Peace Without Limits

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 21 September 2017–the 1st day of the month-long International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

Let Us Remember We are In the Holy Presence of a Loving God…

Happy First Day of International Lasallian Days for Peace. For those of you who are not familiar, this is a month long peace awareness project that calls upon Lasallian schools worldwide to participate in. As Lasallians, we will be fostering peace in our world through prayer, study, and action beginning today, September 21st (the United Nations – sanctioned International Day of Peace) and ending on October 21st.

This year’s theme is “Peace Without Limits.” What does this mean?

When I think about a tangible thing that does not have a limit, I think of a circle. What about a circle is so special? Well, you cannot find a beginning or an end. There is no fine line where the circle starts or ends. This is what peace should be in our own lives. There should be no border, no boundary, no restriction and no limits.

Personally I find inner peace by creating mandalas, otherwise known as a sacred circle. They allow me to find my center and it truly brings me peace of mind as I allow my creativity to flow.

In cultures around the world, we can see various sacred circles upon which cultures foster their faith. If you look at the floor outside Campus Ministry, you can see a labyrinth, a sacred circle that allows people to walk to find healing, soul assignments, and self- knowledge. Buddhist Monks work days creating sacred circles with sand in which the pray over each grain of sand, to then brush away as a display that nothing remains forever. The Irish culture has the Celtic knot in which no end and no beginning can be found. The Native Americans have dream catchers which they believe have no end and beginning because death is a part of life and a spirit lives on. And there are so many more.

Now it is our turn!! What does La Salle Academy, Providence RI’s sacred circle look like? How do we foster peace right here at 612 Academy Avenue?

Each homeroom has received a brightly colored square with 1/4th of a circle. It will be your job to create part of our La Salle Academy mandala (OUR sacred circle). How do you see Our community fostering peace? What does peace look like to you? What action can WE take as a community to be peacemakers in the world we live in?

Together we are going to collaborate as a Lasallian community to display our values, morals, and mission through a Mandala. Let your creativity juices flow and have fun as a homeroom displaying what your peace of mind looks like.

Let Us Pray,

In the words of Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, the founder of Mustard Seed Community…

“There certainly seems to be a lot of turmoil in our world today. Many people are suffering from the effects of natural disasters and human conflicts; or the fear of terror and violence; of the loneliness of abandonment and displacement. Yet in spite of this, the word of God is alive and active, ever present and always at work through each of us. As we have seen in recent events, we need only to activate the unconditional love of God, already dwelling within us to make a difference in the lives of others. Let us continue to help each other move beyond turmoil to lasting peace, by allowing God’s Word to guide our every thought, word and action.”

“We pray for a peace that will make us whole and transform us into ambassadors of justice for Your sake. Lord, give us Your peace!” (DENA Prayer)

St. John Baptist de La Salle – PRAY FOR US

Live Jesus in Our Hearts – FOREVER!

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister and Young Lasallian

“Christ Has No Body Now But Yours”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 8 September 2017–Help Houston Day)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

 

In the Gospels we read the account of the disciples being tossed about on the stormy lake with Jesus nowhere in sight.  It is dark, the winds are howling, and the disciples cower in fear in the back of their small fishing boat.  All of a sudden they see what they think is a ghost approaching them on the water, and they cry out in even greater terror.  Peter jumps out of the boat to approach this ghost that identifies itself as Jesus; but, as soon as the strong winds buffet Peter he loses his courage, he loses his faith and begins to sink beneath the waves.  Jesus reaches his hands out to him, leads him back to the safety of the boat, and the storm subsides.

Two weeks ago today on the Gulf Coast of Texas a mighty storm, Hurricane Harvey, brought destructive winds, enormous storm surge, and torrential rains to millions of people in Texas and Louisiana.  People cowered in fear on the second floors of their homes as the waters rose; some people ventured to their rooftops, their courage ebbing, yelling for help as their neighborhoods became lakes.  In the midst of this chaos and destruction, Dr. Stephen Kimmel, a pediatric surgeon and a graduate of La Salle Academy (Class of 1981) ventured out in the dark at the height of the storm in a canoe to paddle to a nearby hospital where a 16 year old young man needed emergency surgery.  Dr. Kimmel performed the successful surgery—yes, through his hands holding a paddle and a scalpel, Jesus reached out to that young man and saved him.

Matt Maloney, a La Salle grad (Class of 2005), an all-state athlete, a teacher at Saint Michael’s Academy in Austin, Texas, and the brother of Mrs. Megan Maloney Carey of our faculty, joined with his fellow members of the Texas Search and Rescue Team and went into the face of danger in Port Aransas, Texas, to save people both by amphibious vehicle and by boat—yes, through his strong hands and arms, Jesus reached out and saved many.

Three high school students from Strake Jesuit in Houston, a school much life our own, took their boat through their neighborhood to rescue those who were cut off from the rest of the world; and, workers in a Mexican bakery surrounded by flood waters and unable to escape did not cower in fear—they baked 2 tons of bread to feed the homeless in the shelters of Houston.  Through the hands of those high students and the hands of those bakers, Jesus reached out to those in need.

I have no doubt that were such a catastrophe to occur here in RI (God forbid!) members of the La Salle Academy community would find ways to reach out to those needing assistance, much as Dr. Kimmel and Matt Maloney, our fellow Lasallians, did.  Being 1,500 miles away from Houston should not stop us from being the hands of Jesus that reach out to our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana, people who are desperate for assistance and still are fearful about their future, people like the Lasallian Sisters of Vietnam (a group of religious women associated with the De La Salle Christian Brothers) whose convent, chapel, and educational center serving Vietnamese children in Houston were completely destroyed.

This morning we too are invited to allow our hands to be the hands of Jesus.  We use our hands today to reach deeply into our pockets and pocketbooks to give not only the minimum donation but to go above and beyond that, as Dr. Kimmel and Matt Maloney did.  Through our hands and our sharing some young people in Houston might be able to get clothes to wear to school when they start in a few weeks; through our hands and our sharing some families might be provided a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving in a shelter because they have no home to return to; through our hands and our sharing some kids might get gifts for Christmas to have a little joy as they live as displaced persons; through our hands and our sharing the Lasallian Sisters might be able to re-open their educational center.  Through our hands and our sharing, we allow Jesus’ hands to reach out to save the thousands drowning in desperation and hopelessness.

And, after we have given, we use our hands in another way, clasping them in prayer that God might look with favor on our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana and now in the Caribbean islands and soon in Florida as they face the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

So, let us pray now in the words of Saint Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus 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

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

La Salle Chose You—-Now You Must Choose La Salle

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 18 May 2017)

Good Morning, La Salle!

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

I had always been set on coming to La Salle since the time I was in the 6th grade.  It was around then when my father and grandfather started telling me about their own high school days when they came here as well.  It seemed like a cool idea that if I went to La Salle, I would be a third generation student.  So I used the last two years of middle school to work on my social, academic, and athletic abilities in hopes that, when I came to La Salle, I could offer it something in return for what I knew it would give to me.  After all, my dean Mr. McGinn said, “La Salle chose you, and now you must choose La Salle”.  You see, La Salle is not just merely the best college preparatory school in Rhode Island, rather, it has been the place where for the last four years, I developed my personality as a young adult and focused myself on the things I wish to achieve in the distant future.  And I can thank my family, teachers, coaches, and all of the new friends I have made for supporting me through it all and encouraging me to be my best every day.

I loved La Salle from day one.  Each and every day presented me with an opportunity to discover who I am as a person.  I learned that through hard work and discipline, it is possible to refine one’s self in a positive light.  The idea of constantly rising up to new challenges and giving a 200% effort each time says a whole lot about someone’s character.  My high school career has been marked by a record of successes and impressive milestones, both academic and athletic.  And as my senior year draws to a close, I look back on my experience and am happy because I can officially say that, “I chose La Salle” by involving myself within multiple aspects of our Lasallian community for the past four years.

At the end of the day, I learned that in order to succeed at anything, you must be supported by those around you.  It is the interactions between individuals that shape one’s character.  And whether you encounter someone who is nice or mean doesn’t really matter.  What is important is that we learn to see that God reflects His image through some aspect in every single human being.  So seniors, can you hold your heads up too and say that you chose La Salle?  The positive experience we have witnessed as the class of 2017 can only do us good for the rest of our lives.

Let us Pray…

Dear Lord, we thank you so much for our time here together.  For all the friends we have made, for all the days of laughter and fun, and for all the times of great discovery and learning. We thank you for all who have given of their energy and skill so that we can graduate:  our teachers and mentors, our family and loved ones.  As this chapter of our lives closes, so a new one begins.  We present ourselves like an open book before You.  Come and write your words of life into ours that we might eternally love and serve You this day and every day.  In your name we pray, Amen

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…. Forever

David Acciardo–Class of 2017