Congratulations to the 2013 Distinguished Lasallian Educators and the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award Recipient! The awards were presented Saturday, November 23 at a banquet at Christian Brothers School in New Orleans, LA, held at the conclusion of the Huether Lasallian Conference.
Brother Lawrence Goyette, FSC, executive director at The San Miguel School of Providence in Providence, RI, received The Brother John Johnston, FSC Award for his leadership, teaching, and evangelization that can be seen in his ground-breaking work. This award recognizes Brothers and Lasallian Partners who have endeavored on the international or Regional level over many years to advance the Lasallian mission of providing a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor. It is presented to those whose efforts have borne witness to an abiding faith and zeal, and have had a transformative impact upon the founding story as lived today.
The San Miguel story began with Bro. Lawrence’s vision and belief that every child deserves to hope for the best possible future. Brother Lawrence’s dream for a school to “touch the hearts and minds” of poor children took shape while living in South Providence. Seeing a need for a school that would offer kids in that neighborhood a quality education, The San Miguel School of Providence opened in 1993 and has served as a model for similar Lasallian schools throughout the Region. The school’s impact can be measured in the accomplishments of more than 240 graduates. The Brother Lawrence Goyette, FSC Scholarship Fund was established in 2012, which currently has more than $193,000 to benefit current students and graduates.
Bro. Lawrence called receiving an award in Bro. John’s name very significant since he considered the former Superior General one of his heroes. He recalled a time Bro. John spoke at a gathering of Miguel schools and described the movement as one of the most exciting Lasallian developments that he had witnessed in many years. Bro. Lawrence considered the award to be a recognition of all Miguel school pioneers.
“I have to admit that when I first heard I was receiving the award I immediately went through a list of people who I thought were more deserving than I,” he said. “After that initial reaction I was filled with gratitude. It’s a tremendous honor and I appreciate the recognition very much.”
Each year, educators from the Districts are selected by their ministries and recognized for their exceptional work as leaders among faculty and students. These Distinguished Lasallian Educators receive the award for touching the hearts and minds of their students, often leaving a lasting impression that makes a difference in the world.
The 2013 Distinguished Lasallian Educators:
Brother David Detje, FSC
Mathematics, Science, and Religion Teacher
De La Salle Academy; New York, NY
District of Eastern North America
Brother David Detje, FSC, has been a Brother of the Christian Schools for 59 years. During his life as a Brother he has served as a teacher and administrator at La Salle Academy Providence, Mater Christi High School, Martin de Porres Community Service Center, La Salle Military Academy, and since 1990, he has taught at De La Salle Academy. From 1978 until 1984 he also served as Visitor of the Long Island-New England District. His commitment to quality education through exceptional pedagogy, high academic standards, and brotherly love, has left profound and indelible marks on the hearts and minds of his students over these many years.
“I certainly am very grateful and I’m touched by the whole thing. The kids at De La Salle will tell you that because when they presented the plaque at De La Salle, it was an emotional time for me. I am touched by it.”
Sister Ave Armstrong, SSJ
West Catholic Preparatory High School; Philadelphia, PA
District of Eastern North America
Sister Ave Armstrong, SSJ, has been a Sister of Saint Joseph for nearly 50 years. During her religious life, she has served as a catechist, elementary teacher, and since 1983, as an English teacher at West Catholic. Additional responsibilities have included department chair and moderator for the newspaper, literary magazine, and student council. Her love for her students and her desire that they learn to love learning has been a constant aspect of her vocation. St. La Salle exhorted his Brothers to touch the hearts of their students which is exactly what Sister Ave has been doing for all her teaching years.
“I am humbled by this experience. Teaching at West Catholic for three decades has been a phenomenal time in my life. Since the Christian Brothers have become more involved in West Catholic, the spirit there is stronger, holier, and more family oriented.”
Mrs. Linda Majkrzak
St. John’s College High School; Chevy Chase, D.C.
District of Eastern North America
Mrs. Linda Majkrzak has been a Catholic school teacher and administrator for 34 years, including the last 11 at St. John’s College High School. This year she returned to the classroom as a full-time math teacher after 10 years as the Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs. As a Lasallian Leadership Institute graduate, she has been engaged in the ongoing Lasallian formation of faculty and staff, attesting to her belief in the centrality of the Catholic, Lasallian Mission at St. John’s. Her visionary administrative leadership particularly exemplifies this year’s Huether theme. But most importantly, Linda truly is that older sister to her younger sisters and brothers in all that she does.
“To be honored as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator is a very humbling experience. When I think of all the other folks at my school who work so hard every day, I had to think, ‘Well, why me? What makes me stand out?’ I think I just represent everybody in my school and I’m humbled to be the one chosen.”
Dr. Mary Catherine Fox
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; Winona, MN
Dr. Mary Fox is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She has served Saint Mary’s and the mission of Lasallian education for 24 years. The theme of this year’s Huether Conference is strikingly personified in the person of Dr. Fox. She gives life to the term Lasallian Pedagogy, and touches the hearts and minds of students in ways that matter for them today and forever! Dr. Fox is an inspirational Lasallian educator whose commitment to the mission has touched the lives of so many at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and beyond, and continues to do so.
“I’m very humbled. It means a great deal to me. I’ve been very happy to be such a part of the mission. Mostly, I’m just happy to be able to teach our students, to introduce them to De La Salle, and to watch how they make connections from their own lives to De La Salle’s life.”
Mrs. Jane Schaffer
Archbishop O’Hara High School; Kansas City, MO
Jane Schaffer has served as assistant principal and English teacher at Archbishop O’Hara since 1986. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kansas State University. In 2007, Jane initiated a program for students with special needs. She received the FLAME award from the Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education for her work in the fall of 2013. Jane is a Lasallian Leadership Institute graduate and is extremely dedicated to the Lasallian Mission. Archbishop O’Hara High School is very grateful for the years of service Jane has given to the school and to the mission of St. John Baptist de La Salle.
“Having been in a Lasallian school for 28 years, I couldn’t believe it at first that I was going be recognized. They just kind of surprised me with all of this. I so believe in St. John Baptist de La Salle and everything that he stood for. To me, to be honored is just one of those dreams in my life that I would be chosen for this.”
Ms. Charlene Suter Wetzel
Archbishop Rummel High School; Metairie, LA
District of New Orleans-Santa Fe
Charlene Wetzel will celebrate 25 years at all-boys Archbishop Rummel High School in January 2014. She began her affiliation as a Rummel “Raider” cheerleader in 1980 while she was a student at all-girls Archbishop Chapelle. Charlene continued cheerleading when she joined the Rummel staff in 1984 as a spirit-filled Lasallian educator. She demonstrates a strong commitment to Lasallian education by incorporating the pillars of faith, community, and service into her lessons. Charlene has actively embraced the Lasallian Mission in and out of her science classroom, engaging and encouraging students to see the world of science in their everyday lives.
“It’s completely overwhelming. But then after it sunk in, I realized, this is a celebration for our whole community because we are who we are because of the people we work with. I was fortunate to work with many of the Christian Brothers when they were at our school and then all of my colleagues. This is a celebration for us all. We’re all in this together.”
Loreva is the embodiment of instructional excellence and leadership. She personifies the Lasallian ideal of nurturing mutual respect between mentor and student who genuinely care about each other. A teacher for 29 years, she has been math department chair, a graduate of the Lasallian Leadership Institute, and Lasallian Educator of the Year at La Salle. She has mentored 30 Journey retreats, moderates several student clubs, and spends countless hours cheering from the sidelines when her students compete in athletics or perform on stage. She dedicates her life to authentic learning, including what it means to be a person of faith, compassion, and love (especially of math).
“When I first found out I felt both embarrassed to be singled out because I work with so many teachers who are experts in their craft and ‘warm and fuzzy’ because I felt appreciated and loved. Being recognized gives me an intense pride in Lasallian schools and their mission, a realization I am incredibly blessed to be able to connect my life to such a worthy endeavor, and an overwhelming mix of humility and happiness that my principal, Mr. Andrew Kuffner, and president, Ms. Denise Jones, value the work that I do.”
Dr. Ken Hogarty
Instructor in English and Religious Studies, Counselor, De Paul Scholar Program Director
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory; San Francisco, CA
District of San Francisco
Dr. Ken Hogarty ’66 is living proof of the value of a Lasallian education. As a student at Sacred Heart High School, Hogarty’s relationships with both faculty and fellow students ultimately inspired his passion as an educator. During his 42-year tenure at what is now Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, Hogarty’s students consistently rave about their experience in his classroom, several of them moving on to become teachers themselves. Hogarty models the Lasallian ideal of teacher as big brother by putting students at the forefront of his teaching methodology and by creating a sense of community and trust among his students.
“It’s humbling because it’s all of the people I’ve been with through all the years. I think of all of the kids, the kids that I’ve taught. It’s been such a joy after being principal to be back in the classroom.”