How Is Your Heart Today?

A Reflection for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday, 23 June 2017)

(The following was a prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, June 4, 2009)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Tomorrow is the First Friday of June.  I am not sure how many of you know that on each First Friday of the month a good number of faculty and staff members sign up to spend time in the Meditation Chapel of Campus Ministry during their free period to pray for the school community.  During the hours of the school day there will always be a person there praying for the rest of us!!  This practice is part of a long tradition in the Catholic Church of perpetual adoration on First Friday—a day dedicated to the Sacred Heart.  Now you might be saying—why are we honoring a part of the body as holy and sacred?  The Sacred Heart is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  You may have seen a statue or a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (maybe in your home or in your grandparents’ home or in your parish church)—often the picture is of Jesus from the waist up with one hand pointing to or touching his heart which is outside of his clothes and is wounded or pierced and surrounded by a crown of thorns.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a reminder of God’s great love for us—“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”—and Jesus’ great love for us—“Greater love than this has no person that one lay down one’s life for a friend.”  And Jesus did lay down his life for us—for each of us—Scripture telling us that after his death on the cross one of the Roman soldiers pierced his side with a lance, pierced his heart to make sure he was dead, and immediately blood and water flowed out.  Jesus gave his last ounce of blood for us.  It is that heart so filled with love that we remember and honor on First Friday’s and indeed, in a special way, during the month of June which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart (as November is dedicated to the Holy Souls and May is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth).

 

The heart we see depicted in the pictures and statues might look like a Valentine’s Day heart or the cartoon heart that pounds and flutters to depict a budding romance; however, the heart of Jesus is far different from the sentimental, sugary, saccharine sweet heart of commercialism and pop culture.  It is a heart of expansiveness, a heart of courage, a heart wounded but still welcoming.  And it is this heart that we are challenged to make our own.  Each day we Lasallians pray that Jesus live in our hearts forever—we pray that the heart of Jesus come to life in our hearts, that the heart of Jesus become our heart.  Now that is a challenge!!

How expansive, how open is our heart?  Do I welcome the stranger, the outcast, the classmate who is different?  Or am I closed-hearted, letting in only those like me?  Do I allow my heart-strings to be tugged or am I so hard-hearted that I reject anyone or anything that might deeply touch me?  I know that many of you Seniors opened your hearts to those you served in Christian Service.  I know that those of you who went to Jamaica opened your hearts to the young people at Mustard Seed—your reflections clearly indicate that.  Will I, will you, open our hearts today and allow them to be tugged on or will we close them off—make them  hearts of stone, impenetrable, unable to be wounded?

How courageous is our heart?  When the lion in the Wizard of Oz sought a heart he was looking for courage.  Am I willing to stand up for what I believe?  Am I willing to be a leader in my group and put an end to rumors, scandalous talk, bullying, etc.?  Or am I weak-hearted and faint-hearted, afraid to say or do anything that might call attention to me?  Am I lion-hearted and a brave-heart or am I chicken-hearted and a cowardly heart?

How willing am I to allow my heart to be wounded?  A sign that we are alive is that we suffer heartache and even suffer heart-break.  If our heart does not ache after a heart-breaking loss (as last week in the lacrosse or baseball games) or after a poor performance in our school work, then our heart was never in it—it was not important enough.  Heart ache measures the strength that we desire something or want something or love something or someone.  One need only experience the loss of a close family member through death or the loss of a friend through moving away or the loss of someone we love because our paths move in different directions (as will happen over the next week of so with our Seniors and those of us who have come to care deeply for them)—one need only experience that to know that hearts can break and hearts can ache.  Yet, it is in the very woundedness of our hearts that we can become stronger and welcome another dream, another challenge, another person to love.  The heart grows stronger when we live through the wounds that inevitably come in life, when we welcome them as part of life, when we welcome them as gift.

So, how is your heart today? Expansive and open, courageous, willing to be wounded for the sake of something or someone you love dearly?  Will Jesus find in your heart, in my heart, a resting place today for his Sacred Heart?

Let me suggest that tomorrow you make some time to visit the Meditation Chapel of Campus Ministry during part of a free period or during part of lunch.  Be quiet, check your heart beat and see if the Heart of Jesus is beating within you.  Pray for the school community, pray for your classmates, pray for the Seniors who will be experiencing some heart ache, if not heart break, over the next week as they leave a place they have called home to venture into places they do not yet know.  And pray that they have an enjoyable and safe Prom tomorrow night.

 

Let us pray: Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, source of all life and love.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful.  Have mercy on us!  Heart of Jesus, make our hearts like yours—full of life and love, holy and pleasing in God’s sight.  AMEN.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

May the Heart of Jesus live in our hearts…Forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Have Faith in How Far You Can Go

(Student Address delivered at the Commencement Exercises of La Salle Academy on Thursday evening, 8 June 2017)

Your Excellency, Bishop ­­­Evans; Brother Thomas; Mr. Kavanagh; Representatives of the Diocese and the Brothers of the Christian Schools; Members of the Board; Faculty; Alumni; Parents; Guests; and fellow members of the graduating Class of 2017.

Everything we’ve worked for the past four years has led to this very moment. A moment where we take time to reflect on what an incredible journey it has been. It’s a lot to absorb. If it’s too intense, just pause, and think about Mr. McGinn’s basketball skills from beyond the three point line.

It takes a lot of courage to send an email of yourself shooting an air ball to a class of 326 students. But that captures what our dean represents. Humility, humor, and so many other virtues. That’s Mr. McGinn. Someone not afraid to sing karaoke at the Christmas movie night, nor someone afraid to walk around during every lunch and ask if everyone’s “hangin’ in.” He was a dean who, during a class assembly in the theater or the auditorium, could transition so effectively from the crux of a serious message to calling out an unsuspecting student about dress code in the back row. He deserved the video our class made of 100 reasons why we love him. And so with the acknowledgement of one of our strongest mentors, role models, and leaders over the past four years, let’s now move to our class- what this class has done, what this class will do, and what this class’ legacy will be.

Here at La Salle, our mascot is the ram. And I think that the ram is so appropriate to describe our class and our journey. For example, there were times when we butted heads. We butted heads with each other, our teachers, our parents, and even ourselves. But all the hardships we faced were a necessary part of high school. Hardships ranging from growing up, to changing relationships, to resisting an increasingly materialistic culture, to frustration about schoolwork, to difficult losses on the athletic field, to waking up to that same blaring alarm on a cold morning that only an iced coffee from La Salle Bakery could fix.

But after every hardship we faced as a class — we bounced back like the Patriots in the second half of Superbowl 51. The times when we butted heads with each other, our teachers, our parents, and our alarm clocks didn’t stop us from climbing the tallest of mountains. What defined this class was doing more than 8:30 – 2:30 every day. Every single person in this class found something they cared about at the Academy both during and outside of classes…they found a place where they were happiest. This class achieved extraordinary feats in the classroom, was involved in clubs, won countless state championships, put on successful plays, performed in distinguished concerts, showed wild school spirit, and served our community.

As rams, the difficult terrain we navigated didn’t stop us from keeping a resilient sense of humor and positivity. It didn’t stop us from dancing on top of lunch tables, having tailgates before a big game, or just laughing with friends until our stomachs hurt. As seniors, we’ve enjoyed a senior-only parking day, movie nights, a dodgeball tournament, and free Palagis during lunch. And throughout these four years we’ve learned to be comfortable with one another. It’s clear we came a long way since awkwardly singing the La Salle fight song in bright yellow t-shirts with Mr. Finnegan during a sunny freshman orientation.

Every individual in our class is just that-an individual. Over the past four years, we have met and interacted with people who come from unimaginably different backgrounds and cultures. And at La Salle we are encouraged to celebrate that diversity-that diversity of thought, culture, and religion. But paradoxically while we’re all different, while we’re all individuals, we’re also all the same because La Salle is something bigger than all of us individually. As members of the La Salle Academy Class of 2017 we represent the classes that came before us, and pave the way for every class that will come after us. Together, we pay tribute to our identity as a Catholic school which executes the vision of St. John Baptist de La Salle-to unite men and women of diverse backgrounds in the pursuit of faith, service, and community.

Our journey up this mountain of high school allowed us to fulfill the essence of our collective Lasallian mission. Just like rams sacrificed in the Old Testament, we were called over these past four years to be, and continue to be, living sacrifices for those who need us most in our community through our service. As a class we have touched the lives of others in our local community through Lasallian Youth and Christian service, our national community through service trips, and our international Lasallian community through partnership with our sister school in Rongai, Kenya.

The world needs young men and women like us.

And in such tumultuous times, the world needs us more than ever. Today is the day we stop to take in the incredible view we have worked to achieve and to give thanks for each other and every person that helped get us here. As rams we look back at the mountain we just climbed. We remember the beautiful moments when we stayed up long nights talking with a friend, performing in a play, winning a state championship, acing a test we worked for, attending mass together, making a difference for others in our community through service, taking senior privilege, or one of my personal favorites, getting a call the night before a snowstorm at 7 o’clock sharp with a friendly “Good Evening. This is Mr. Kavanagh calling from La Salle Academy.”

But we also remember the less glamorous moments-frantically trying to submit an essay on Google classroom 10 minutes before midnight, cramming late into the night for an exam the next day, or matters more serious like getting in a fight with a close friend, or losing loved ones.

But let’s not be complacent with our achievements, nor dwell on the hardships of the past. We look back, but we also look ahead to the sprawling landscape ahead of us, and marvel at all the other mountains in the distance yet to be explored and conquered. But we won’t just stand here and take in the view. In the words of a beloved teacher at La Salle I’ve had, “Take pride in how far you have come, but likewise have faith in how far you can go.”

Let’s not underestimate ourselves.

No matter where we go after this point- whether we go to college, take a year off, start a business, serve in the military or the Peace Corps, pursue a religious vocation, work to provide for family, whatever we do- Let’s strive to learn more, to achieve more, and to serve more, each and every day. That’s what we’re capable of, and that’s what La Salle calls every one of us to do now and forever.

But I’m not worried about our class- a class that’s been defined by doing whatever it takes to make it happen instead of just taking in the view. So in the same zealous spirit with which we have approached these past four years, congratulations to us, the La Salle Academy Senior Class of 2017.

Alexander P. Philips–Alumnus, Class of 2017

La Salle—Our Family Name

(Welcome Address delivered at the Commencement Exercises of La Salle Academy on Thursday evening, 8 June 2017)

Family and friends of the class of 2017, welcome to La Salle Academy’s 146th graduation ceremony

Let me start of by thanking the amazing faculty and staff at La Salle Academy for giving me the opportunity and ability to stand before all of you today. It is very humbling to be here overlooking a crowd of people who have contributed so much to the last four years at La Salle and all of their loved ones.

For those of you whom I have never personally met, “Hi. I’m Abby Almonte.”

This is one of the first things I say when meeting someone new. You’ve got to start somewhere, and more often than not, it’s with a name.  And I’ve just added one more to the average list of 80,000. Yes that’s right. The average person will meet nearly 80,000 people in their lifetime—80,000 different names, 80,000 different stories.  Yet, how many of these names do people really hear? Do they really remember?

We’ve all got a name, heck some of us even have nicknames. However, every name comes with more than a few syllables. It comes with a reputation attached. Different emotions, associations, memories and reactions stem from each person’s individual nature. The name they’ve made for themselves these past few years through their everyday actions can prove a lot about someone.

It is important to remember people’s names. I will never forget an exercise assigned to my Religion class freshman year. Every student was to pick a word that alliterates with their first name. By the end of the week, we were to have everyone’s names memorized for a quiz. It was my teacher’s way of introducing us to one another. I was lucky enough to sit near Ballin’ Brenden and Jogging Joe–two guys I still talk to today.

There are common names like Jack and Jill.  Then there are the famous names like Beyonce or Madonna. There are names of masterpieces such as “The Quesarito” or “The Big Mac” and then there are names of places,  my personal favorite is the one and only… La Salle Academy.

The name of my school, my home away from home, and the place I am so saddened to be leaving today.

With this name comes emotion so deep, memories so fond and connections so strong, it will be impossible to forget. La Salle is more than just the name of our school, it’s a family name. Similar to any family name, the community here encourages us to wear it well, to wear it respectfully and most importantly to wear it with pride.

In the eighth grade, my parents gave me the choice of which high school I would like to attend. For me, listening and seeing people talk about La Salle with such a positive connotation and perception, it was a “no brainer.” These people were proud of the name they wore, and I have been too since I decided I wanted to be a Ram.

Over the years I have built up quite a large stack of La Salle gear. In fact I have a whole drawer of my Pottery Barn set dedicated to all of the items I’ve collected. I tested a theory that began my sophomore year, when I was convinced my La Salle crew neck was a magnet. No matter where I was, Stop and Shop, a Gwen Stefani concert, the Fort Lauderdale airport, people always seemed to recognize the name written across my chest,  and came to speak to me about their glory days.

They would introduce themselves, tell a story or two and say something along the lines of “Incredible school, that La Salle Academy.” It was then I realized that La Salle has certainly done an unbelievable job not only distinguishing but maintaining our name, our reputation, both being equally important because as mom always says, “It can take a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a few minutes to break one.”

That starts from within. It is the people inside this building tonight who have contributed to La Salle’s name. It is the 146 classes before us who have done their share, and will continue with the thousands of students, families, and faculty members years from now who will do theirs when the time comes.

Anyone who has ever looked in a baby book knows each name has both a meaning and an origin. In terms of origin, this school was founded in 1871. However, the Lasallian mission began with Saint John Baptist de La Salle hundreds of years prior. His main goal was to cultivate and educate the minds of young people with a purpose of service and compassion.

You could interpret La Salle Academy’s name several ways though. For you could argue La Salle represents many things and being Lasallian comes with countless qualities. However, I want to share with you my own personal meaning and interpretation of what it means to TRULY wear the  Lasallian name.

As high school comes to a close, often times you’ll hear people ask a student about their plans for after graduation. “What do you want to do? Where are you going? What are you majoring in?”

Although I have learned endless lessons here, the most powerful one I took out of this school comes from the quote I saw painted on the wall of the cafeteria the day I shadowed. It reads, “Enter to learn, leave to serve.” I studied that wall, and have referenced it daily, promising to be grateful for all that I was about to learn and apply when the time came.

So now that the time has come, and when people ask me what I’m doing next year, I tell them that I’ll be attending Loyola Maryland as a Marketing major. Because well that’s my plan. But you see, it doesn’t really matter what I do or where I go if I don’t take what I learned here AND if I don’t  take the La Salle name with me.

I have come to the realization that the best way to achieve success is to dedicate my life to things that don’t come with a price tag or a degree. It is more important to be open to God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, and always major in, or practice the concept of service with compassion.

These are the things that will truly make us wiser, make us happier and allow us to impact the world.

There is so much potential in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed.. So much exploring to do. From our potential, we have an opportunity, and we need to establish our names.

So think about yourself and your own journey. How have you carried our  Lasallian name from 2013 to today? Our name, La Salle Academy Class of 2017. We did that. We contributed to that name, and today we wear it well.

But when today is over, and the graduation celebrations end, how do you plan to honor the family name, the Lasallian name and most importantly, when all is said and done, how do you want people to remember your own name? Maybe it will be in lights on Broadway, or on the door of an elementary school classroom. Wherever it may be, never forget that your name is yours alone and you have the power to make it anything you would like.

I know many of you are thinking that years from now there will only be a handful of people from high school whose names you will remember. But quite honestly, if you can look back twenty, thirty, even fifty years from now and remember just one friend or one teacher whose name remains influential to you, then  consider that a success. And always remember there’s a man no student here will forget. Saint John Baptist de La Salle—the saint who continually prays for us, the name that we will remember from the place that we will never forget.

Congratulations to everyone here tonight.

The class of 2017, that’s our name.

God bless and welcome to graduation.

Abigail C. Almonte—Alumna, Class of 2017

We Belong to God AND to One Another

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 2 June 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God

Recently, I heard a former professor of mine tell a story from his family that moved and inspired me.  I’d like to share that story with you this morning as our prayer this last official day of classes at the academy this year.

Michael—my professor—had been visiting his elderly mother faithfully and routinely in the nursing home every week for the last year of her life as she struggled with the ravaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.    Two or  three times per week, he would visit with her, help feed her, tell her about his day, and read to her as she dozed off to sleep for the evening.  One night a couple of months before her death, Michael’s mom seemed particularly agitated, disoriented, and anxious.  She wouldn’t eat, she refused to sit with him, and kept asking him to go home.   Not sure how to proceed or what to say, Michael reached for his mom’s hand and asked her, “Do you remember who I am?”   Michael’s mom stood very still and stared at him for a long time.  In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she told him, “I’m sorry, darling.  I don’t know that I could remember your name but I do know that you are someone I loved very much.”

In the Christian tradition, God’s love is referred to as agape—a complete, unconditional, “no holds barred” kind of love.  It does not depend on anything we do or do not do.  Agape is freely given.   And it is that love to which we are called, each day, every day.

As we wrap up the 2016-2017 academic year, I’d like us to consider the most fundamental of all questions—-How well have we loved this year? In a school the size and magnitude of La Salle, it is easy to get lost in the minutiae, in the details.  If you’re like me, the most honest way to answer that question is to say that sometimes I get it right—I act selflessly and give as Jesus would want me to.  But often, I fall short.  I miss the mark.  I rush to judge another, react out of fear or self interest, and count the cost of loving.

Day in and day out, in our classrooms, hallways, athletic fields, locker rooms, theater, cafeteria, and cars—we have opportunities to learn how to give of ourselves bravely and courageously to one another.   In doing so, we learn that we belong to God.  We learn that we belong to one another.

 

Let us pray

Good and gracious God,
We believe that you are present wherever love is.
Help us to remember that we are not called to success.
We are called to be instruments of love and mercy.
Alone and together, in this Lasallian community, may we discern that call daily
So that we may see where and when and how
We can give of ourselves freely, selflessly to one another.
And when everything else fades away, may it be said that we loved one another.

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us

Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!

Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry

“Just Keep Swimming”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 8 June 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

“Fish are friends, not food.” This is a quote from one of the greatest movies of all time, which has taught us some great lessons. And yes, that movie is Finding Nemo.

There are some pretty powerful words in Finding Nemo that convey a greater message. A couple of these include, “When I look at you, I’m home,” and when Dory says, “Trust, it’s what friends do.”

Trust- it’s truly what friends do. It might seem cliche, but trust is the foundation on which friendship is built. Along with trust, mutual love form the pillars of true friendship.

Jesus says the following about friendship in the Gospel of John: “This is my commandment: that you love one another, even as I have loved you. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13: 34-35.

Jesus commands that we love our neighbor- a task that seems rather easy. Being a good friend, student, son, and so on are parts of the way in which I can live out Christ’s command to love my neighbor. But then again, I did talk about my friend behind his back, and copied another friend’s homework because I was too tired to do it last night. Oh, and I also didn’t do the chores at home and neglected to tell my mom that I love her when I left the house this morning.

It happens, though. We are humans and we are prone to make mistakes and sin. But Jesus is calling us to make a conscious effort to avoid gossiping about our friends and to discourage gossip among those we are with. He also calls us to be honest with our friends and family- especially when it is really hard. We will need to do things that we don’t want to do: like chores, or going to work, or doing homework. But wouldn’t our good friend Dory tell us, “when life gets you down do you know what you’ve just gotta do? Just keep swimming.”

Let us pray: O God, source of all goodness, you have blessed us with friends and have given us the commandment that we should love one another. Keep us faithful to your command and keep us mindful of the people with whom we need reconciliation. Help us to grow in friendship with you, who is the greatest example of friendship. We ask all of these things through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

Nathan Ledoux–Alumnus, Class of 2016

Guided by the Holy Spirit

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 25 May 2017)

Good morning La Salle!

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.

Today is Ascension Thursday, the day the Church gathers to commemorate Jesus’ return to His Father 40 days after His Resurrection on Easter. Of all mornings, it may seem particularly confounding that this morning we are being asked to remember that we are “in the holy presence of God.” After all, are we not commemorating Jesus’ return to Heaven? And so, in a way, aren’t we celebrating not God’s presence but his very absence from our lives?

In fact, this was the very fear that Jesus’ disciples faced on Good Friday: Their leader having died, so too, they must have thought, everything that they believed in.

And yet, in the scripture readings at Mass this morning, we will encounter a group of disciples transformed by the Resurrection…disciples not only filled with faith but who were soon willing to go to the ends of the Earth to preach and to die for that faith. And, importantly, we will also hear of Jesus’ promise to send His Holy Spirit upon his disciples…the very “holy presence of God” Whom you and I are asked to recall each morning and each afternoon at the start of prayer.

It was the Holy Spirit Who guided a young Fr. John Baptist de La Salle to shed his comfortable, upper-class life so that he might give himself over entirely to the education of the poor. And fifty years ago, it was the same Spirit Who guided two young men to follow in John Baptist’s footsteps. Their names were Thomas Gerrow and Frederick Mueller. We know them today as Brother Tom and Brother Fred. And for 50 years they have committed their lives to the mission and legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

This morning at Mass, we will have the privilege of witnessing Brother Tom’s and Brother Fred’s renewal of their vows to the Brothers of the Christian Schools. If you happen to see Brother Fred or Brother Tom in the halls today, perhaps you could pass along your congratulations and a ‘thank you’ for their lives of service. But I wonder if the best tribute you and I could pay to them would be to spend 5 minutes in the quiet of prayer asking Jesus how His Spirit is at work in our lives today. And no, He may not be calling us today to make the radical, life-altering commitment exemplified by Brother Tom and Brother Fred. But He may be calling us to say a kind word to a classmate or to a colleague who needs it. And that is a great place to start.

Let us pray.

Jesus, You once said to Your disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.” May we, the community of La Salle, not be so timid as to think that perhaps, when you said this, You did not have us in mind.

St. John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brian Bennett–Religion Teacher

Lasts and Firsts

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday afternoon, 23 May 2017)

Good afternoon.

Let us remember that we are in the presence of a loving God.

Our Senior year, and especially these past few weeks at La Salle Academy, have been filled with lasts: Our last first day of school. Our last Beehive tailgate.  Our last home football game.  Our last theater production.  Our last touchdown, goal, race, or three pointer.  Our last day sitting at lunch with friends.  Our last time hearing, “Good Evening, this is Mr. Kavanagh calling from La Salle Academy.”  Our last run in with Mr. McGinn.  And this, class of 2017, family of 2017, our final school day, together, at the A.

It is overwhelming to dwell on these lasts, and to think that our time at La Salle is ending.  As soon-to-be graduates, it is important that we focus on the firsts we encountered throughout high school and all the memories these accounted for.

Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”

Today we smile because of our firsts: Our first day of school, and experiencing the tradition that is La Salle.  Our first Clash of the Classes, and being introduced to the zeal and energy that exists in this community, the palpable school spirit that permeates our hallways.  Our first time being exposed to the mission of the Lasallian schools and recognizing our call to serve others.  Our first time experiencing the La Salle education, something that is far more extensive than the beautiful campus at 612 Academy Avenue (being part of La Salle means being part of a global community of over 1000 schools in more than 80 countries.  Our staff and administrators are among the 90,000 men and women who minister the La Salle education to the next generation of leaders, innovators, and difference-makers. An integral part of the Lasallian education is exercising a preferential option for the poor.) We smile at the memory of our first day going out on Christian service, anxious, nervous, unaware of the challenges and joys that lie ahead. We smile at the memory of our first day being on a mission trip, the formation of bonds with former strangers and engaging in the worlds of people whom most students only read about. We smile because it happened!

So, on this day of firsts and lasts, ends and beginnings, bitter and sweet, we smile. We smile because it happened.  Because it happened at La Salle. It happened with remarkable teachers and coaches. It happened with the coolest, most compassionate dean of all time. It happened with supportive families who sacrificed for us. It happened with late nights, early mornings, blizzards, hurricanes, and heat-waves.  It happened with laughter.  It happened with stress. It happened with tears.  Nonetheless, it happened.  And for that, we smile.

Let us pray,

Lord, we have been blessed to attend La Salle Academy, a place that has taught us a great deal about how to live compassionately and with zeal.  Help us to use what we have learned in all of our life endeavors, and to look back on our time here with gratitude, with fondness, and with a smile.

God Bless the class of 2017.

God Bless The Academy.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for us!

Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever!

Jack Hogan–Class of 2017

In This Last Minute

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 23 May 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of a loving God.

I’ve been putting off writing this prayer since the day I found out that I was doing it, in the hopes that this day would never actually come. I’ve always been a procrastinator and I’m sure that I will continue to be. I tend to think I have much more time than I actually do, and somewhere along the line I’ll miraculously find a solid amount of time and do whatever it is I have to do.  So naturally, when asked to do prayer on the last day of school, which was a day I wanted to be far far away,  I waited until the very last minute. But it is in this last minute, that I realize what the minute truly means.

Time is a very strange thing. Sometimes it seems like a school day is over in five minutes, other times, maybe more often for most, it seems like it lasts a century. If we get an assignment that’s not due for what seems like a while, we think we have enough time to wait until there’s basically no time left. And now, for Seniors, there really is no time left. The day that we sometimes said could not come fast enough or other times we wished would never catch us is finally here. Personally, I have never been one to truly understand the phrase “It goes by too fast.” Whenever I would hear someone say that, I just never thought that it would be applicable to me. An hour is 60 minutes and a minute is 60 seconds. Time doesn’t go by fast because it simply can’t.  Whenever my parents reminisce and say,  “My high school graduation feels like yesterday,” or “I can remember attending my senior prom,” I tend to look at them a little cock eyed and think to myself, your senior year was most certainly NOT yesterday. But now, after reaching this point and searching behind me to try and find where the time went, I finally understand that time does go by fast. Because here we are!

Juniors, your graduation is in 380 days. Sophomores, yours is in 744 days, and Freshmen, yours is 1,108 days away. For the Freshman, that may seem like eternities away. However, that number in seconds is only worth 18 minutes. If you do the same thing for the Sophomores, that number is only worth 13 minutes. For the Juniors that also feel like their graduation is eternities away, trust me it’s not. We all remember feeling the same way, but somehow we got here. The point is, it seems like you have forever. It seems like your time at La Salle is never going to end. It seems like there will always be another Friday night football game. Like there will always be another Clash. Like there will always be one more day to spend in this building. Until one day, there won’t be. And that’s where all of us Seniors are now. So make sure you appreciate the time you have. Because one day, 16 days from now or 1,108 days from now, you’re going to be wishing that you did.

We are all guilty of counting down until the last days. We are all guilty of wishing for the weekend or for the final bell of the school day. But now, for us Seniors, we’re even MORE guilty of wishing that THIS day never had to end. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment, we forget that this moment is shortly going to become a memory. And soon enough, that it is what all of this will be—a memory. Walking with each other from class to class, cramming in last minute studying in the hallway, laying outside on a nice day during lunch. I finally understand the statement that has so long confused me. Time goes by fast, but it’s not the literal time, the hours or the minutes, that are speeding up. Rather it is that when you love a place so much, it makes it seem as though time stops. So we forget about time, because it is not pertinent to us when we are spending all of our time in a place that has so many opportunities, so much love, and so many of our memories. To the Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors, pay attention to the little things, because now, as all of us are approaching the end of the end, we are realizing that these little things are the big things. And these big things are what make La Salle.

If any of you have spoken to me, you very well know that I can’t go longer than five minutes without making a Disney reference, so in the wise words of Russell Fredricksen from Up, “It might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember most.” Yes, I’ll remember the big stuff and yes, the big stuff was great, but it’s the little stuff that I’m going to want back. I’ll always remember how much everyone was amused by the kiwi spoons I used every day at lunch. I’ll always remember attempting to spend my mornings studying, when in reality I just jammed to Treasure by Bruno Mars. I’ll always remember the outrageous capitalization of all of Mr. McGinn’s emails. I’ll remember a lot of things, and I hope that you all use your time wisely enough to do the same, because time and your life does go by fast. And if you don’t stop and look around once and awhile, you could miss it!

Let us pray.

Lord, help us to not take time for granted. Help us to appreciate the little things, to appreciate the time we have here at La Salle, and to make the most of it. Please watch over the Seniors and continue to guide them as they embark on the next step in their journey. Thank you for this time, these memories, and this adventure.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Allyson Desrosiers–Class of 2017

The Lasallian Labyrinth

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 22 May 2017)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

Every Freshman Spirit Orientation Day, Mr. McGinn teaches incoming freshmen  about the legends of La Salle, saying that if the walls of 612 Academy Ave. could talk, they would tell tales of those who made the most of their experience here at La Salle. Of more practical importance, however, Mr. McGinn guided me on our first official tour of La Salle, teaching me to navigate the Lasallian Labyrinth.  I can imagine that many of us were intimidated by the sheer size of La Salle and wondered how we could possibly find our way each morning.  That day I vowed to take a walk through La Salle each morning until I knew the layout of the school like the back of my hand. To this very day, I continue this tradition and I would like to take you on my daily tour of La Salle this morning.

Each morning, my walk begins just outside of Campus Ministry. It is when I stand outside of Campus Ministry that I am reminded of La Salle’s purpose.  La Salle Academy is surely an excellent institution that prepares students with the skills necessary to succeed in life.  More importantly, however, La Salle teaches us to live lives of service to each other.  It is in Campus Ministry that we recall  “we are in the presence of a loving God” 5,040 times over the course of four years. Photos of students doing good in our local community or on service trips remind us of the incredible acts of charity many of our student body have already participated in, as well as the future philanthropic works in the years to come. Campus Ministry serves as a reminder of our mission at La Salle, and how we have not only nourished our minds with knowledge but have cultivated the seeds of charity.

If one takes a left at the top of the second floor of the Science Building, he or she will  face a magnificently large window overlooking Cimini Stadium, Cronin Fields and the Mac. When one overlooks these facilities it reminds us of the determination La Salle has instilled in us, both on and off the field. High school can be a challenging time, and every one of us has experienced one of the unglamorous nights of cramming for a test or finishing a paper late in the evening.  La Salle precipitates the determination that is necessary for success in the world beyond. The fields remind us of those wonderful memories shared as a community, whether in the Beehive or field.  Those fields remind us of our times together, with “heads held high with one desire” and the collective determination it takes to succeed.

It is almost impossible to walk into La Salle in the morning and not be greeted by a teacher. It is those greetings that remind us of the dedication the faculty and staff have for us, the students of La Salle. The teachers of La Salle have made us into the people we are today. Although there may have been  times during which the coursework seemed overwhelming, they forced us to grow as individuals. Many teachers have been available before or after school to ensure their students’ success, and it is that sacrifice of time and energy that reminds us of the great gratitude that we should have for our teachers. As we walk through the halls each morning we recognize how grateful we are for your service, because through your efforts we have been educated in both mind and spirit.

By now, my tour of La Salle has reached the ground floor. As many of us walk by each and every day we hear music emerging from the band room and we gaze at the magnificent works of art constructed in our studios. Regardless of whether one is able to draw an accurate self portrait or not, I believe that we can all agree that La Salle has made us into more expressive human beings. Perhaps it is because we are just freshman on our first day of school, but through our time here we have matured and become the people we aspired to be. We have been educated at La Salle, not indoctrinated, and it is here that we have become capable of conveying our thoughts and values in our works of art or for many of us, simply  in the discussions we have each day.

By now, there is a crescendo of chatter that has emerged from the building and the silence of early morning develops into excited conversation. As each student enters the building, our building comes alive. Although our teachers are superb and our facilities stately, La Salle would be nothing without its students.  All of us, from the sixth grader at De La Salle to my fellow seniors, have become a central part of the Lasallian community. Seniors in particular have seen themselves develop from timid freshman into empowered seniors ready to face the world beyond.  To every underclassmen, no matter how many years until your graduation you will find this change in yourself as well.  We should be proud of our accomplishments because we have embodied what St. John Baptist de La Salle sought in his students, young men and women who seek to live lives of service to each other.

My daily tour of La Salle ends where my first tour began: at the Hall of Fame. When I was a freshmen it seemed almost impossible to visualize graduation; the finish line seemed simply too distant. Now only 17 days until graduation, I along with the class of 2017 have found ourselves become part of that very legacy.  To the class of 2017—when the last school bell rings tomorrow..Don’t be late.  Our future lies ahead.

Let us pray. We can trace a common heritage here and no matter what walk of life we pursue years from now, we will always remember the lessons we learned both in and out of the classroom.  Today we pray especially for the guides in our lives (in my own life, my first tour guide at La Salle, Mr. McGinn) and all of the faculty and administration here at La Salle. Most especially let us pray for every student at La Salle, no matter where we may be on our journey.  Let us make every morning, even the seemingly most mundane and ordinary, a distinctive memory that will be etched into our minds. When we leave these hallowed halls, let us be sure that, if the walls of 612  Academy Ave. could talk, our legacy will be  remembered by our kindness, our dedication, and our love for this absolutely tremendous community.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

John Larsen–Class of 2017

 

Serendipity AND Choices

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 19 May 2017)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God…

Serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way… I’ve always been fascinated with coincidences, with chance… how one single moment can literally change the rest of your life. Let me give you an example. On March 17th, 1990, Anne Nunes was on a plane ride home. She sat next to a guy with goofy oversized glasses, wearing a Celtics jersey and basketball shorts. His name was James Fleet. And from there, we, meaning my brothers and I, became just a possibility. So, what if my mom was late and missed her flight or what if my dad sat just one row back?  Then I wouldn’t be here. My entire family would cease to exist, all based on the seat number on an airplane ticket. So… what are the odds?

I’m sorry Mr. Pereira, I can’t say that I did any statistical math calculations for this one; some probabilities simply can’t be calculated. But I want everyone to ask themselves this question: What if you had never been in the same home room freshman year as one of your best friends now, would you still be friends with them? Or what if you decided to try out for soccer instead of basketball, would you have sat at a different lunch table, with completely different people? Every choice, every coincidence has brought you to where you are today. Some choices are bigger than others like choosing La Salle or choosing where you want to go to college.  We seniors know how tough that choice is a little too well; but, even the tiniest choices impact our lives, even as small as which way you decide to walk to class. I switched up my route to Spanish this week and it completely changed the faces I saw in the hallway. I saw some juniors that I hadn’t seen in awhile, had different conversations with different people, all because I chose to walk on the second floor rather than the 3rd, one seemingly insignificant choice.

I could tell you that choices and coincidences are all we need in life, but it’d be a lie. In order to truly embrace life it matters how we react. We must be open to experience something or someone new.  Throughout the years at La Salle, as I’ve taken pictures at anything from football games and school dances to Christmas at La Salle, I’ve come to know people I never would have talked to before. Had it not been for photography, there are freshman and sophomores, friends of friends, spike-ball ambassadors, artists, other photographers, that I probably never would have met. Choosing to take pictures at football games was certainly exhausting, especially when I’d have 10 texts before I even got home asking when the pics would be up, but through my lens I came to know so many different people… One single choice brought me to hundreds of people. I never once regretted it because I knew every time I brought my camera somewhere, I would meet someone new as long as I was open to the idea.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, in the people we talk to, the routes we take to class, the lunch tables we sit at. If there is anything I have learned through my experience at La Salle, it is that each and every single person has something to offer, but you will never know what it is until you give them a chance. So open yourself up to new opportunities and people. La Salle has given me more friends than I could have ever imagined, but most importantly it taught me to be open to any opportunity that comes your way. There is always going to be someone new to meet, to have a conversation with; make them feel special too. Try to mix things up a little every once in awhile, even if it’s just going left instead of right, up instead of down or not planning where you sit at the assembly, because let’s be honest we all wait to meet up with friends before we sit down. You never know when one single moment could lead to a lifelong friend or simply a new perspective. I mean, just ask my mom, I’m sure she’ll tell you she didn’t think that 30 years later she’d still be with the goofy guy in seat 27C.

Now, let us pray, dear Lord, thank you for the gift of La Salle – for every new opportunity and experience it has brought us… For every friendship that it has given us. Let us always be open to life’s coincidences, its chance encounters. As we move forward in our lives, whether it is next year here at La Salle or the many places we will spread across the country, let us always remember the value of both a lifelong friendship and a brand new one. Let us always appreciate the people you put into our lives. And let us embrace the serendipity of life.

St. John Baptist de La Salle …. Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts… forever

Izzy Fleet–Class of 2017