Students from five schools in the District of Eastern North America recently gathered for a Lasallian Youth Leadership Day at La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, PA. Students participated from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, NY, La Salle Academy in New York, NY, Saint John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., and West Philadelphia Catholic High School in Philadelphia, PA. Lasallian Volunteers joined the group for a liturgy and dinner.
Approximately 40 student leaders and potential leaders participated in the day of association, community, faith, and service, along with moderators and Brothers. “The most memorable part of the day was the interacting with other Lasallian Youth students,” said Carlos Buenaflor, a La Salle Academy sophomore. “It showed me that there are many other students there to help and for the same reason that I was there.”
Event organizer Lew Clark, LSCHS Director of Campus Ministry, said the goal was to show students they are part of something larger. “While each of our schools is different, we share the same Lasallian identity which emphasizes faith, service, and community,” he said.
The day began with a welcome address by LSCHS senior Pat Kerr who called the gathering a celebration of their Lasallian identity. “In the image of God, we are about to embark on another day of the mission to living what De La Salle taught us – to share our talents with the world and unite under a common heritage of Lasallian schools,” Pat said in his address.
Focusing on service, students from each school discussed their successful efforts and upcoming projects to share experiences, challenges, ideas, and tips. “I learned that fundraisers and events are more successful if there is competition involved,” said Odile Ta, West Catholic junior. “It makes the whole school have fun and help others at the same time.”
In addition to talking about service, they volunteered as well. They split into three groups and spent time with elderly, helped with renovations and distributed clothes at a ministry that serves the poor, and served meals to the less fortunate.
Lasallian Volunteers (LVs), who were on retreat nearby, joined the group for a liturgy and dinner. Approximately 140 Lasallians attended the liturgy, which the LVs organized. The Young Lasallians and LVs talked about their experiences over dinner.
LV Michael Phipps, Director of Graduate Support at the San Miguel School in Providence, RI and a 2005 graduate of La Salle High School in Yakima, WA, was impressed with the students’ dedication to the mission and social justice. “Their excitement in discussing their day of service was both beautiful and inspirational,” he said. “In thinking back to my own Lasallian Youth days, I couldn’t help but marvel at the pride these students displayed in their work, high schools, and the Lasallian mission.”
Bro. Stephen Markham, who attended the gathering with the LVs, said, “It was awesome to witness the enthusiasm and feel the passion in the room when the Lasallian Volunteers and Lasallian Youth from multiple schools joined to celebrate Eucharist and dinner. It was evident that the youth and the volunteers, as well as the Brothers present, were inspired by the entire event and the sharing of their service experiences.”