A Big Thank You!!!

At the end of Haiti Solidarity Week (January 24, 2014) the following prayer was offered on the Public Address system for the school community.

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

Last June I traveled with a group of Lasallian educators from our district of Eastern North America to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to visit our new Lasallian school. I consider myself very fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to travel extensively, both here in the U.S. and internationally in the developed and developing worlds. I speak before you today humbled and deeply troubled by my time in Haiti. Not solely because of the devastating earthquake, but more so, because of the pervasive and overwhelming hopelessness that lies underneath the ruins of the quake and has its roots in the European colonization of this tropical island for sugar, spices, and other minerals and resources and the legacy of the slave system-driven production. To be truthful I spent the first two days wondering how I could sell off all the United Nations Land Rovers driving around in circles to instead buy trash trucks so Haitians can have basic trash service. The problems seemed so big, all I wanted to do was leave.


My attitude began to soften on the third day when I asked Brother Nicholai what is going to happen to all of the students when they graduate and have to face the brutal challenges of survival in Haiti and if he gets depressed thinking about that. He looked at me, put his arm on my shoulder and told me that every kid that walks through the school’s doors is treated with dignity and respect, given self worth and leaves knowing that they will always be safe in our school. And not that this is the best that we can do, but what we are simply here to do. I hope that the video you watch now in your home rooms of the various delegation trips our district has taken to Haiti over the last two years is evidence of the spirit of the brothers and sisters in Haiti, the work they are doing to bring value to children’s lives, and the role that we can play to help their work flourish and prosper.

Gregg DeMaria (Architecture Teacher and Director of the Academic Resource Center)

On Friday, 31 January 2014, La Salle Academy celebrated the end of Catholic Schools Week with a Dress-down Day and collection for our brother school in Haiti.  The goal was set at $11,000.00–enough to pay for the tuition of and to supply uniforms and school supplies for 40 Haitian students at our brother school, St. John Baptist de La Salle School, in Port-au-Prince.  Due to the extraordinary generosity of students and their families, faculty and staff, the school collected $11,059.00–surpassing its goal.  This is what “Enter to Learn–Leave to Serve” really means!!  Special thanks on behalf of the St. John Baptist de La Salle School and the District of Eastern North America.

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Brother Frederick Mueller

More than a Slogan

This was the final prayer during Catholic Schools Week–a prayer offered on the Public Address system on the morning of Friday, 31 January.

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

Enter To Learn Leave To Serve

Slogans, mottos, themes… they aren’t really things we think about on a regular basis, yet this week we have been hearing in prayer about La Salle’s motto, our theme.  “Enter to learn, leave to serve.”  We live this every day.  We come to school to learn.  But at the end of the day, when we leave La Salle, it is what we do outside of the walls of the building that stays with us and that impacts others.

LSA Science Wing

During the past few summers, a few students have realized what it really means, during the Lasallian Youth Summer Assemblies.  For a week during the summer, students from Lasallian schools all over the northeast gather to learn from one another and to serve others.

Two years ago, the Assembly was held in Buffalo, New York.  Each day groups went out into the community to places like soup kitchens and nursing homes.  The drive to one particular soup kitchen was scary.  The houses along the way were all foreclosed, and the line outside the soup kitchen formed at 9 in the morning even though lunch was not served until noon.  One person really stood out in particular.  This man would come in every day, eat lunch with his two kids, share his joy and big smile with the volunteers, and then leave.  One day as the van carrying the volunteers pulled up, the man could be seen standing outside looking through the dumpster.  He pulled out a bag of moldy bread that had been discarded by the soup kitchen staff the previous day.  The man opened the bag and started to feed the birds.  Here was a man who had nothing for himself, much less to give away, yet his concern that day was for the birds.  Even though they were birds, he put their comfort and well-being above his own.  In this one moment, it became clear what an amazing effect one human being can have on another.


Meanwhile, on the other side of town, my group was at a nursing home, beating the summer heat with an ice cream party.  After delivering bowls of ice cream to each resident, I sat down next to a lady, who was about 85 years old and wheelchair bound.  After just a few seconds, my own bowl lay off to the side, forgotten, as I observed the lady beside me.  I was watching her hold her spoon.  A simple thing, really, something we all do every day.  But all of a sudden, she dropped it.  She tried again, picking it up from the table, only to have it slip from her fingers again…and then a third time.  Finally, she looked at me, a little embarrassed, and told me, “I think you are going to have to feed me.”  Although she was nervous at first, she grew more and more relaxed with each spoonful of ice cream I fed her, eagerly enjoying every last drop, and having fun at the party as well.  As I pushed her back to her room when we were finished, I came to recognize that I was able to take something light and fun, like an ice cream party, and serve another, helping her enjoy it as well.

feeding woman

Now let’s fast forward a year.  Today’s dress down collection is devoted to supporting victims of a natural disaster that wreaked havoc in Haiti, but last October 2012 a disaster hit us all much closer to home.  Superstorm Sandy affected millions of people across the northeast, and months later New York was still recovering from its damaging effects.  That is why this year’s (2013) Summer Assembly was dedicated to serving those affected by the storm.  One group visited sites of wreckage on Long Island where, even in the 100 degree weather, hazmat suits, hard hats, and gloves were all necessities for the Lasallian volunteers.  Despite our discomfort, it was completely worth the heat and exhaustion to see the grateful looks on the faces of those who had struggled for almost a year as a result of the storm.  The weeks spent at Lasallian Youth Summer Assemblies not only grant us the opportunity to learn from other Lasallians, but also, and more importantly, to serve those who are most in need in our communities.

Lasallian Youth

Let us pray.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Afternoon reflection: Today you came to school to learn something new. How will you use what you’ve learned to serve others when you leave?

Elise Hoy–Class of 2014 and Member of Lasallian Youth

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