The Road Taken

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 2 February 2016—Catholic Schools Week)

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

I would like to begin by not only thanking La Salle Academy for inviting me to participate in Catholic Schools Week, but by thanking the students, teachers, staff, and families that have supported Harry Kizirian Elementary School in Providence. You have most certainly touched the lives of students that are in need of positive role models and acts of kindness.

Twenty-five years have passed since I graduated La Salle Academy, but I will never forget all that I learned and all that I experienced in such a small window of time. My freshman year was actually spent at Classical High School. It was my first year in a public school and for the first time in my life, I felt like I didn’t belong. I was just one student among another thousand students. My guidance counselor didn’t know me and neither did my principal. I connected with the wrong friends, skipped classes, and would sometimes find myself leaving school early to hang out in the city. I was lost in the crowd. Public school was not for me.


I entered La Salle at the start of second semester during my sophomore year. While I knew enough to plead with my family to send me here, I still didn’t know exactly how to get back on track. It was Mr. Leo Butler, my dean, who knew I needed guidance and support. He believed in me, even when I didn’t. He held me accountable, when I was being irresponsible. He not only supported me, but he supported my family when they just didn’t understand me. Mr. Butler continued to push me, even when I pushed back. I remember when I was first hired as a teacher in Providence. I made it a point to come back and visit Mr. Butler. It was important for me to show him that I turned out just fine. That I did make it through college, and that of all of the professions, I chose the teaching profession. Who would have thought that one day I would be working with inner city high school students just like I was!


I don’t know what road I would have taken if I never had the opportunity to attend La Salle, but I do know that I am grateful that I will never have to find out. La Salle Academy is a community of faith, a community of knowledge, and a community of service. It has been all of these things for generations.

St. John Baptist de La Salle….Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts… Forever.


Dina Cerra–Class of 1991

Our Own Distinguished Lasallian Educator

(Prayer offered for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 3 February 2016–Catholic Schools Week and Founder’s Day)

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

Gravity, silence, humility, prudence, wisdom, patience, reserve, gentleness, zeal, vigilance, piety, generosity.

12 virtues 2

Twelve vitally important words in the Lasallian world. These are the 12 virtues of good teaching that St. John Baptist de La Salle listed in his Conduct of the Christian Schools. This list has been used for centuries in the training and preparation of Lasallian teachers all over the world.

This past November at the Huether Lasallian Conference in Chicago, Mrs. Cerros was presented with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award, an annual award that honors an educator who exemplifies the ideals of our founder.

Over her 16 years at La Salle, Mrs. Cerros has been the living embodiment of De La Salle’s ideals and virtues for her students. Please allow me to share a couple of thoughts from her former students:

“I can’t think of an educator more deserving. Mrs. Cerros taught me the value of educating the whole person. I feel like I am a more moral human being because of her mentorship.” ~ Liz Nigro


“Mrs.Cerros changed my life in the best ways possible. She was a support system, a friend, a mentor. She held me accountable; she called me out if I slacked off; she validated me when I succeeded. Her passion and dedication completely changed my life and put me on the path I am now on. She truly embodies the Lasallian mission in every way possible.” ~ Marco Lomazzo

It has been my privilege to teach alongside Mrs. Cerros in the Arts Department for fifteen years now. Watching the dynamic fostered between her and her students has been an inspiration to me as a teacher. More importantly, though, a few years ago, Mrs. Cerros was responsible for a life-changing event in my life as well. She was leading, I believe, her seventh service trip to New Orleans and asked me to be involved. This experience was where I truly got to see the real Mrs. Cerros. She is everything her students see and more. Her empathy, compassion, and selflessness are astounding. Listening to her speak about the past service trips, her students from past trips, the places they stayed, the places they worked, the stories they had heard from the families impacted by Hurricane Katrina all left a mark on me. We would go on to lead three service trips to New Orleans together. Each time, I watched in admiration as the students were coaxed out of their comfort zones and grew as human beings because of our many meetings and experiences we shared in New Orleans. I can truly say that I am a better teacher and, more importantly, a better human being for having shared these experiences with her.

elissa and child

But Mrs. Cerros is more than just our teacher; she is a dedicated educator in the Lasallian world. She leads Lasallian formation programs here at La Salle; she is a regular presenter at Lasallian conferences; she has played a vital role with the Young Lasallians; she is the director of Arts Alive!, a community outreach program; she has been heavily involved with the San Miguel School in Providence.

I could literally continue this prayer for far longer than you care to hear me speak with stories from current and former students, colleagues, and people that have been influenced in some way by Mrs. Cerros, but she is probably cringing as she listens to me right now. She is a very humble person (one of those 12 virtues) who is not in this for the recognition. So I will leave you with this final thought from Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, “Elissa is one of those Lasallians who sees, understands, and lives the Lasallian Mission beyond their local ministry.”


Let us pray. Lord, we thank you today for Mrs. Cerros and all of those people in our lives that inspire us to be better people and to live up to our full potential. Grant us the strength to follow their example, make them proud, and that some day we may become that source of inspiration for someone else as they have done for us.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Brian Brouillard–Teacher of Arts (Music) and Director of Music

My Plan OR God’s Plan for Me?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 1 February 2016–Catholic Schools Week)

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

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about leading prayer this morning for the entire school, especially following in the footsteps of so many great people and their wonderful morning prayers while trying to live up to that expectation. But, just like I ask my students and athletes to step out of their comfort zone, I am going to get out of my comfort zone today…


Just like many of you, sitting in your seats right now, stressed out awaiting your college acceptances, trying to cram in studying for a test or quiz, busy with extracurricular activities and balancing all of that with having a family and social life, I too once sat in those same seats here at La Salle and I wondered…

What am I going to do with my life? What is God’s plan for me?


I never had any intentions of becoming a teacher or coach. In fact, I wanted to become a lawyer and I actually put that on my college applications and I also knew I was going to play Basketball in college. That was it, nothing else. I had all of the answers and no one was going to tell me different. That was going to become my life after La Salle. Play basketball in college and then become a lawyer.. Yup

Except, God didn’t exactly see it that way…

I did move on from La Salle and play basketball, except I got hurt at the end of my freshman year, re-injuring an old injury that was going to take a lot of rehab and a long time to heal; and, on top of that, I needed to stay at school all Summer to treat it if I was going to be able to play again any time soon.. No family and no friends back home. At that point, I made one of the toughest decisions of my life.. I moved back home to pursue my education and I stopped playing basketball.

That was it.. My sports career was over in the blink of an eye and this is when God’s plan went into effect.


It started with a simple conversation and one that I will never forget.. “Coach,” I said, “I am done with basketball..”

“Michael, what are you talking about? If you are not going to play, then you need to coach because you would be wasting your talent.” At that moment, my life and future were shaped. I started my coaching career that Fall as the Freshman Basketball Coach at La Salle.

Coach Heroux or Mr. Heroux, as most of you know him, Is the reason why I am speaking to you all today. He is what made me want to pursue teaching…A role model, a coach, an educator, a friend, and most of all a father-figure to me.. He has been someone that has helped me get through some of the most difficult times in my life. When my father suddenly passed away 5 years ago, he was there. Whenever I need advice he is there. He’s also been a part of some of my greatest memories and I am proud to say that he was able to attend my wedding when I got married to my wonderful wife, Erin, in 2011. He has always been there, for Michael, the person and not just when I was a Sophomore, Junior or Senior athlete on his basketball team. Our special relationship is something that I will forever be grateful for. He has taught me so much and he is the one whom I give credit to for molding me into the teacher and coach I am and the one whom I try to emulate every day.


Thank you, Coach, for believing in me when I didn’t always believe in myself. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to find myself and for giving me a chance to do something in teaching and coaching that I love to do every day.

When I hear that God truly has a plan for all of us, I truly believe this but we all need to be open to some guidance and help from coaches, teachers and mentors to help get the best out of us sometimes. They know our potential.

Let Us Pray,

Let us be willing to try new things and to be open to Your plan for us. Thank you for giving us teachers, coaches and great role models to help guide us to fulfill the plans that You have for each one of us. Amen


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

Michael McParlin–Social Studies Teacher