1691 Steps

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 26 May 2016)

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


1,691.  That is the number of steps it takes to see a Brian Ciccone trade-marked tour of La Salle Academy.  I know this because I’ve walked the school 100’s of times this past year, (and once with a pedometer on) showing off the best of what we have to offer to prospective Lasallian students.

And I’ll tell you from experience it isn’t just the building that people are most impressed by when they join me on this journey of 1,691 steps. No, I am confident that La Salle’s appeal, from the first steps to the last, is the people gathered together in this place.


Perhaps it’s where the tour starts at Campus Ministry and Mr. Daly or Ms. Naughton in her sunglasses engage my guests about the good work they lead, the retreats, the service, the Mission trips.  It’s just a few short steps from there to the warm morning greeting of Kathy in the cafeteria, as though your own mother was there getting ready for your lunch.  Then up the back staircase to the British rapping scientist Mr. Lakeland or Mr. Gray who are always willing to take the time to show off the robots or 3D printer in their classrooms, engaging young minds with humor and fun.

robotics logo

Some 400 steps into the tour we find ourselves in the library where Ms. Trissler may greet Chinese guests in their native tongue, a display of the tolerance, cultural sensitivity, and the brilliance of our school.  Through the Auditorium and back down to the first floor it is always a special treat for our guests to bump into Brother Fred or Brother Thomas, a reminder that the Christian Brothers, men of sacrifice, service, faith and a devotion to community are what we are rooted in and what permeates all that we do at La Salle.


Heritage Hall and we’ve reached about step 800 where the people we engage in photos and images, while not physically present, embolden our traditions and legacy.  Then into the Middle School where the faculty there grants me complete access to their classrooms.  Despite being in the middle of science labs, math problems, Social Studies lectures, or guests in English classes, without hesitation these gracious teachers welcome me into their classrooms so that a young student can look into their possible future.

Down the staircase to the G floor as we begin to close in on the 1200th step passing through the joy of Ms. Hayes’ theater class, the style and sounds of Mr. B’s band room, the talents of Mr. Connor’s artists, the creativity of Ms. Woratzeck’s classrooms, or the gifted work of Ms. Cerros’ film class and WLSA.  The future artists of La Salle Academy are hooked instantly.


And for our future athletes, it is into the Field House where they begin to dream of bringing home a state championship trophy for the Rams.  Gymnasium filled with teachers playing along side their students—Pickle Ball, handball, volleyball; Ms. Brown bringing students in from the tennis courts; or Ms. Morsilli who always lets me cut in for a quick cha cha, my favorite way to end a tour of nearly 1700 steps.


And throughout, it is you the student body that never fails to impress not just our guests, but me.  It’s the middle schoolers’ enthusiasm and curiosity that is so instantly apparent to those from the outside that draws them towards this place of education.  The guests sense the connected and active community we are when a student reminds me that International Club is meeting, or the Bee Hive is having an event, or when opening night is for the next show, or when Student Council is decorating for Harvest Ball, or even when the Frisbee guys check that I’ll be available for a few games of “Ultimate” after school.  It’s when I’m greeted with my name or a handshake by Civics students having only known me for a short amount of a time, showing the respect in the relationship between students and teachers.  Or when former students whom I have watched grow up fill me in on their school year, their World or US History class or their college hunt—here they see the mentor relationship between student and teachers.  It’s when Kairos retreatants or Mission Trip students can’t help but to gush about their experience that our guests can feel the mission of our school alive in its students.  It’s the fact that the quarterback of the football team or the lead of the most recent show are also the nicest kids in the hallway, no arrogance, no superiority, just a firm sense of togetherness.  It is all of you in this community that separate us and elevate us to something that you can’t find in any school in Rhode Island and perhaps any other school in the world.


So, in my final morning reflection of this year, a year of great transition for me, let this be a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude.  I praise God for the gift of the Christian Brothers.  I give Him thanks for my colleagues and friends whom I boast about unabashedly for their passion in their subject matter, their care for the students, and their love of education.  And I have profound gratitude for the students that God has brought to La Salle Academy. You are what make this more than a school building, but a home; more than campus, but a community;  more than just students and teachers, but a family.  Thank you for making my job just a little bit easier, for filling me with such pride in what we do here together, and for bringing me such joy 1,691 steps per day.


Let us pray,

Dear Lord, Everything I am today is a gift from you and those you have put into my life to support, guide, and love me.  Everything I can be tomorrow is my gift to myself.  Amen.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever.


Brian Ciccone–Social Studies Teacher and Assistant Director of Admissions


“Your Mountain Is Waiting, So Get On Your Way!”

(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 18 May 2016)

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

When you are about to start high school people will tell you a lot of things. For the most part it will concern how much fun you will have, what decisions to make, what type of friends you should have, and how much work it will be. What they don’t tell you about high school is that your biggest accomplishments won’t be the things that you list on your resume senior year. Rather, they are the little daily things that no one else sees but mean the world to you: The things that make you know that high school has meant something more than just the grades on your report card or the number of activities you do; finding passion and love and knowing that all of this means something in the grand scheme of things.


When I entered La Salle my freshmen year, my life had seemingly no direction. I was without any real friends and unsure of what purpose my life could possibly hold. But, here I am, 4 years later, wanting to be a teacher and poet. Here I am excited to graduate, head off to college, and accept whatever the future may bring. Four years later I have discovered infinite passion and fallen in love with these people that I have met on my path to discovering happiness and purpose in this crazy world. Among some of my biggest accomplishments have been creating slam poems that I am proud of, finding a solid group of friends, and growing in my strong beliefs and morality. Choosing to go to La Salle has been one of the best choices in my life and has not only given me a number of opportunities and the priceless gift of friendship but has also restored my hope.


So, I wanted to take the moment to express the sincerest of gratitude for those here: To all of my teachers who have guided me, Mr. Tanski, Mr. Colahan, Deacon Albanese, Ms. Frega and Mr. Kav, just to name a few; for the ability to share my passion in Voices Ink; for the friends and all of the beautiful memories we have shared; for the moments of laughter and the moments of tears and all things in between. I know that due to all of this I stand here a stronger and better person than when I began.

You see, high isn’t all about where you rank in your class or how many things you have on your resume or how many AP classes you take. It is all about these people and these memories that you will carry with you once it is over. Experiencing the best of times and the worst of times and coming out of both with the person you are figured out just a little bit more. High school is a time to find your passion and what drives you, to become a better person and grow your mind in order to have a more clear view of the world. Whether you discover a love of art or sports, want to be a teacher or a CEO, find a profound love of Catholicism or some other spiritual belief, while high school seems to be polluted with confusion it is also seeping with direction at the end. And while it may not always be an easy path and you might not always know where you fit in, it is truly worth it.


For a large part of our lives 2016 has just been a number—some distant land in the future. But here we are. Different people than the first time that we heard that number. So congratulations, to the kindergarten class of 2004, to the elementary school class of 2009, middle school class of 2012, La Salle Academy class of 2016, college class of 2020, and life class of many years to come!  We’ve made it to a new milestone, and I wish you the best of luck and cannot wait to see the many more things you will have accomplished with each passing year. So, seniors, whatever your biggest accomplishment might be, just know I am proud of you and glad to have traveled this wild road with you. And to the underclassmen: remember to make the most of the time you have left and make time to do the things that are most important to you.


In the words of Dr. Seuss, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

Let us pray…

God, we thank you for the experiences that the class of 2016 has had here at La Salle and for all of their great accomplishments. We ask that you guide and bless each and every one of us as we head off to do even greater things.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle… Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts… Forever.

Samantha Kennedy–Class of 2016


If It Hasn’t Happened—Just Wait!

(Prayer offered for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 16 May 2016)

Good morning.

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


In the book of Ecclesiastes, there is a passage that says, “To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven.” If that sounds familiar, it’s probably you remembering the song DMart plays mid-to-late freshman year. It took until pretty recently for me to understand the accuracy of this line. The people you meet and the things you do have a time and a place. If they haven’t happened yet, it is not their time. I was supposed to go to Montana over Spring Break, but there was a 4 foot snowstorm in our layover, so we had to cancel. It wasn’t the time for me to go to Montana yet.


This applies to friends you make throughout high school as well. You’ll never know when you’re going to make friends. Maybe it’s freshman year and the girl directly behind you moves to talk to her friend, so you talk to the girl two seats behind you. Maybe it’s sophomore year and you see a kid you talked to once prior playing a game you like and you go and talk to him about it. Maybe it’s junior year and that weird kid you kind of knew starts getting funnier and you two get closer. Or, maybe it’s senior year and you decide to strike up a conversation with your Model UN partner from the year prior and realize how much you two have in common. All four of these people are great friends to me now, and they will be among the people I think of when I think back to my four years at the A. The point is, things at La Salle can happen at any time. If this year wasn’t good, wait for the next. It took me until my Junior year to find what I wanted to do with my time, joining Social Concerns and Model UN. Most of the kids I’m close to in La Salle now I met in senior year Heck I would never have guessed that one could make 29 friends in two days (Shout out to Kairos 19) or that such a thing would happen with two months left of school.


So relax!  If it hasn’t happened—just wait, because it either will or wasn’t meant to. And now for some itemized advice. Freshmen, hope this year was good, don’t get sophomore slump. Sophomores, if that club or sport didn’t work out, find something else. Lead retreats, volunteer, try out for a play. Just find something you love and do it.  Juniors, if this year felt dull, dive head first into senior year, and find stuff to do. Either you or your friends drive, so go take a random road trip. Seniors, we’re not done yet. Talk to some new kids, make some more memories before we graduate. The end of classes doesn’t mean the end of friendships.


Let us pray.

Lord, we thank you for the years of La Salle. We thank you for the memories and for the friends. We ask for your guidance as we inch ever closer to graduation, and as we leave our second home to set out and do your will, whatever that may be.  Amen.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Pray for Us.

Live, Jesus, in Our Hearts, Forever!

Anthony Murray–Class of 2016

Step Out of Your Own Shoes

(Prayer offered at a Peace and Justice gathering of students and faculty at La Salle Academy on Thursday evening, 12 May 2016)

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

Our world isn’t a perfect place, bottom line. In a school like La Salle, many of us are sheltered from harsher realities that others face, and it is all too easy not to think about them. However, I’d like to ask you to step out of your own shoes right now, and into those of another. Put yourself in the place of a refugee. Imagine losing your home, your livelihood and any semblance of stability. You would want help.


Imagine the feeling of being rejected – mostly because of how you look, not how you act. How would you feel if you were deprived of your humanity and your rights based on your religion? When we label people, it becomes easy to subjugate and dehumanize them. We used our differences to justify enslaving black people, to justify imprisonment of innocent Japanese citizens, and to deny gay people rights afforded to other members of society. If we allow this kind of division, the peaceful society we claim to wish for will never be realized. And despite the fact we’ll use people who look, behave or worship differently than us as a scapegoat, it will be our own fault.


When we don’t recognize the common thread that runs through every single person – our humanity – it is too easy to grow complacent about events in faraway places, or conditions hidden behind walls in poorer neighborhoods. Let me ask you. If your mother died in Syria, and was labeled “collateral damage”, would you find that acceptable? Would that be “necessary” to you? If not, why are we okay when it is somebody else’s parents, somebody else’s child, somebody else’s life?

To actualize peace, we need to recognize unity despite our differences. I’m not saying that we should dissolve our differences; on the contrary, they should be celebrated. But we need to become tolerant of the things that make us unique and individual. We simply need to recognize the dignity, humanity and sacredness which everybody possesses. By standing together, whether we’re black or white, straight or gay, rich or poor, we can strive for the betterment of society that is in everyone’s best interests.


Jesus taught us to follow his example, and love as he loved us. Muhammad called us to peace when he said “if you kill one other person, it is as though you have killed all of them.” How can we follow in the example of these kinds of great people if we foster hatred? Condone killing? Become complacent with the suffering of our brothers and sisters? We can’t. If we want to strive for the best we can be, we need to be peaceful. And peace means tolerance.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Matthew Calise–Class of 2016

Saint John Baptist de La Salle—Alive and Well!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 13 May 2016)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

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

Sunday, May 15th, is a very important day around the world.  Now, I’ll tell you a little secret: It’s not Mother’s Day (that was last Sunday).  And we might be tempted to say it’s the day of the La Salle Academy Athletic Banquet, but that would not be a reason to celebrate around the world.  We might even know that it is International Families Day (but, to be honest with you, I never heard of that Day).  So what is May 15th?  It is the day on which the Lasallian world celebrates our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

On this day in 1950, the Catholic Church declared him the Patron of all Teachers, having named him a saint fifty years earlier in 1900.

Founder Patron

As you know, this saint is pretty special to this school as well—we are named after him; his statues stand at the top of the stairwell near Room 213 and in the Campus Ministry Center; a brief pictorial biography graces the walls of Heritage Hall near Room 111; his picture is in many classrooms and offices; his name is invoked and called upon to pray for us many times during the day.

Now, if we want to know something about him, I suppose we can read his biography, and many of you have as Freshmen, as have our 6th graders—you know how he was born into a wealthy family, became a priest, lost both parents while in his late teens and became responsible for his brothers and sisters; how he helped with a school for poor boys, got more and more involved in helping to instruct the teachers how to best teach; how he founded more and more schools throughout France; how he experienced some successes and many failures; and, how he left a legacy of schools and Lasallians throughout the world.


Or, if we want to know something more about him, I suppose we could read his writings: his Meditations for teachers, his book on how to conduct a class, his instructions on good manners and religious instruction for young people, his letters, and his own reflections on how God called him little by little to do ordinary things but sometimes at an extraordinary price.  Isn’t that the way God calls us—little by little—to be more caring about family members or friends, or more concerned about those who have less?  Little by little, rather than a lightning bolt from the sky—isn’t that how God calls you?  I know that it is how God calls me.

However, I think that if we really want to know something about him, we ought to play detective and look for his spirit, his charism, as it exists right here at La Salle today.  We might want to look for him in our Seniors as they head out for Christian Service each Wednesday, going to help someone who has less than they, or in our classmates and teachers who spend a week of their vacation time not on a beach in the Caribbean but helping to pick fruit or vegetables in Tennessee or Florida or to rebuild a house in New Orleans, or maybe in our Lasallian Youth members here in school, who after school or on Saturdays feed the homeless and hungry—that is St. La Salle’s spirit alive and well.  We might want to look for him in the teacher who patiently helps us to understand a tough concept, or the counselor who is willing to listen to our concerns and put them into perspective, or the administrator who gives us a second chance because he or she believes that we deserve a break—that too is the spirit of St. La Salle in our midst.  We might want to look for him in the Brothers who have committed 50 years or so to being a Big Brother to young men and women at the cost of having no children of their own, much as St. La Salle did, or in the memory of a Brother Jerome or Brother Gerard or Brother Amian Paul who touched the hearts of so many of us.  We might want to look for him in the coach or moderator who spends hours of extra time with us helping us to develop our special gifts, in the secretary or maintenance person who puts in hard hours that this school run smoothly, in the cafeteria workers who serve us and clean up after us, always with a smile, in the alum who has volunteered to help with Youth Ministry in his or her parish to give something back.  If we want to know something about St. John Baptist de La Salle, all we need to do is just look around us with open eyes and open hearts!!


On April 7th, 1719, on Good Friday, John Baptist de La Salle died.  His last words—words that we see every day in large script above us in the center of our Student Dining Room—his last words were: I adore in all things the will of God in my regard.  In other words: I accept all that God has given to me, the good and the not so good; I trust in God’s goodness and strongly believe that what God wants of me, what he calls me to, is what is right for me and for the world; I thank God for all that he has done for me in my life.


So, let us use his own words as our prayer today:  O God, in all things I adore and honor your will in my regard.  Give me the willingness to listen to your call and give me the courage to answer that call today through a life of faith, service and community.  Amen.


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

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.


Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

A Mother’s Day Greeting


Today, on Mother’s Day, we share with you Pope Francis’s Video Prayer for the month of May.  It’s theme is Respect for Women.  What better way to celebrate this special day than by praying for all women in our lives and, especially, for those who bring into life, nurture life, and care for life as mothers.