(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 26 May 2016)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
1,691. That is the number of steps it takes to see a Brian Ciccone trade-marked tour of La Salle Academy. I know this because I’ve walked the school 100’s of times this past year, (and once with a pedometer on) showing off the best of what we have to offer to prospective Lasallian students.
And I’ll tell you from experience it isn’t just the building that people are most impressed by when they join me on this journey of 1,691 steps. No, I am confident that La Salle’s appeal, from the first steps to the last, is the people gathered together in this place.
Perhaps it’s where the tour starts at Campus Ministry and Mr. Daly or Ms. Naughton in her sunglasses engage my guests about the good work they lead, the retreats, the service, the Mission trips. It’s just a few short steps from there to the warm morning greeting of Kathy in the cafeteria, as though your own mother was there getting ready for your lunch. Then up the back staircase to the British rapping scientist Mr. Lakeland or Mr. Gray who are always willing to take the time to show off the robots or 3D printer in their classrooms, engaging young minds with humor and fun.
Some 400 steps into the tour we find ourselves in the library where Ms. Trissler may greet Chinese guests in their native tongue, a display of the tolerance, cultural sensitivity, and the brilliance of our school. Through the Auditorium and back down to the first floor it is always a special treat for our guests to bump into Brother Fred or Brother Thomas, a reminder that the Christian Brothers, men of sacrifice, service, faith and a devotion to community are what we are rooted in and what permeates all that we do at La Salle.
Heritage Hall and we’ve reached about step 800 where the people we engage in photos and images, while not physically present, embolden our traditions and legacy. Then into the Middle School where the faculty there grants me complete access to their classrooms. Despite being in the middle of science labs, math problems, Social Studies lectures, or guests in English classes, without hesitation these gracious teachers welcome me into their classrooms so that a young student can look into their possible future.
Down the staircase to the G floor as we begin to close in on the 1200th step passing through the joy of Ms. Hayes’ theater class, the style and sounds of Mr. B’s band room, the talents of Mr. Connor’s artists, the creativity of Ms. Woratzeck’s classrooms, or the gifted work of Ms. Cerros’ film class and WLSA. The future artists of La Salle Academy are hooked instantly.
And for our future athletes, it is into the Field House where they begin to dream of bringing home a state championship trophy for the Rams. Gymnasium filled with teachers playing along side their students—Pickle Ball, handball, volleyball; Ms. Brown bringing students in from the tennis courts; or Ms. Morsilli who always lets me cut in for a quick cha cha, my favorite way to end a tour of nearly 1700 steps.
And throughout, it is you the student body that never fails to impress not just our guests, but me. It’s the middle schoolers’ enthusiasm and curiosity that is so instantly apparent to those from the outside that draws them towards this place of education. The guests sense the connected and active community we are when a student reminds me that International Club is meeting, or the Bee Hive is having an event, or when opening night is for the next show, or when Student Council is decorating for Harvest Ball, or even when the Frisbee guys check that I’ll be available for a few games of “Ultimate” after school. It’s when I’m greeted with my name or a handshake by Civics students having only known me for a short amount of a time, showing the respect in the relationship between students and teachers. Or when former students whom I have watched grow up fill me in on their school year, their World or US History class or their college hunt—here they see the mentor relationship between student and teachers. It’s when Kairos retreatants or Mission Trip students can’t help but to gush about their experience that our guests can feel the mission of our school alive in its students. It’s the fact that the quarterback of the football team or the lead of the most recent show are also the nicest kids in the hallway, no arrogance, no superiority, just a firm sense of togetherness. It is all of you in this community that separate us and elevate us to something that you can’t find in any school in Rhode Island and perhaps any other school in the world.
So, in my final morning reflection of this year, a year of great transition for me, let this be a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude. I praise God for the gift of the Christian Brothers. I give Him thanks for my colleagues and friends whom I boast about unabashedly for their passion in their subject matter, their care for the students, and their love of education. And I have profound gratitude for the students that God has brought to La Salle Academy. You are what make this more than a school building, but a home; more than campus, but a community; more than just students and teachers, but a family. Thank you for making my job just a little bit easier, for filling me with such pride in what we do here together, and for bringing me such joy 1,691 steps per day.
Let us pray,
Dear Lord, Everything I am today is a gift from you and those you have put into my life to support, guide, and love me. Everything I can be tomorrow is my gift to myself. Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever.
Brian Ciccone–Social Studies Teacher and Assistant Director of Admissions