The traditions of DeLaSalle and Lasallian schools around the world continue in 2020! As we do every year, our community celebrated Founder’s Day, May 15, the traditional day to celebrate our the life and legacy of our founder, St. John Baptist de la Salle, and our association with Lasallian schools celebrating this day in over 80 countries around the world.
This year, in an online format, we began with a brief video capturing the remarkable vision of St. de La Salle and the enduring work of the Christian Brothers, the religious order founded by the Brothers to run his schools. Our own Brother Dylan Perry joined with Lasallians in schools across the Midwest district in this testimony to the educational model we hold dear.
Following the introduction, Father Kevin Kenney `78, a member of the DeLaSalle Board of Trustees and pastor of St. Olaf parish in downtown Minneapolis, led our community through Mass. Offering the Mass in the Chapel in Christian Brothers Hall, Father Kevin was joined by several students online with readings, petitions and hymns. The online Mass, the message, the mission – all of which are centerpieces to the dignity of each person in our community – were important reminders of what connects us all the more at a time when we cannot gather in the same space.
Following Mass, president Barry Lieske and principal Jim Benson led the annual recognition/award ceremonies that accompany the Founder’s Day Mass.
Recognizing Staff For Many Contributions
Two staff members, Alison Post and Sedrick McBounds, earned DeLaSalle’s highest annual staff honors in 2020. Social Studies teacher Alison Post won the 2020 Liemandt Excellence in Teaching Award (LETA) by vote of her teaching colleagues. While presenting the award, principal Jim Benson noted that, “Alison is a model of exemplary behavior and unbiased opinion for her students. who she works closely with demonstrating compassion while setting very high standards. She is well respected by her students and is constantly looking for new ways to engage their learning.” One project that Alison received accolades for challenges students to develop their own political party and to run a campaign for a presidential candidate on the party’s ticket. In addition to her teaching duties, Alison co-moderates the Women of Words book club.
Sedrick McBounds, a longtime member of the school’s maintenance staff, earned the Distinguished Lasallian Educator award by vote of his colleagues across the entire staff. Colleagues said of Sedrick, “This person has a reputation of being so kind and compassionate with the students while providing them structure in projects school. [He] radiates positivity and openness, and the students see him as someone they can rely on for support and guidance. He is a tireless worker to provide a suitable learning environment for students. The Distinguished Lasallian Educator award recognizes a staff member who sees the Lasallian school as a place of educational excellence, which shares in the mission of the Catholic Church.
President Lieske also took time to recognize Joe Rogers for completing his two years of service to DeLaSalle as a Lasallian Volunteer. Joe will return home to his native Pennsylvania this summer and begin a Masters’ program with the University of Notre Dame’s ACE program. ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) places teachers in Catholic schools across the country while they complete their graduate study, and several De alums have been accepted into the program over the years. For Joe Rogers, he will be closer to home and continuing his marvelous work at DeLaSalle as a Theology teacher. We will miss his contributions to the classroom and his work as a Lasallian Ministry associate and assistant in the Learning Support Office.
We also recognized assistant principal, Martha Coughlan, for reaching the milestone of 25 years of service at DeLaSalle this year. Ms. Coughlan came to De as an English teacher, known by many alums for her many years of teaching AP English 11, before transitioning to her current administrative role where she provides support and expertise to all teachers, students and parents, as well as development of curriculum and programming.
Top Senior Award Winners – the DeLaSalle and Islander Awards – are Announced
For more than four decades, the most prestigious awards earned by DeLaSalle seniors are the “DeLaSalle Awards” and “Islander Awards,” as they recognize stellar and broad contributions to the community and school’s legacy in areas of academic performance, personal character, and service to school and community. By receiving the most votes of the entire staff and the entire senior class, approximately ten percent of each graduating class is recognized in this manner; the two seniors with the most votes from peers and staff earn the “DeLaSalle Award.”
The “DeLaSalle Awards” for 2020 go to Sydney Riley and Jalen Travis, and fourteen other graduates have earned “Islander Awards” for their many contributions: Maya Adelgren, Jacoby Andrews, Megan Benson, Nick Ericksen, Eden Feleke, JunFen Freihammer, Lucy Lyngen, Calvin Mattson, David McComas, Hannah Omodt, Kennedi Roberts, Lucy Suek, Diana Truong, and Jamie Wheeler. Congratulations to all 16 awardees! They are to be recognized again as part of graduation ceremonies next week, as other senior awards are announced.