Two staff members, Matt Tessmer and Matt Lehman, earned DeLaSalle’s highest annual honors for staff, highlighting an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the Founder’s Day Mass and Celebration on April 25. In addition, 13 current juniors were recognized as recipients of 2018 Alumni Association scholarships, and one staff member and three students were recognized for awards they had earned at the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Awards Ceremony on April 17.
The annual Founder’s Day Mass gives the school community an opportunity to honor its Lasallian heritage and the life and legacy of the school’s namesake, St. John Baptist de la Salle. School chaplain, Father Joe Kuharski, celebrated the Mass and offered a moving homily about welcoming the presence of God into each of our hearts and then seeing that presence in all we encounter. Certainly this is a primary attribute of all Lasallian schools and a core philosophy in how we form community at DeLaSalle.
Following the liturgy, President, Barry Lieske, and Principal, Jim Benson, began the annual awards ceremony which is part of Founder’s Day. Since 1988, DeLaSalle has honored the Distinguished Lasallian Educator on this day. In 1995, the school began the Leimandt Excellence in Teaching Award program as well. See past recipients here.
Students rose to their feet in loud applause as mathematics teacher, Matt Tessmer, received the 2018 Liemandt Excellence in Teaching Award (LETA) by vote of his teaching colleagues. While presenting the award, Mr. Benson noted that “Matt is highly respected and appreciated by students. He knows that meaningful teaching starts with getting to know your student’s story. Known to be demanding in the right ways, especially regarding effort and accountability, Matt gives as much or more than he receives every day, with countless hours devoted to individual tutoring, and designing creative lesson plans and creative methods to engage students. His calm determination to succeed is an inspiration to everyone.”
Director of Communications, Matt Lehman `01, won the Distinguished Lasallian Educator award, by vote of the entire DeLaSalle staff. In the presentation, Mr. Benson said, “Matt shows by example what it means to be Lasallian, understanding first and foremost Lasallians are called to serve others. Specifically this community member exemplifies the Lasallian core principles of dignity and respect in all personal interactions with students and parents. This person creates community by making those around him feel welcome and supported by giving a hand, offering constructive feedback, and sharing his lively humor. “ Sustained applause from colleagues and students accompanied Lehman as he moved from the second-floor balcony to the main floor to accept the award.
In addition to the annual awards, the school was able to salute four women for their achievement in technology programs – librarian and staff mentor to the group, Judith Roggow, as well as students Gabrielle Hill `19, Christine Ohenzuwa `19, and Daryl Yap `18. All four earned their awards earlier in the month.
As become an annual tradition on this day, DeLaSalle and the DeLaSalle Alumni Association recognized 13 students as recipients of Alumni Association Legacy Scholarships, with three specific scholarships awarded in memory of Brother David Barth, FSC `61 and Wally Hinz `60 and, and in honor of Denny Farrell `62. In addition to the three names scholarships, there are three levels to the Alumni Association Legacy scholarships – Gold, Silver, and Bronze. All 11th grade students who have had a relative graduate from DeLaSalle are eligible to apply, and the Association received well over 30 applications from qualifying candidates. We congratulate the following recipients, selected by members of the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee after review of their applications:
The late Brother David Barth, FSC `61 not only attended DeLaSalle but he worked at his alma mater for 29 years as an administrator and teacher. Hundreds of young alums include Brother David on the short list of the most meaningful teachers they knew in their lifetimes. In honor of his enduring impact, a named endowment was created after his passing in 2017, and a scholarship will now be given annually to a student who is deeply committed to exploring the meaning of faith and spirituality, promotes intellectual advancement and who displays the academic excellence Brother David so valued. Our first-ever Brother David Barth Scholarship recipient is Maria Spack `19.
The Wally Hinz `60 Scholarship was established last year in honor of Wally and his long-standing support of DeLaSalle and its students. Applicants were evaluated on their academics, community involvement, leadership and their Islander spirit – a spirit which Wally exuded throughout his life. The 2018 recipient of the Wally Hinz Memorial Scholarship is Cormac Calcaterra `19.
The Farrell Scholarship was established several years ago by the Alumni Association in honor of its long-time president, Denny Farrell `62. Denny has lived an esteemed life of service to thousands of people, including his alma mater, DeLaSalle. Applicants were evaluated on their academics, community service, church involvement and volunteer positions, and the recipient was chosen based on outstanding service to the school and surrounding community. Denny was on hand to personally present the Ferrell Scholarship to the 2018 recipient, Peter Ortiz `19.
Finally DeLaSalle Alumni Legacy Scholarships were awarded to junior students who will receive the scholarship in their senior year at DeLaSalle. Students were evaluated on their academics, extra-curricular activities, community service, church involvement and volunteer service. In 2018, the Association received over 30 applications and it made decisions by the committee quite difficult. There are three levels to this award, and we congratulate those recognized by the Alumni Assocaition.
Gold-Level Scholarship – Victoria Brimacomb `19
Silver-Level Scholarships – Reina Balley `19, Maria Spack `19, and Jake Sullivan `19
Bronze-Level Scholarships – Dana Corbin `19, Maddie Duca `19, Ava Langums `19, Nico Martinez `19, Maddy McCabe `19, Paige Mueffelman `19, and Dan Schmidt `19
The morning concluded as it usually does, with an all-school ice cream social, and yet another chance for students and staff to not only celebrate the emerging sunshine and heat of the season, but also to celebrate a shared mission and each other’s company.