Lasallians reunited in person for the 48th annual Huether Lasallian Conference, themed “Compassionate Dialogue and Courageous Conversations: Pathways to Equity and Belonging,” in Baltimore, Maryland.
“It makes the mission feel so much more alive for me,” said Mike Foley, campus minister at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York, about being back together with Lasallians from around the Region. “Obviously, in each ministry we’re doing what we need to do but to hear the stories from different people, especially from the entire Region, I just feel so much more alive with that. And then with almost half the group here being first-timers, that’s exciting, and I think it’s really hopeful for our mission.”
Kyle McConnell, a second-year teacher at Christian Brothers School in New Orleans, Louisiana, was one of those first-time attendees.
“It’s very cool hearing a lot of different perspectives and journeys about what teaching in a Lasallian school looks like in Minneapolis or Portland or anywhere else. Hearing some of those things are similar, some of those things are different,” said McConnell, who began his Huether experience by attending the social for first-time attendees that was held right before the opening session.
Nearly 200 attendees gathered for the opening session on Thursday, November 18, 2021, which started with prayer and featured a keynote address by Ken Shelton with Elevate Education on building an inclusive and mindful culture.
“It made think about three words: capacity, empathy and communication,” said Alicia Tapia, director of library services at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. “The bit in the beginning about self-care, you can’t be empathic until you have taken care of yourself and you have the capacity to even listen, and then communication being a key part, truly listening and knowing what to say or admitting you don’t know what to say.”
“What stood out to me in the context of compassion, capacity and understanding is recognizing that we are not the students’ saviors,” said Carlisha Washington, director of student support services and college advisor at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. “That’s something that guides my work, especially working with students who are under-represented or come from challenging backgrounds, is that I’m here to work with you and for you and problem-solve with you but we cannot solve their problems. That’s doing them a disservice.”
The opening session ended by honoring Roxanne Eubank, Ed.D., and Mary Catherine Fox, AFSC, Ph.D., with the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award and honoring this year’s Distinguished Lasallians Educators (DLE), Michael O’Toole, Travis Wiggins and Dr. Mary Wilby from the District of Eastern North America; Denis de Villers and Brother André Dubuc, FSC, from the District of Francophone Canada; Melissa Livermore and Chris Wood from the Midwest District; and Cathy Molinelli from the District of San Francisco New Orleans.
The evening concluded with a social and reception for the Johnston and DLE honorees featuring music by the jazz ensemble from Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore.
Friday’s sessions will include a session by Shelton focused on problem-based learning and the design-thinking process. Friday will also introduce thought partners sessions and provide opportunities for participants to gather by District.