A powerful speech and excitement for the days ahead kicked off the 40th Huether Lasallian Conference in New Orleans, LA, November 21. A record-setting more than 400 people registered for the conference which features the theme Meaningful Instruction: Living Lasallian Pedagogy.
An opening celebration and prayer officially started the conference with students from three Lasallian schools in Louisiana leading prayer. They represented De La Salle High School in New Orleans, Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, and Saint Paul’s School in Covington. Christian Brothers School in New Orleans, the fourth Lasallian school in Louisiana, will lead the morning prayer on Friday, November 22.
“I’m from the New Orleans-Santa Fe District so we’re just really glad to have everybody down here. The opening was absolutely perfect. The boys did a great job,” said Judy McCarty from Mullen High School in Denver, CO.
Dr. Margaret McCarty, Executive Director of the Office of Lasallian Education, and Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, Visitor of the District of New Orleans-Santa Fe, offered welcoming remarks to Lasallians before general session speaker Jonathan Kozol addressed the crowd with inspirational words.
Kozol is an educator, activist, and National Book Award-winning author of Savage Inequalities, Death at an Early Age, The Shame of the Nation, and Fire in the Ashes, among others. He has been working with children in inner-city schools for nearly 50 years. He told Lasallians the importance of believing in the student as a person; making sure to show love, compassion, and care on a daily basis. He ended his presentation by saying, “Life goes so fast, use it well.”
Educators from De La Salle Middle School at St. Matthew in St. Louis, MO, were especially moved by Kozol’s presentation. Jennifer Tyndall left saying, “At one point I was crying, he definitely got me. I was trying to hold out but he got me in the end.” Amanda Henry said, “I actually became a teacher because I read Savage Inequalities, so when I saw that he was the keynote speaker I was really excited to hear him speak. He mentioned giving kids the opportunity to ask questions, that’s something that sometimes I think we forget to do. We just need to remember to slow down and love them.”
A social ended the opening night as a chance for Lasallians to mingle and celebrate the start of the conference. The next two days are filled with more dynamic speakers and engaging breakout sessions. The conference will come to a close Saturday with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Awards Banquet.