Catholic Schools Week (January 27 – February 2) is a time for Lasallian schools to celebrate their Catholic roots and reflect on the innovative, transformative education they provide to students. This year’s theme Catholic Schools Raise the Standards celebrates the constant attention that Catholic educators give to increasing the learning and growth in faith of all students.
Lasallian Education raises the standards even further by offering educational experiences based on the unique, unified qualities that have been transforming lives since 1680:
• Teaching based on the vision and spirituality of Saint John Baptist de La Salle
• Living the Institute’s mission for more than three centuries
• Centering on Catholic values and personal relationships
• Leading with De La Salle Christian Brothers and Lasallian Partners
• Advancing innovations in teaching, technology and scholarship
TAKE ACTION: Get involved in spreading the good news about Catholic education through a letter writing campaign to members of the 113th Congress sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).
Brother Robert Schieler, General Councilor, and Dr. Maggie McCarty, Executive Director of the Office of Lasallian Education, encourage Lasallian schools to celebrate Catholic Schools Week by focusing on the how they carry out the mission of St. John Baptist de La Salle. Together, they share this message:
“At Lasallian schools we remember that we are in the holy presence of God. We get to know students as individuals and meet their specific needs. We touch hearts, stimulate minds and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service to society and the Church. Catholic Schools Week is the perfect time to reflect upon our mission to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor. Not only is it a chance to celebrate the success of our students, it is also a time to look ahead and strive to develop new ways to reach students through advancements in teaching, technology and scholarship.”
The Lasallian educational mission provides transformative experiences that are innovative and holistic. This is exemplified by Lasallian alumni who share how their Lasallian experience changed their lives.
Helias Catholic High School
Jefferson City, MO
Celina Aur grew up in a Lasallian household. Her father and current Helias president Didier Aur has been serving in Lasallian schools since 1976. Celina participated in service trips while in high school working with inner city kids and disadvantaged adults, along with building homes for Habitat for Humanity. The 2012 graduate is currently serving for one year at Fazenda do Natal in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil for Heart’s Home, a Catholic missionary organization. Her duties include caring for children in need and visiting underprivileged adults. Celina followed in the footsteps of her brother, Jonathan (Helias ’10), who also served in Brazil. She will have a chance to inspire 13 current students when Didier and Jonathan lead them on a mission trip to Brazil in June. “Helias has provided me with a multitude of service opportunities. These opportunities have created a motivation in me to do something greater than myself. That is where I was led to doing mission work,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have been surrounded by such a spiritually rooted community at Helias.”
De La Salle High School
District of San Francisco
Aaron Taylor entered De La Salle High School as a 15-year-old kid heading in the wrong direction—a “D” and “F” student who was drinking and doing drugs. At the urging of his mother to enroll in a school that offered structure, morals and values, Taylor found himself at De La Salle. He has called the school the answer to prayers he didn’t even realize he had at the time. After graduating in 1990, he went on to become a two-time All-American football player from the University of Notre Dame, a member of the 1997 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl victory team, and a football analyst on CBS Sports Network. He credits his time at De La Salle with putting him on the right path in life. “Its teachers taught me how to learn. Coaches taught me how to be a champion through my actions, regardless of the field of play. Its parents taught me how to accept love, and its students taught me that I wasn’t an only child after all,” he said.
Current students are living experiences similar to these alumni. They realize their educational journeys at Lasallian schools are different and they are changed. Students in the New Orleans-Santa Fe District shared why they feel Lasallian schools are unique.
“I think the trait that distinguishes a Lasallian school from any other Catholic school is the feeling of the passion and purpose behind the education that you are receiving. At many schools, students go to school every day simply because they have to. At De La Salle, students go to school to serve others, make a difference, and to become the leaders of tomorrow. Waking up early every day to go to a Lasallian school is easy because you know the purpose of your education.”
– Aaron Wiseman, senior, De La Salle High School, New Orleans, LA
“In Lasallian schools, the emphasis is not only on faith but also community. There’s a sense of belonging, of home, and it’s comforting to know that we all have a second family full of the people we share so many things with.”
– Hallie M., sophomore, Mullen High School, Denver, CO
“Personal connection with teachers allows students to receive special attention whenever necessary. State-of-the-art technology introduces students to the modern business setting. This and many other factors make the Lasallian educational experience one that may never be duplicated.”
– Taylor Tebbe, senior, De La Salle High School, New Orleans, LA
“Lasallian schools focus on the dignity of each person, and recognize that students can grow their faith through learning. We show our care for our community by living out our core principles and seeing one another through eyes of faith.”
– Lucy Koch, senior, Mullen High School, Denver, CO
Parents of Lasallian students also understand the value of the education their children receive. Mailee Khang wrote about how important an education at The San Miguel School of Providence is for her three sons. Cole and Debbie Sisung wrote about the impact of the education their sons receive at Christian Brothers School in New Orleans.
The importance of their involvement in the Lasallian mission is not lost on educators. They realize that each day they step into their classroom is a chance for them to touch hearts and change lives. Diahann Larson, Director of Lasallian Ministry at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, NM, compiled this reflection on the impact of the Lasallian mission.