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,


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



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

eyes carefully shielded to seduce the world my reluctant



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

Celebrating Our Cultural Diversity

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system and over the school-wide intranet for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 9 February 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God—

Being a senior at La Salle, I have been in the America for four years. These have been the most unforgettable four years of my life, because I started to imagine studying in the US when I was a kid. It is the most powerful country in the world, so I thought everything here is going to be perfect. The people here are more open and friendlier. After so much effort and getting the support from my parents, I ended up here eventually.

The years I spent in America taught me that there is no such thing as a perfect place. It is not easy to be a part of the community made up of others who were born here. The loneliness is the biggest suffering for me and all the international students. Especially when the most important festival, the Chinese New Year comes around, the lack of family makes the situation worse. Luckily, this year everything began to change. I realized the best way to pull each other closer is to open up yourself. The best thing I can think of is to introduce Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, to the community. Next week, there is going to be a Chinese New Year celebration at La Salle. Hopefully, it will show the community a general idea of the Chinese culture. Hopefully, it will bring all of us closer. Hopefully,  it will give everyone a  joyful week of experiencing the Chinese culture.


People have asked me: “Do you think there are people that really care about this or that it will have a meaningful result?” I think I have the answer right now. Regardless how many people care about this, doing this thing itself is meaningful. Moreover, I truly believe people care.

Let us pray,

May we all be welcoming of the different traditions and celebrations that others hold dear. May we respect one another and the cultural values we hold. And may we one day come together to celebrate the cultures that make us who we are.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Grace Chen—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

“Graduates From La Salle Always Go Far In Life”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 2 February 2018—Catholic Schools Week)

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

A few weeks ago, while doing my weekly grocery shopping, I saw an elderly man in a wheelchair trying to reach a can of soup that was just out of his reach. After watching him struggle for a moment I approached him and asked if I could help. He said yes, so I handed him the can that he was reaching for. He turned to thank me and noticed that I was wearing a La Salle hoodie. “Ah, La Salle Academy!” he said. “I should have known. Graduates from La Salle always go far in life.”

What the old man didn’t know is that, geographically speaking, I haven’t gone very far at all. I spent six years as a student here at La Salle, and after going off to college, I came right back here to be a teacher. It was never a secret that I wanted to return here to teach – I had barely graduated when I started wondering if there would be an opening in the math department by the time I finished grad school.

What called me back here wasn’t just the quality of the education that I had experienced first hand. It was about the people I had met and relationships I had built that made La Salle feel like my home. When I walk by Mr. McNamara’s calculus class or Mrs. Chapman’s psychology class, I see students sitting in the same seats that I sat in – and I know that they are learning so much more than the content in their textbooks. They’re learning the values that make them Lasallians.  I know this because I learned those values as a student myself, but also because I see those values today, and every day as a teacher. I saw charity and generosity when my homeroom brought trash bags filled to the brim with adopt-a-family donations. I saw love and acceptance when students spent last weekend on a Kairos retreat. I saw kindness and support offered to someone who recently lost a loved one.

The old man in the canned-good aisle at Shaw’s may have thought I was going far, but to me, the opportunity to go far, and to see and do great things, happens every day when I walk into this building.

Let Us Pray:

God, thank you for the many gifts that we receive here at La Salle – the high quality education present in our classrooms, the meaningful relationships that are developed, and values of generosity and love that are witnessed here every day. Continue to bless all those who enter this building so that they can go out into the world with the knowledge they have gained here, whether they travel far away or return right back here to be within these walls.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for Us

Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever

Kathryn Thompson–Alumna (Class of 2010) and Teacher of Mathematics and Computer Science

“The Lasallian Mission Is Now In Effect!”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 1 February 2018—Catholic Schools Week)

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

During my four years at La Salle, a phrase that stuck with me was “The Lasallian Mission is now in effect.” This saying was announced over the loudspeaker for emergency drills, a way of notifying everyone to shelter in place. In this situation, the Lasallian mission was only in effect for the people who were in this building and heard the message. But I’ve come to find out that the Lasallian mission spans so much further than this brick building on the corner of Academy Ave. and Smith Street. Being a student at La Salle Academy introduced me and everyone else who has walked through its doors to the Lasallian mission- one that has the potential to change the trajectory of your life like it has changed so many.

My Lasallian journey began just as yours did, with an acceptance letter and a new opportunity. I came to La Salle not knowing many people, and I did my best to get involved and make friends. I found my place here through athletics and service. I was part of a sports team in every season during my 4 years, proud to represent La Salle on the ice and on the field. My teams turned from friends to family, and many of my closest friendships were made during these seasons. I felt at home being a member of Lasallian Youth, taking part in coat drives, bake sales, service trips and more. My time at La Salle flew by, and it was filled with memorable times alongside great friends made here.

At first glance, my experience at La Salle sounds pretty typical. I’m sure there are many of you who have found your place at La Salle by being part of a team, whether that be through sports, performing arts, or math and science. And I know that so many of you are involved in community service at La Salle because helping those in need is a pillar of being a student here.

We all share those common high school experiences and that’s why we love La Salle. But when I take a more meaningful look at my four years, the impact that this school has made on me is what makes my experience so special. It is astounding all the ways that this school and its mission have become a part of who I am. For example, being a part of a team has taught me what it means to be united and work towards a common goal. Taking part in service has taught me the importance of putting others before yourself and doing God’s work where He calls you. My teachers and coaches taught me what it is like to feel supported and have someone believe in you. All of those small things that were part of my life each day here taught me more than any textbook ever could.

These lessons are so important and I am thankful that I learned them at La Salle. But I wasn’t satisfied with just harboring these lessons and memories. I felt that my obligation as a graduate of La Salle Academy was to pass these lessons and this mission onto someone else.

After college, I was chosen to take part in a post graduate service program called Lasallian Volunteers-a Catholic organization founded upon the 3 pillars of faith, service and community. As a volunteer, I spent a year of service in San Francisco, California. I taught 5th grade at a Lasallian School named De Marillac Academy, which was located in the Tenderloin, a part of the city that had a brutal reputation for drugs, violence and danger. It was here, as a part of this program and in this city, that I realized how far and wide the Lasallian mission spreads. It was here, in the Tenderloin, that I put those lessons learned at La Salle into place, passing them on to someone new. At school, I filled the hearts and minds of my 5th graders with knowledge and faith each day. I reminded them that their future was in their hands, that this neighborhood they lived in did not define them. I supported their dreams just like my teachers and coaches at La Salle supported mine.

In addition to my service site, Lasallian Volunteers also provided me with the opportunity to live in community with Christian Brothers, our home adjoining a Lasallian high school named Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. Living in this community gave me the opportunity to get to know the Brothers, and the stories of their journeys and where their Lasallian Mission had taken them inspired me to continue spreading mine. Sacred Heart reminded me so much of La Salle and that along with the sense of family that I gained from my community made me feel like home wasn’t so far away.

Each day while walking through the Tenderloin to and from school, I treated each person who was homeless on the streets of the Tenderloin with love and respect by offering a smile and saying hello, which was all that most of them were looking for. Here I felt myself going out of my comfort zone to do God’s work and make each of them feel like human beings, deserving of God’s love and life. In the moment, I didn’t realize the meaningfulness of what I was doing, but looking back on all these experiences, I see that my year of service was my own Lasallian mission in affect.

Statue of the “Homeless Jesus”

My journey of spreading the Lasallian mission has guided me to the place where I am meant by God to be right now. The mission became a part of what I do each day in my path of educating the next generation as a teacher, and now the question is where will it take you? How will the Lasallian Mission become a part of you, grounded in the beliefs of serving others? The Lasallian Mission can transform your future- but you have to make the effort to keep the Lasallian Mission in effect beyond your four years at the Academy. When you keep that mission alive in your heart, the possibilities are endless.

Let us pray:
Father in heaven, God of love, all I have and am is yours. Grant that I may become a living sign of your compassion in this world. Grant me the faith to live my life, always in the awareness of your loving presence. Grant me zeal to serve without thought of reward, those to whom you send me. Grant me charity to bear the burdens of my brothers and sisters. Teach me to seek your Son’s face, in the last, the lost, and the least. In whatever I undertake, may I seek above all things, to procure your glory, as far as I am able, and as you will require of me. Strengthen me by your Holy Spirit, to follow Jesus by living the commitment I make this day. Amen.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!

Abbey Sorensen–Class of 2012

Not Just Awareness BUT Action!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 30 January 2018—Catholic Schools Week)

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

My name is Annie McGunagle and I graduated from La Salle in 2012. I loved my time here at LSA, but never expected my experiences here to have such an impact on my day to day life.

I remember coming to this school not knowing what to expect. I worked hard in my classes and auditioned for roles in plays and musicals; I did my best to engage in this incredible and overwhelming community around me. Never before had I been around religion in an academic setting. During my first two years here, I had to learn the Hail Mary in Spanish and pray before every class.  I didn’t think much about my faith.  But that was about to change.

Between my sophomore and junior year, my mom was diagnosed with a serious illness.  Going through that experience with my family that summer and into the following year really made me question my faith in God. I had a hard time believing that this all knowing being could exist if something this horrible could happen to me and my family.

During those first couple of months of my junior year I heard about a new retreat that campus ministry was starting, called Kairos. It was incredibly intriguing so I immediately wanted to apply and was accepted to attended the 3rd implementation of this retreat, also known as K3.

K3 changed my perspective of myself and those around me. I learned more about my strength as well as the strengths of others in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was overwhelmed with the love and compassion I received from my fellow students. This weekend allowed me to understand that God didn’t give my mom cancer—life did. It allowed me to reframe my negative thoughts and become aware of all of the positivity and support I was receiving in that retreat, but also from family, friends, and strangers who knew what my family was going through.

Fast forward another year, my mom was free of cancer and I was a leader on K8. This was the first time I was allowed to lead a group of peers in honest and real conversations. I was terrified, but I helped build a space of love and respect which allowed me to openly share my struggle with faith. It also allowed the students I led to be open and honest with the challenges in their own lives.

Fast forward to now. I am a licensed clinical social worker after graduating with my masters of social work. La Salle prepared me not only academically for my Bachelor’s and Master’s in social work and maintaining a 4.0 at an Ivy League institution, but spiritually.

My relationship with God was informed by Lasallian values, specifically concern for the poor, social justice, and respect for all persons. This relationship supports my ability to offer intensive therapy to youth ranging in ages from 3-18, many of whom have experienced repeated trauma and poverty. My faith based experiences and the academic rigor of LSA prepared me for what I experience daily–facing the realities of the world with care, compassion, and an open mind.

Let us pray—

God help us use our Lasallian values to become not only aware of the injustices around us, but to take action and help arrive at solutions for them.

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

Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever!

Anne McGunagle—Class of 2012