Dear families and friends,
Over the April school holidays I was privileged to attend the Asia-Pacific Lasallian Educators Conference in North Sydney with other educational leaders from our region. One of the highlights of the conference was hearing Brother Armin Luistro, the Superior General, speak about his vision for Lasallian schools. In his keynote address, he spoke about the challenges of strengthening our Lasallian values or DNA, in line with the Lasallian theme for the 2022 – 2023 liturgical year “Lasallian DNA: What drives us to serve”. He encouraged all delegates to reflect on the following questions:
- What does it mean to be Lasallian today?
- Who am I as a Lasallian?
- What value does the Lasallian charism add to society through its unique approach to Catholic education?
- What values characterize the Lasallian mission?
- How can Lasallians contribute to Pope Francis’ call to enter into synodal dialogue?
Br Armin clearly articulated the need to innovate to ensure that our Lasallian DNA is not lost as we see the dwindling numbers of consecrated Brothers. He encouraged us to work with our school community, to ensure that collectively we live the Lasallian mission of supporting through service, those on the margins both within our schools and beyond. This mission is not mine alone but of every member of our Lasallian community in Middle Swan. All of us have something to offer which can make our community a better place to the extent that we are prepared to share what we have.
Throughout the year there have been many opportunities for me to witness members of our community who have been prepared to share what they have to support other community members and others in need. Some of these opportunities present themselves in the everyday actions of our students, parents and staff, helping a peer with a broken leg navigate the quadrangle by carrying their books; parents supporting the work of the College through positive interactions with staff and other parents; and staff going above and beyond to ensure that students are provided with opportunities that help them develop as well rounded Christian youth who will make a difference to our future.
Other opportunities present themselves in the activities that are part of our College calendar such as:
Make a Difference Day (MAD Day)
We are truly blessed to have a patron saint, St John Baptist de la Salle, who modelled for us all the life that Christ asks us to live. He looked beyond self to determine how he lived a life in service to God. His work to change the lives of children in poverty throughout France reminds us that we all have a responsibility to care for those that have less. This is the reason for MAD Day, which we celebrated on Friday 5 May 2023.
Through our students’ service to others and fundraising through stalls and activities, we will be able to support less fortunate members in our local community through the Archbishop’s LifeLink appeal and our ‘twin school’ in Pakistan, Sant Singh Wala. This Lasallian school and their students have very few resources, so our fundraising will support the building of a Science classroom. I know that for me the highlight of MAD Day was our students and staff coming together to work as one to improve the lives of others with such a positive spirit of support.
Touching Hearts – Christian Service Learning Program
As a community we recognise that people do not just need financial assistance, but also, ‘actions’ can improve the lives of others. Providing for those in our community is key to our Lasallian story. Over the last few months our students have been showing Christ’s love to others within our community through small actions that make a difference to the lives of others.
Bringing joy through your gifts: Jesus Christ Superstar
Our College production is an important part of the history and social fabric of our vibrant school community. Our students, staff, parents, and the local community all working together, for each other, to achieve a common goal – this is the Lasallian way. Our talented cast and crew have worked tirelessly for months to bring this production to life. They have poured their hearts and souls into every aspect of the show, from the choreography to the set design to the musical performances. Their hard work and commitment to excellence are a testament to the La Salle College values of faith, excellence and service.
Our students have been well supported on the journey by our dedicated, passionate, and talented Arts and Music staff Ms Shellie Rodriguez (Director) Ms Samantha Ashman (Musical Director) Ms Heidi Lake (Vocal Director), Ms Virginia Bochrinis (Choreographer), Ms Pauline Van Der Westhuizen (Costume Designer) and Mrs Helen Gordon (Administration). There were also many staff involved in the production team and I extend my sincere thanks to all of them. As many of us would know, large scale productions also require community volunteers and I want to thank our amazing parent volunteers for the countless tasks they have actioned to bring this production to the stage tonight.
Reflecting on our Lasallian DNA: Where to from here?
At the heart of our Lasallian DNA are connections; between peers; between students and teachers, between teachers and parents, between those who work together for the greater good; all are called, in the words of De La Salle to perform the miracle of “touching hearts”.
It is through the quality of our connections that we “touch hearts”; in the way we reach out and support each other; in the way we treat each other; in the smile of welcome that we give to each other; in the way we speak to, and about each other. To the extent that we treat each other with respect and compassion, here at the College we become part of the miracle of “touching hearts”. Clearly, this is not exclusive to Lasallians – all are challenged to be respectful and compassionate irrespective of our religious beliefs; it is part of being fully human but, nonetheless, it is one of the characteristics that identifies us as being Lasallian and helps to create an authentic Lasallian community.
So, I challenge all within our community to reflect on the questions posed by our Superior General, Br Armin, to ensure that we strengthen our Lasallian DNA: that drives us to serve.
Ms Giovanna Fiume | College Principal