Posted by Julia Goonan
on 30 April 2020
Charles Waeda is the Principal of St La Salle Wonder Kids, an Early Childhood centre in Vanimo in Papua New Guinea. As a father of 6 children and ten years working in the Education industry, Charles brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role. We sat down with Charles to talk about all things Lasallian within his role and life.
Tell me about your call to ministry. How do you live out the Lasallian Values?
My call to the ministry is very raw but timely when late Br. Ignatius Kennedy ask me to join the Lasallian Family in Papua New Guinea in 1999. Back then, it was teachers and students only from Holy Trinity Teacher's College. I was asked to help with the Lasallian activities in Vanimo. From then and there until now, I am still living the Lasallian value after twenty-one years.
What does being a Lasallian mean to you?
Being a Lasallian means so much to me, for someone who never graduated from a Teacher's College to teaching now for ten years is because of what I learnt from Lasallian gatherings for twenty-one years. The teaching of our patron Saint had a significant impact now in my teaching career.
Who is your role model? Why do you look up to this person?
My first role model is Br Ignatius Kenny who inspired me when he invited me to join the Lasallian family. The second role model is Maureen Amonill, the Mother of my children and who I have been working within the Lasallian Mission for the last twenty-one years. I have six children, the first a girl then two boys and another three girls. Unfortunately, I lost a girl named ChaSalle, after the patron saint and the first letters Cha is from my name.
What is your current role in the Lasallian Family? Explain?
I am the Principal for St La Salle Wonder Kids Early Childhood Centre and have been working here for ten years now. Vanimo town is a small tropical town of Papua New Guinea lying on the north-west part of the country and sharing the land border with Djayapura in Indonesia. The school is on the north tip of Vanimo town on beautiful white sandy beachfront which meets the Pacific Ocean.
The school is small and with semi-permanent material buildings. Still, it has a long record of graduating some finest students who are now performing academically high in primary and secondary schools in Vanimo, Sandaun province. The school has three teachers, five staff members and 75 students. Apart from my school duties and me as a single parent heading the household, I am the Area Coordinator for Vanimo Lasallian.
How are Lasallian value carried out in your school/work?
In my school, Lasallian values are taught and are encouraged through practice in the school. One typical example is the students in my school are given leadership roles to lead or conduct morning assembly every morning, reciting the prayers and songs of De La Salle. In this way, the younger child learns from the senior student and gradually gains confidence.
What are three challenges you currently face in your role in the Lasallian Family? How do you overcome them?
The three main challenges are non-attendance of meetings, lack of full participation from members and communication. I have come up with a plan to include all members in the original drafting of the yearly plan, for them to take ownership of the programme and fully participate in the activities effectively.
What are the challenges facing students in Papua New Guinea today?
The challenges facing the student in Papua New Guinea is lack of direction and proper guidance which sees or contributes to a lot of school discipline behaviour problems. The other sad thing is when teachers produce results, only a few students and parents, including the education division comes back to acknowledge teachers. We must be treated with respect because we do a lot in the building of this nation.
What resources could you use to enhance your role from the Lasallian community?
I could use the Youth through the Lasallian Youth Ministry programmes as an eye-opener for the community. Then and when youths move, they are more significant in numbers, and they have the energy to drive activities.
In your school, how do you revitalise teaching and ensure formation and empowerment of Lasallians?
In my school, we use treats to encourage our students to perform in class. In the event in which one behaves, we give them soft toys or sweets, balloons or other small stuff of children's interest. The things are bought and placed in a decorated shoe box which is named the "magic box". My little school is a Lasallian school, and we teach the guiding principals and all the De La Salle songs and prayers. We involve our parents in all our activities, and they are also well versed with all our prayers and songs.