La Salle Academy’s March Recap

Within the last couple of weeks, the work of two researchers came to my attention. Dr. Ilana Horwitz is a sociologist, theologian and faculty member at Tulane. Dr. Lisa Miller is a scientist, clinical psychologist and faculty member at Columbia. Gleaning a bit from their work, I have a new insight that the adjectives “college-preparatory” and “Catholic” used to describe our school are more symbiotic than I realized.

Dr. Horwitz reported in a New York Times op-ed that “teenage boys from working-class families, regardless of race, who were regularly involved in their church and strongly believed in God were twice as likely to earn bachelor’s degrees as moderately religious or nonreligious boys.” Dr. Miller writes in her book, The Awakened Brain, that “our brain has a natural inclination toward and docking station for spiritual awareness.”

To provide our La Salle students with a comprehensive education, we provide cognitive and affective opportunities intended to connect with that docking station! This past month, there were numerous ways we sought to nurture the faith development of our students beyond their experience in the religion classroom and the twice-daily prayers over the PA that open and close the school day.

A mural bringing awareness to the Lenten season was erected in our hallway by Ms. Mollie O’Mara and her art students. The mural is accompanied by a basket of Lenten intentions, to which students and faculty can contribute.

A school-wide prayer service for peace expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine occurred and our students created cards to be delivered to our neighbors at St. George Ukrainian Academy.

Several groups of students accompanied Brother Richard, our Campus Minister, to volunteer at local soup kitchens. The Stations of the Cross were prayed in our chapel. The three sections of sophomore religion students participated in a day-long retreat. A fundraiser brought in more than $500 to support our Lasallian twin school in Nyeri, Kenya. In collaboration with our local 9th Precinct of the NYPD, we collected medical supplies for distribution to victims of the war in Ukraine.

La Salle’s first Spanish Spelling Bee, or Primer Certamen de Deletreo, was held this month under the direction of our Language Department, Dr. Carmen Orama and Mr. Cristian Perez ’16. A panel of guest judges evaluated ten student participants. Juniors Anddy C. (pictured), Kelvin L. and Jeffrey A. placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Women’s History Month in March celebrates women for their remarkable achievements in all aspects of life. The latest edition of The Cardinal focuses on a select group of women who have demonstrated devotion and resilience. They are the embodiment of this year’s theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” Read the issue on our website.

Join us on Monday, May 16th at North Hempstead Country Club on Long Island for the 26th Annual Cardinal Classic Golf Outing. All proceeds will benefit scholarships for our students. If you’re not a golfer, consider attending the evening reception or purchasing a sponsorship. Contact Ms. Daria Coney at 212-475-8940 ext. 301 or [email protected] for more information.

We have been connecting with many alumni through virtual reunions on Zoom. On April 22nd we will host our first in-person reunion to celebrate the 50th graduation anniversary for the Classes of 1970, 1971 and 1972. Graduates from these classes can purchase tickets here or contact Ms. Zenaida Sonberg at 212-475-8940 ext. 205 or [email protected] to learn more.

Of course, the witness of our teachers and staff members has a powerful impact on our students’ faith development and spiritual growth that I referenced at the start of this message. Voluntary Friday morning prayer for faculty and staff in our chapel is an event that regularly engages close to half of the adults in the building. The annual retreat for faculty and staff occurred off-campus in March, during which we reflected on Saint Joseph as a role model. As Saint La Salle told his first followers, “Preach by example, and practice before the eyes of the young what you wish them to accept.”

Blessings to you as we come to the end of the Lenten season and experience the great feast of Easter!

Brother Thomas P. Casey, FSC

P.S. I will write more about the college-preparatory dimension next month, but in the meantime, visit our website to see the more than 100 schools where members of our Class of 2022 have been accepted!