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

“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

Hindsight Is An Amazing Thing

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 29 January 2018–Catholic Schools Week)

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

I’ve been asked to pray this morning to start off Catholic Schools Week.

I started at La Salle, not because I wanted to, but because my parents forced me to.  I was at public school and didn’t want to leave my friends and thought I would get an education in Woonsocket that would be fine.  I was determined to get one year under my belt at La Salle and head back where I thought I belonged.  Needless to say, by the end of my freshman year I knew my parents were right and where I needed to be was at La Salle.  I often tell people to this day, that the best decision my parents ever made for me was to  send me to La Salle.

At the Academy I was surrounded by people who had a desire to learn and set goals for themselves, as well as adults who fostered that within us.  Some of teachers that I had at La Salle were the reasons why I went into education myself.  I had teachers who believed in me, helped me to see my own potential and made my high school experience enjoyable.  I walked away knowing that I wanted to make other kids feel like they were special and important and had something to offer to the world, just as my teachers had done for me.

La Salle not only was about providing me with an education that prepared me for college and the real world, it was also about building my faith.  It is not uncommon for many teenagers to turn away from their faith, question it or live more selfishly.  Having a place where spirituality  is around you throughout these years helps to center you and remind you of what is important and especially to think of others.  I had the opportunity to give back to my community and help others in need whether it was my homeroom adopting families in need at the holidays or being a part of Lasallian Youth.  The Lasallian Youth summer assembly allowed me to meet other Lasallians from across the country, to come together with the same mission, to help and educate others in need.  This is something that I am able to carry out throughout my life: to stop and say a prayer and know that I am not alone when times are difficult, or to take time to help others on larger scales and just in small ways, such as holding a door open for someone.   I have tried to raise my children with  the Lasallian beliefs, to be thankful for all that we have, to think of others, and to be humble and kind, and proud of who you are.

When you entered La Salle you were probably told that you are now part of the Lasallian community and family.  It wasn’t until after I graduated La Salle that I truly understood what this really means.  When meeting other alumni, there is always a connection, a quiet understanding that we are part of something special because of La Salle.  There is a feeling of pride in saying that you are a Lasallian.

I can proudly say that I am not only an alumna, but also a parent of a La Salle student.  Knowing all of what La Salle has to offer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for my child to attend.  There are boundless opportunities that are presented here and I know that being at the Academy allows him to become more than he even knows he is capable of.   Please know that each and every one of you will graduate from La Salle a better version of yourselves.  I didn’t realize this until I was older, but hindsight is an amazing thing.

Let us pray:

Lord, please help all of the students at La Salle along their journey.  May they appreciate the opportunities that are given to them and provide thanks to those who allow them to attend La Salle.  May they know that they are never alone and that there is community of Lasallians who will always look out for them.  Assist them to carry over what they have learned as Lasallians beyond the school walls and into the rest of their lives to better than own lives and those around them.  Thank you for having teachers and administrators who take the time to care about the future of their students and are there for them educationally and spiritually.

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

Live Jesus in our hearts……forever.

Emily Dursin Turgeon–Alumna (1997) and Parent (2020)

How Much Is Enough?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 26 January 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy presence of God…

Like Mr. Pare in his prayer yesterday, I too have been contemplating the simple things in life. When I was dating my husband, one of our favorite things to do was to take a picnic to Balboa Park in San Diego and watch the airplanes fly over, so close you felt you could touch them, so close the ground vibrated, so noisy I’m sure I damaged my hearing.  Something so simple created such memorable moments that I remember them 40 years later. Too bad I couldn’t hold onto simple.

I just threw 8 VCRs into a giant dumpster parked in my driveway. We filled a 20 yard dumpster in three hours. How does one family of five accrue three tons of garbage? The items in that dumpster used to be our possessions and at some point had meaning to us. But no longer. The question I keep asking myself is how much is enough?  I don’t actually have the answer to that question, owning all the latest electronics and a closet full of clothes most of which I don’t wear. But I’m trying. I’m downsizing my life, my home, but sadly not my waistline although there is still time for that.

The great African American poet, Maya Angelou wrote that home is where your feet are. So my life’s memories are with me, not with my possessions and not in the dumpster. Who I am is not what I own.

Dishes I once thought so necessary, that tied me to fun family dinners and parties will now be part of someone’s else’s life.

Hundreds of books will be donated and recycled. their stories in my heart and readily available in a library when I want to read them again.

Old sheets, towels, and blankets went to Savers’  “Give a Shirt about the Earth” program.

Nice, but unwanted, furniture went to good homes where families will love them as I once did.

And I still filled a dumpster.

I am not alone. In 1984 there were 6,600 self storage facilities across the US. By 2010 there were 46,000. Clearly we need places to store our stuff. But if it’s locked away in a storage unit, attic, basement, garage, or shed, do we need to keep it? Honestly, did we need it in the first place?

I challenge everyone to ponder the stuff in your life. It’s ok to have things we want, but if we allow our wants to control us we miss out on the real pleasures in life like the wonder and power of a landing airplane.

Dear God

May I be reminded frequently that whatever form my attempts at simplicity may take that it is a simple heart which You first and foremost desire. Help me to remember what it is I truly need. May I approach You and all human beings with a free and unencumbered heart.
Amen

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

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Kristine Chapman—Social Studies Teacher

A “Half-Time” Prayer

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 22 January 2018)

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

Except for the 51 Super Bowls, the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games historically have featured the most memorable football games in NFL history, matching up the best teams, players and coaches.

As we finish the first semester today, I thought it would be appropriate as students, faculty and staff, to have our own academic Half-Time prayer. Not being an athlete myself, I asked some coaches, team managers and former La Salle Academy athletes about the purpose of the coach’s half-time pep talk. After listening to their stories, it became clear to me that many of the strategies and points addressed during time-outs and game-breaks by coaches might carry over to our own academic performance. Maybe we can benefit from some of these same motivational messages as we reflect on our academic performance today, when we receive our 2nd quarter, mid-term, and Semester I grades. We should use the feedback from teachers today (I think of them as your academic coaches) to scheme-up a better game plan for the second half, so that with “Divine Assistants” we can come out on top with a personal victory in every class, when the final buzzer sounds in June.

One of the coaches I talked to likes to use Half-Time as a chance to reflect briefly on the first half performance, noting how the players were successful, and where they will need to improve if they want to achieve victory at the end of the game. In hindsight, sometimes we don’t show up to play, lacking energy in our play during the 1st half. Sometimes we take the game for granted thinking we can coast to a victory, or we don’t realize our enemy’s strengths. What are your enemies when it comes to school? What kind of obstacles do you face, when you’re trying to study for a test or finish your homework every night?

Perhaps students will need to address their own weaknesses in all three phases of the game: reading, writing and arithmetic. Maybe we had the perfect game plan in place in September at the start of the season, but we will need to make some Half-Time adjustments, starting today.  The best coaches can identify the team’s and players’ weaknesses and offer a 2nd half adjustment to tilt the game in our favor. Maybe God is speaking through your teachers today, as they try to coach you to a better performance in the second half.

If Coach Belichik were here, he would probably admonish us to block out any distractions in our game preparations. Are you distracted by TV, video games or social media, when you could be putting more focus on your academic game plan? Can we see ourselves at the end of the game on the graduation podium, holding our prized diploma in hand, with the crowd cheering our academic success?

One La Salle Academy coach reminds his athletes to believe in themselves–because they’ve already put in the hard work in practice, in every drill, play or technique they’ve worked on during the week.  It was all drawn up to make the players successful in their biggest test of the season, and God desires the same for us. If we can dedicate ourselves to performing our individual jobs well, the whole class wins out! Just “Do your Job!”

Another coach wondered, “What motivates us to perform our best?” Forty years ago, one Notre Dame football coach had his players put on special Kelly-green jerseys for good luck before a big game against USC. Instead of luck, maybe we can put on the mantle of Jesus Christ and John Baptist de La Salle, that they might be with us in spirit and truth, as we play out the second half. By making some Half-Time adjustments–in the mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the game–and with attentiveness to the encouragement and knowledge that our academic coaches bring to the game, we can achieve many academic victories in 2018 and the seasons ahead.

Let us pray… Loving God, we pray that we not be judged simply by the numbers and scores next to our names. Help us remember that we are made in your Divine image, and help us through your grace to become the best students we can be. May Christ the Teacher guide us always through the Holy Spirit, as we journey through the game of life.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, PRAY FOR US.

Our Lady of Victory, PRAY FOR US.

Live Jesus in our hearts, FOREVER.

David Martinez–Religion Teacher

“You Did It For Me”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 12 January 2018—the 5th and final day of Haiti Solidarity Week)

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

Haiti-school-1ldz9wx

As we prepare to give our offering to the Hands Out For Haiti Campaign on the 8th anniversary of the earthquake, let us listen to the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

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Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

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Let us pray,
Jesus, our Lord and our brother, open our hearts today so that we might generously respond to the young people of Haiti who really are the least members of your family. Remind us that whatever we do for them, we do for you. Amen.

which-side-do-you-belong

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Ryan Schwender–Class of 2018; Co-Captain of Boys’ Hockey Team