They Are Our Children—-They Are Our Students

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 27 March 2018)

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

This past weekend I was riveted to the news, watching young people from all over the US march for a cause they are passionate about, searching for a way to express their beliefs, and demanding to be heard. The signs they held were barbed, ironic, and just plain funny. Their speeches were thoughtful and delivered from the heart. Yes I realize that not everyone believes in their cause, although no one on either side wants to see children die.  But if we could, for a moment, push political rhetoric aside, what we would see are amazing children and young adults participating in the wider community. What I saw made me proud to be a parent and an educator.

And what I saw was another movement, in the summer of 1963, where Americans from all over the US marched for a cause they were passionate about. In fact, much like our children today, their very lives depended on it. Unfortunately, the passage of time has condensed that march to a single speech, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. And no disrespect to Dr. King, but history has forgotten the hundreds of thousands of young black Americans who demanded their civil rights and freedom on that day, on the days to follow, and still today. Although the causes are very different, the marchers on Saturday are much like those who stood in solidarity 55 years ago. Like their historical brethren they are enduring discrimination and hatred not just for their cause and but for who they are.  And who they are, are beautiful, talented, articulate, flawed, mature and immature, complex, nuanced, and incredibly important members of our society. They are our children, our students, our friends, our loved ones, and our future. Our community is strengthened by their activism as opposed to the people who sit back and hate.

Let us pray:

Dear God,

Help us to come together to stop the gun violence in our communities that kills so many of our young people.

Help us to see how our perceived cultural norms alienate so many.

Help us to understand the pain of mental disease.

Help us to celebrate those who actively participate in their communities and show passion for social justice.

Help us to put aside our differences and come together to solve real problems.

We ask this in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Kristine Chapman—Social Studies Teacher

“I Am Equal—I Am Equal—I Am Equal”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address and intranet systems for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 27 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

I’ll be reading a poem written by M, called “equality”,

do not talk down on me like I am less of a soul

less of a point of the whole universe observing itself

less of an intelligence than you are; I am

equal, I am equal, I am equal, I am equal

and how long have we been trying to prove it?

 

Let us pray,

Oh Lord you created us in your image and likeness.

Help us create a world where people are not afraid of being who they truly are, no matter where they come from, what they believe in, who they love or the color of their skin; where people are not racially profiled, killed, or mistreated because of their race. But instead let us live in a society of acceptance, peace, and knowledge, where people understand each other and fight for equity to make the world a better place.

Saint John the Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Alejandro Jimenez—Class of 2018

Uplift Our Narratives

(Prayer offered on the Public Address and intranet systems for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 26 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

Given the introduction of these poems throughout the span of this month, I’ve decided to read a piece named “These Poems” by June Jordan.

“These poems

they are things that I do

in the dark

reaching for you

whoever you are

and

are you ready?

 

These words

they are stones in the water

running away

 

These skeletal lines

they are desperate arms for my longing and love.

 

I am a stranger

learning to worship the strangers

around me

 

whoever you are

whoever I may become.”

 

When I first read this poem it struck me as very subtle but also very powerful. Poems are meant to reach out to you and connect you to the poet as if you were next to them while he or she was writing it. A sense of freedom and liberation should come to mind as you hear these prayers or poems because that was their intended purpose. Poems represent the free nature of putting a pencil down to paper without having anyone else to tell you what to write or how to write it.

As Black History Month comes to an end, let us remember that these poems and prayers are calls to freedom from a population that has been historically marginalized for generations. We must uplift their narratives, we must derive lessons from the words they have bestowed onto us. As a society, the only way we can move forward is by looking back and analyzing our own history.

Let us pray,

God, we say thank you for those who shared throughout the course of Black History Month. Let the impact of these poems and prayers remain within the hearts of those at La Salle Academy and let us ensure that the efforts of those who fought for the cultivation of Black History Month have not been done so in vain.

 

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

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Kenny Demola–Class of 2018

A Chance To Chase Our Dreams

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and via the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 16 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

Today I will be reading a poem called,

Harlem

BY Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Let us pray,

For a promising future where we unite as human beings and strive for a community that provides equal opportunity to all regardless of race or socioeconomic status—a community where everyone is entitled to the chance to chase their dreams. Allow those who wish to make a positive impact in our world the opportunity to make their dreams become a reality.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Beah Cyrus–Class of 2018

“I Recognize All of You, Every Creed and Color….”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and via the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

Kendrick Lamar once rapped:

I’m African-American, I’m African

I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village

Pardon my residence

Came from the bottom of mankind

My hair is nappy, my nose is round and wide

In the popular media today there seems to be a line drawn  somewhere; for some people the sky is the limit to be whatever they so choose. While the best way to succeed as a black person more blatantly put by J Cole is:

They tellin’ kids “sell dope, rap or go to NBA,” (in that order)/It’s that sort of thinkin’ that been keepin’ kids chained.

While Childish Gambino once said:

The black experience is black and serious / ‘Cause being black, my experience, is no one hearin’ us / White kids get to wear whatever hat they want / When it comes to black kids one size fits all.

We live in a society where the topics of race and racism are sometimes forgotten, misunderstood or ignored.  With hate crimes, derogatory words and racial profiling becoming an everyday norm, now more than ever it is time to acknowledge the issue. The thing is—your friends and peers sitting right next to you may have faced these issues in their day to day lives and you may not even be aware.  You may live in a blissfully unaware life where race does not affect you. But as once said by Kendrick Lamar:

I recognize all of you, every creed and color…

We gon’ talk about a lot of things that concern you, all of you

Now I don’t care if you

black, white, asian, hispanic

And he has a point, the conversation about racism does not mean that only one race should be concerned and discussing it. Instead we as a community must come together to see how we can strengthen ourselves and keep ideas of hate away.

Let us pray..

As once said by Tupac:  It ain’t easy, being me, will I see the penitentiary, or will I stay free? As time passes by, society begins to realize the black experience is a hard one. May we never forget the sins of the past and that history still affects us today.  Lord, let us realize that we are all equal even though at times it does not seem that way. Let us remember that when the odds are stacked against us there are those who are always there willing to lend a hand.  Let us be judged on our virtues not our color.  Amen.

 Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Dariana Espaillat—Class of 2018

Question for after video: Are you ever conscious of how you act in public because of your race?

“The Eyes However Are The Mirror Of The Soul”

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 13 February 2018—Black History Month)

Let us remember we are in the Holy presence of a Loving God..

In honor of Black History Month at La Salle Academy, I will be reading this poem called “The Laws of Motion” by Nikki Giovanni…

The laws of science teach us a pound of gold weighs as

much as a pound of flour though if dropped from any

undetermined height in their natural state one would

reach bottom and one would fly away

 

Laws of motion tell us an inert object is more difficult to

propel than an object heading in the wrong direction is to

turn around. Motion being energy—inertia—apathy.

Apathy equals hostility. Hostility—violence. Violence

being energy is its own virtue. Laws of motion teach us

 

Black people are no less confused because of our

Blackness than we are diffused because of our

powerlessness. Man we are told is the only animal who

smiles with his lips. The eyes however are the mirror of

the soul

 

The problem with love is not what we feel but what we

wish we felt when we began to feel we should feel

something. Just as publicity is not production: seduction

is not seductive

 

If I could make a wish I’d wish for all the knowledge of all

the world. Black may be beautiful Professor Micheau

says but knowledge is power. Any desirable object is

bought and sold—any neglected object declines in value.

It is against man’s nature to be in either category

 

If white defines Black and good defines evil then men

define women or women scientifically speaking describe

men. If sweet is the opposite of sour and heat the

absence of cold then love is the contradiction of pain and

beauty is in the eye of the beheld

 

Sometimes I want to touch you and be touched in

return. But you think I’m grabbing and I think you’re

shirking and Mama always said to look out for men like

you

 

So I go to the streets with my lips painted red and my

eyes carefully shielded to seduce the world my reluctant

lover

 

And you go to your men slapping fives feeling good

posing as a man because you know as long as you sit

very very still the laws of motion will be in effect

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, as we begin this week please help us all to use the power that we possess individually to wield power together in unity. Let us all get past barriers of ignorance that are blocking our capacity to love, and let us focus on what we all want on the inside, which is peace and community. Help us to do this today, and everyday.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…. forever.

Caroline Akanji–Class of 2018

We Celebrate Our Differences

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 7 February 2018—Black History Month)

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

I will be reading a poem by Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

Let us pray:

God, thank you for making each one of us different. Help us all come together and celebrate each other’s differences: that even though we may not all look or act the same, we were created equally with your love. Make us strong and able to defeat our fears and the people who fear our differences.  May we come together to defeat evil and become one.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Monique DaFonseca–Class of 2019

Still We Rise

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 5 February 2018—Black History Month)

Marie

Mission Statement: Black History Month is a period of time to reflect on and to remember the stories from all the black people that significantly impacted and left an everlasting mark on America. At La Salle, we are striving to celebrate the men and women that shaped the United States; and we are engrossed in learning about the historical figures that have never been introduced in any classroom setting. We celebrate Black History because there are conversations that need to be brought to light and hidden stories that are still in need of being uncovered…

Destiny

STILL I RISE

By: Maya Angelou

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God. The great female African American poet Maya Angelou once said:

 You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirty

But still, like dust, i’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping  in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still i’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops

Weakened by my soulful cries.

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

 

You may shoot me with your words.

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still , like air, i’ll rise.

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from the past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I am a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

 

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Let us pray…  God, may you let us rise as one community that was once rooted in pain. May we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. May we accept everyone for who they are and not for what they look like.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Marie Shabani–Class of 2010 and Destiny Gwann–Class of 2018

Video for after prayer

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month/videos/origins-of-black-history-month

Lasallian Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher—HUMILITY

(Reflections by Two Seniors on Teachers who epitomize the Virtue of Humility–completed for Ms. Naughton’s Senior Religion Class)

humility1342815489_1_image1

Mr._____ embodies humility to me. While at the beginning of my high school career I did not pay too much attention to the virtues of my teachers or the way they acted, I became interested in teaching styles after Mr. _____’s freshman year _____ class, I recognized that all teachers taught in different and unique ways.  However, I never truly recognized the importance of humility until encountering Mr. _____. Contrary to what one might believe after their first or second encounter with Mr. _____, he is, in fact, a very modest and reserved person. While on the outside he may make a louder statement with his clothing selections than anyone in the building and his voice may carry throughout the hallway and pierce every wall on the third floor, he possesses this ability to put the proper education of his students in front of his desire to impose his beliefs upon them. While some may overlook this ability and say that it counts for less than I propose it does, I have learned over the course of my time in school, that a teacher who can put their self and their beliefs on the shelf and teach both sides equally to their students is an incredible asset to have (especially impressive when they are teaching a class that covers topics as controversial as _____ and _____). The way I understand it, teaching is more about the way that students are enabled to think, rather than their ability to carry “correct opinions” with them. In this way, in my opinion Mr. _____ possesses a level of deep humility that very few teachers I have met possess, and I have come out of his classes with a much more well-rounded view of the topics covered, and a greater openness to opposing opinions than I would have otherwise.

 

 

While learning about the third virtue, humility, I immediately thought about Mrs. _____ who is my _____ teacher this year. She is the type of teacher that always thinks of her students before herself. She is extremely flexible and is always willing to change things in order to be more accommodating and fair to her students. She does not allow us to take zeros for an assignment; instead, she just trusts us to complete it at some point within reason. Mrs. _____ always tells us interesting stories about herself so that we can possibly relate to her life. She has never once acted as if she was above us just because she is our teacher; she always makes us feel like equals. I have learned a lot from her about what is means to be a person of humility.

 

THE TWELVE VIRTUES OF A GOOD TEACHER

In 1706, John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, listed twelve virtues of a good teacher in his Conduct of the Christian Schools. In 1785, Brother Agathon, the fifth superior general of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, reissued the list in a much longer letter titled The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher. His letter was widely distributed for many years, and even up until the 1930s, a number of Catholic colleges used it as a text in education classes.   (Saint Mary’s Press)

12 virtues

Lasallian Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher—PATIENCE

(Reflections by Five Seniors on Teachers who epitomize the Virtue of Patience–completed for Ms. Naughton’s Senior Religion Class)

Patience-carved-stone

Mr. _____ is by far the most patient man I have met at La Salle Academy. He was the first teacher I personally knew here, and I wouldn’t have wanted my journey here to start any other way. Mr. _____ was my homeroom teacher and ever since meeting him on my first day of freshman year he became my favorite teacher. Having Mr. _____ there to guide me through freshman year was a blessing. However, I did not quite know how outstanding Mr. _____ truly is until this year’s _____class. Mr. _____ as a person lives the patience virtue. His daily prayers almost always speak of repelling bad decisions and being considerate of others when they are having a rough day. The reason Patience came to mind when choosing a virtue for The Great Lako is actually because he often asks God in his prayers to help him be patient with his students because he realizes how hectic our lives can be at times. He also asks God to help us all be good people and resist evil temptations. Patience is the virtue that makes us overcome all the evils of life.

Mrs. _____, a _____ teacher here at La Salle, displays the virtue of patience in her every day life. Mrs. _____ modeled patience in her classroom when she taught my freshman _____ class. On our first day we were all very nervous; however, she made us all feel comfortable in a calm environment. When we didn’t understand a conjugation she explained it as many times as we needed. When we asked question after question, she did not mind answering over and over again until we understood the lesson. Her patience made for a better learning environment in her classroom. Her virtue of patience also reflected her understanding and acceptance of all of her students of all abilities. Mrs. _____ has always and still demonstrates patience today. Many students are in and out of her room every single day. Many students go into her room either asking for her advice, asking for _____ help, or just to talk. There is never a time where Mrs. _____ is overwhelmed by the number of students in her room looking for help. She is always welcoming and looking to help those in need and is willing to take as much time as needed to better the student.

The first teacher I would like to use as an example is Mr. _____. He is my senior year _____ teacher and I believe he really has the virtue of patience. We have a very rowdy class and he does a really good job staying calm and not losing his cool on anyone. Our class has a tendency to get very out of control and Mr. _____ will just, in a very calm way, try to get everyone to regain themselves.

I played basketball for La Salle freshman and sophomore year and I was lucky enough to have Mrs. _____ as a coach. She is also my dean, so I was very nervous freshman year when I found out my coach and dean were the same person. It did not take me long at all to realize what a great person she really is, and how dedicated she is with everything she does. She holds the virtue of patience. She always knew the right thing to say, and was patient with all of us even when we were not doing our best or giving her attitude. She was so dedicated to coaching and had great expectations for all of us. An example of her being patient with us was when we were playing in the state championship. We were playing Westerly and were up by a few points with about 5 minutes left in the game. For some reason we could not keep the lead, and we ended up losing by one point. It was a horrible feeling, but Mrs. _____ was never mad at us for losing and she always stayed patient with us because she knew we tried out best. She was the greatest coach because she always had endurance even with so many things going on in her life, like being a mom, wife, dean, coach, and much more.

The sixth virtue, patience, is a virtue I think many people struggle with in life. Mrs. _____, who was my _____ teacher sophomore year, possesses this virtue effortlessly. _____ is a subject that is very difficult to teach because of the fact that many students struggle with it. I think it takes a lot of effort and repetition in order for students to understand many _____ concepts. Mrs. ______ was the best _____teacher I ever had and I think it is because of the patience she had with me and the class as a whole. Whenever someone didn’t understand something, instead of getting frustrated she would take a step back and explain it again. She never got aggravated with her students even when we were not as focused as we should have been. I cannot even count the many mornings she was there for me to help me with something that was so simple for her to do but extremely difficult for me. She would always try to find different ways to explain things so that I would understand. There was one instance where I blanked out during a quiz and became extremely frustrated. Instead of making me hand the quiz in blank at the end of the class, she allowed me to come back after school and finish it. I think that I received an A in that class because of how patient Mrs. _____ was in her teachings and with me personally.

THE TWELVE VIRTUES OF A GOOD TEACHER

In 1706, John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, listed twelve virtues of a good teacher in his Conduct of the Christian Schools. In 1785, Brother Agathon, the fifth superior general of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, reissued the list in a much longer letter titled The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher. His letter was widely distributed for many years, and even up until the 1930s, a number of Catholic colleges used it as a text in education classes.   (Saint Mary’s Press)

12 virtues