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A Principal Reflection: What does it mean to be a Lasallian school?

Posted by Tim Stuck on 29 June 2021

Perhaps the best answer to the question 'What does it mean to be a Lasallian school?' is.. 'A Lasallian school is a school that is attuned to God's living presence, trusts God's providence, operates with creativity and fortitude, cooperates with the movements of the Holy Spirit, incarnates Christian dynamics, strives to be practical, is devoted to accessible, comprehensive education, is committed to the poor, operates in association, and advances the role of the laity in the Church.'

It is the kind of place where the miracle of touching the hearts of students occurs directly, deeply and daily, across the board and at all levels. It is a place like Francis Douglas Memorial College.

Living what it means to be Lasallian daily is vital if we want to be authentic. In recent weeks we celebrated our founder St. John Baptist De La Salle. A student led liturgy was held in the college gymnasium and our traditional collection of food for the local food bank was displayed. Thank you to our community for the generosity that you have once again shown.

As Lasallian educators at Francis Douglas Memorial College, we have been gifted and chosen to serve as role models, mentors, and guardians for all the young men who have been entrusted to our care. Our role as teachers is to help protect, guide, support our young men and walk alongside them in times of trouble, trauma, fear and pain and see them transition safely to their desired pathway.

Two of our Lasallian core values are creating an inclusive environment and respecting all people. At the College we value a united community where diversity is respected, where no one is left out and everyone is accepted so each person can grow. During our Founder's Day liturgy two fine young students shared their speeches about racism and celebrating diversity. Ignatius Sofeni-Williams and Germaine Grewal..you were simply outstanding.

I have included parts of Germaine's speech called 'An Embroidered Hereafter'. Germaine talks about the Phulkari, the indigenous embroidery of Punjab. His words are a reminder to us all about strengthening our community and respecting all.

"Gazing at the phulkari's bright colours, I saw that they were separated, yet all harmoniously working together to give the phulkari its eye catching, yet simple patterns. The phulkari is telling us that, like itself, a society that stands out is one in which all peoples, regardless of colour or creed, coexist together. If our society is to be an eye catching phulkari, we must accept one another and celebrate our differences, not hide them, for we will not stand out if our colours are all the same. Let us celebrate each other's cultures so the colours of New Zealand aren't left incomplete, shining bright for the world to see.

...every thread used in the mosaic was silk, but dyed a different colour. Don't you see, in the same way, we are all one human race, but dyed in various colours that are our cultures. The phulkari's colours are all equally proud of being red, green or orange, all flaunting with pride, yet they also know that they are the same silk from the same silkworms.

..perhaps the greatest lessons we can learn from t h e p h u l k a r i , i s t h e foundation on which it is woven. The phulkari's colourful threads and pat terns are nothing without the sturdy cloth, which must be strong, resilient and woven tight. This cloth is what our society must strive to become. We as a nation must stop treating reality as binary, and realise we don't have to be the same, even if we are all one humanity at the end of the day. These delusions are all threats that weaken the foundation cloth, and we must uphold our common reality in order to weave a new cloth ready to embroider with our colours.

So come my friends, let us together weave and stitch a new phulkari. Come, with this shawl as our guide, let us strive to create a brighter future where no one's race or creed matters any longer. Come, may this be a phulkari that catches the attention of the world, standing united, paddling as one.'

We are all unique individuals within this community and we must continue to be kind and care for one another. This term has been another special one filled with many achievements and active participation. Our students are showing support for each other to thrive and that is essential if each is to reach his potential. The sign on our street frontage displays a Lasallian expression Touching Hearts, Teaching Minds, Transforming Lives. Each of those positive actions depends on the previous one. Because students and teachers show love and respect for each other an open heart leads to active learning which sets students up for more successful lives.

John Baptist de La Salle - Pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts - forever

Author:Tim Stuck
About: Principal, Francis Douglas Memorial College, New Plymouth
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