The Lasallian spirit is alive and well at DeLaSalle, as we celebrated educational excellence at our annual Founder’s Day Mass on April 26. Founder’s Day is celebrated each year in Lasallian schools worldwide, to honor the legacy and vision of the school’s namesake, St. John Baptist de la Salle and to recognize the religious order of teachers he founded, the Brothers of the Christian Schools (or more commonly, the Christian Brothers).
At our school, it’s tradition to gather the entire community for Mass and afterward, to recognize staff and several students for exceptional work and service. Father Michael Joncas celebrated the 2017 Founder’s Day Mass, joined by school chaplain, Father Joe Kuharski, as con-celebrant.
Following the liturgy, four staff members were recognized, including the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Lasallian Educator and the Liemandt Excellence in Teaching Award, known as the LETA.
The Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award is presented in Lasallian schools throughout the United States and Canada each year, by the Regional Board of Education of the Christian Brothers. The annual selection is made by nominations of the entire staff at DeLaSalle and is based upon the following criteria: (1) The recipient must be an educational minister in a Lasallian school for a minimum of five years and not received the award within the past ten; (2) The recipient must work in association with the school community to foster Gospel values in the lives of staff and students; and (3) The recipient must see the Lasallian school as a place of educational excellence, which shares in the mission of the Catholic Church.
DeLaSalle’s Distinguished Lasallian Educator for 2017 is Monica Kocourek.
The LETA was established in 1995 by Diane Liemandt, through the Liemandt Foundation. By vote of the teaching staff, the LETA is given annually to a DeLaSalle classroom teacher, to recognize outstanding accomplishment in the following areas: commitment to the DeLaSalle mission; classroom management skills; care for students, respect and rapport; curriculum enhancement and advancements; innovative teaching strategies and effort; and participation in continuing education and personal growth.
The 2017 LETA was awarded to Gina Hegle.
Two Lasallian volunteers, John Schatz and Viviana Ortiz, were also recognized for their post-graduate service to DeLaSalle. Mr. Schatz will be attending law school at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ms. Ortiz will be spending another year in service at a site in New York City.
Five students were honored for exemplary service to the broader community, as part of the Giving Tree program at DeLaSalle. The Giving Tree was established in 2009 by DeLaSalle supporters, Tom `56 and Debbie Healey. DeLaSalle students are able to take their service to the community and pay it forward. After completion of a service project, an anonymous DeLaSalle student in need is awarded a Giving Tree scholarship in the name of the student completing the service.
The students honored at Founder’s Day were Johanna Bergh `17, Sofia Cruz`17, Efrata Feleke `18, Hunter Lankford `17, and Genna Villavicencio `17. Their names will be placed on the Givign Tree display in the A building entry.
Fifteen current juniors were honored as Alumni Scholarship winners, receiving scholarships for the 2017-18 school year from the DeLaSalle Alumni Association. Each student was honored for their quality application and essay, academic success, participation and leadership at DeLaSalle, and service to the broader community. Congratulations to Alicia Boucha `18, Celeste Cervantes `18, Madi Gebeck `18, Lauren Hanson `18, Joseph Hennen `18, Lauren Jenson `18, Karina Karbo-Wright `18, Lizbet Martinez-Port `18, Matthew Smeaton `18, Dacoda Speidel `18, Ben Steiner `18, Golda Stewart `18, Jessica Wheeler `18, and Peter Wild-Crea `18.
Finally, Ebony Owens `17 was recognized as the winner of the 2017 Horatio Alger Scholarship, covering full college tuition costs, the sixth time in DLS history that one of our students earned this national award. DeLaSalle’s first ever Horatio Alger Scholarship winner, Vernon “Chico” Rowland `96 came back to his alma mater to present the award.