graduate, a current student, and two future students. She said the dinner not only brought her closer with her sons and the school community, it also had a bigger impact on her life. “The five core principles are principles that I need to live by all the time and that I need to try to keep in mind when I make decisions about what to do on a daily basis,” she said. “I wish that everyone could experience the Five Core Meal. I wish that everyone could have the opportunity to feel the unity and the bonding that we felt that night.”
The goal of the dinner is to help parents appreciate the breadth and depth of the Lasallian Mission and know what their sons experience at school. Saint Paul’s School plans to host additional meals to reach more parents. Bro. Ray encourages other schools to implement some type of formation program for parents to get them involved in the mission.