(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 2 February 2017—4th day of Catholic Schools Week)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
This is my 9th year teaching at La Salle – my first without a child in the building. I arrived at the beginning of my Amanda’s sophomore year. I will always appreciate the grace and maturity she displayed when she got the unnerving news that Dad would not only be driving her to school every day, but coming inside as well.
As it turned out, teaching here helped me foster a deeper relationship with my children. For that, I am forever grateful.
Mrs. Pare and I raised shy kids – La Salle made sure they didn’t stay that way.
Here, Amanda, developed an appreciation for science and psychology. I saw her embrace opportunities – like a Service Trip to Montana – to touch the lives of others. Today, she is an RN, and I can tell, a caring one. She is compassionate. She enjoys listening to her patients and talking to them. She has received letters from family members, thanking her for brightening a dark room.
In Carlene, I watched as a shy little girl blossomed into a confident student, who, like her big sister, seized opportunities. She is deathly afraid of flying — most comfortable at home with family, yet she summoned the courage and traveled to Arizona for a Service Trip and later, to Spain.
In Jimmy, I watched as another shy kid came into his own. I saw a bit of myself. Imagine what a feeling it is as a father to be able to say my son and I combined to score 634 points while playing varsity basketball here. O.K., so that breaks down to 630 for him… 4 for me – but let’s not get bogged down in detail.
I tell those stories because people in this building made them happen… I wonder if they know.
I wonder if Ms. Estes knows that Amanda’s compassion for her patients – that penchant for listening — that is a piece of her in my daughter.
I wonder if Ms. Chapman, Mr. Ciccone, Ms. Doyle, or Mr. Martinez know that Carlene stepped out of her comfort zone and soared because she felt safe and secure in their presence.
I wonder if Mr. McParlin or Mr. Simonelli knew just how shy Jimmy was – that he was not comfortable as a leader. But by connecting to him, they helped him reach his true potential.
I wonder if Ms. Frega knew how important it was that her Freshmen English class was so interesting, especially to a reluctant reader.
I wonder if Ms. Cottle knows that my children always – always – mention her kindness and coolness when they talk about their time here.
I wonder if Mr. Heroux knew how much my girls learned from working in that dentist office.
I wonder if Trainer Rob knew that the 10 minutes he spent working on Jimmy’s mangled ankle one Sunday afternoon gave a kid a chance to secure a lifelong memory.
I could go on and on.
Oh, it wasn’t always warm and fuzzy.
Amanda scoffed at dress code. Right, Mr. Finnegan? Carlene, well she actually didn’t give me any trouble. Jimmy… let me put it this way.
For the entirety of last year, if you watched closely as I arrived at work — you would have noticed that as I walked along the first floor corridor each morning to sign in – my pace would quicken as I pulled even with the entrance to student life and my neck would turn to the left where I would pretend to be admiring our beautiful wall of photographs. What I was really doing was avoiding eye contact with my friend, Mr. McVey – Jimmy’s dean.
In the end, I guess what I wanted to say is that the lessons of Algebra II, British Literature, Biology, History, Spanish, and all the other classes are so important. There is a practicality to every class taught in this building.
But more important, are the lessons being taught – no, being lived here every day — that are more important to our success in life… lessons of kindness and compassion, of touching the lives of others.
Let Us Pray
Dear God, help us to connect with one another, to learn those lessons of kindness and compassion and to carry those lessons out into a world that so desperately needs them.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle… pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever!
Michael Pare–English teacher, Alumnus (Class of 1985), and Parent of three alums (Amanda , Carlene , and James )