“I feel inspired. Reinvigorated.”
Omar Alegria, a residential manager at Saint Francis – Saint Joseph – Saint Vincent Homes in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, described a feeling mirrored by many participants of the annual Huether Lasallian Conference.
A combination of speakers, breakout sessions and opportunities to build community with Lasallians from all over the country highlighted the 43rd annual gathering, which took place in Chicago November 17-19 with the theme “The Good Samaritan: Confronting New Poverties in the 21st Century.”
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“It’s an event that reminds me that I am part of something bigger,” said Alegria, a second-time Huether attendee. “It gives me energy to go back, get back to work, and hopefully have the effect that this event has on me on my employees, our staff, our program and our community.”
Before the opening of Huether, the more than 80 first-time attendees gathered for a social. Then, Huether kicked off with opening remarks by General Councilor Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, woven together with comments from a panel of educators on their experiences related to the theme. Two keynote speakers addressed participants: Dr. Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO, US Fund for UNICEF, and the Honorable Susan D. Page, who most recently served as the Chargé d’affaires for the United States to the African Union. Christian Brothers Services sponsored Page’s address. Three rounds of breakout sessions Friday provided valuable opportunities to share ideas. Throughout the conference, attendees met with their casas, or small groups, to discuss their experiences.
Huether has inspired first-time attendee Meaghan Osborne, a teacher at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco, California, to bring the conversations she had about new poverties back to her fifth graders and ask them critical questions.
“We explored the story of the Good Samaritan,” said Osborne. “The whole question of, ‘who is my neighbor’ – that is something that we need to ask our students and allow them to explore that. And I think their response is going to be so beautiful. We already engage them in our local community, but I want to bring back this idea that we are part of a global community.”
Brother Ernest Miller, FSC, vice president for mission at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who has attended at least a dozen Huether conferences, hopes the conference experience helps people to inspire change.
“In light of our Huether theme, we must continue to keep our sight, our eyes, on moving towards and engaging in social change and in social transformation,” he said.
This year, 15 Lasallian Volunteers attended Huether, giving them an opportunity to reconnect with each other and meet other educators.
“This is pushing us even further along in our journey, as well as just developing our knowledge of what it really means to be Lasallian,” said Ellie Cash, a Lasallian Volunteer serving at San Miguel School in Washington, D.C. “To get to do that together outside of the context of just Lasallian Volunteers is unbelievably beneficial and just allows us to grow in a completely different way.”
Prior to the start of Huether, nearly 60 advancement professionals gathered for a pre-conference session. Steve Crisman, senior vice president for advancement at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, chaired the pre-conference advancement track, which included a networking reception Wednesday evening sponsored by Lipman Hearne and breakout sessions on Thursday. Read more about the advancement track >
Huether concluded with a banquet honoring the District’s Distinguished Lasallian Educators. Read more about the honorees >
The 2017 Huether Lasallian Conference will take place November 16-18 in Denver, Colorado.