2011 Feasibility Study Background Statement
De La Salle High School is a Catholic school for boys, founded in 1965 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools (the De La Salle Christian Brothers). Our roots go back to 17th‐century France and the founder of the Brothers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and we are members of the global family of Lasallian schools that now serves nearly a million students in more than eighty countries. Lasallian educators are student‐centered, both supporting and challenging students as they become mature, responsible members of their society and their church. De La Salle High School helps students to develop the qualities of intellect and character that will allow them to live lives of achievement and service. To this end, we work together as a learning community—the teachers and administrators and coaches, the students and their parents and extended families, and the many devoted friends and supporters of this educational mission.
It is a mission of proven effectiveness. De La Salle now has nearly 10,000 alumni, all over the world, working in a myriad of professions, serving others in varied ways. As boys, they came from many social and economic backgrounds, and now they pursue a wide array of vocations, having been able to build their lives upon the solid foundation of a De La Salle education. We are gratified to know that so many men have benefited from the Spartan Brotherhood, have embodied the De La Salle values of “faith, integrity, and scholarship,” and are living out the Lasallian motto “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
Many, in fact, have returned here to serve: 27 alumni currently work at the school as faculty or staff, dozens more act in a volunteer capacity as coaches and mentors and helpers; hundreds more are generous and reliable donors, and many alumni fathers are sending their own sons to De La Salle. Now in our 54th year, De La Salle High School has become an integral and increasingly valued part of the local educational landscape.
Applicants for admission are consistently double the number of available seats; the graduating classes are 98 percent college‐bound; and the strong tradition of service among our students and staff has benefited countless local and regional service groups.
De La Salle’s theatrical, musical, cultural, and sporting events are popular, its fundraising events are well attended, and the School has received regional and national recognition for its excellence in several areas.
Our focused outreach to lower-income families has brought into the Spartan Brotherhood many boys for whom a De La Salle education and preparation for college would otherwise have been out of reach. Our history is one of persistent devotion to our mission resulting in verifiable success in serving the genuine needs of the young people of Contra Costa County.
De La Salle High School is a Roman Catholic educational community where students are loved, instructed, and guided, in a Lasallian tradition of education that has more than three centuries of experience in discerning and addressing the genuine educational needs of students. The school helps young men to develop spiritually, academically, physically, and socially through the promotion of a vital faith life, strong academic programs, a wide range of activities in the arts, culture, and recreation, and many opportunities for the service of others.
In an environment that is moral, caring and joyful, the school affirms the dignity of each of its students as an individual. The school welcomes boys with varied academic needs and of diverse social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Our goal is to prepare all students for a full and rich life after high school, including a successful preparation for and transition to higher education. Our academic requirements meet or exceed the admissions requirements of public and private university systems nationwide, and our college counseling department is well staffed and highly trained. Students take an array of required courses, with a full complement of electives, and have many Advanced Placement and Honors courses available. Among the required courses are four years of Religious Studies.
These classes, and our dynamic Campus Ministry office, with its activities, liturgies, and student retreats, combine to give students a firm knowledge of the Catholic faith, an appreciation of other faith traditions, and many opportunities to advance on their own spiritual journeys. In keeping with the Catholic Church’s “preferential option for the poor,” De La Salle encourages students in the habit of serving those in need, and offers a variety of service‐oriented activities that enrich our students’ educational experience while meeting real needs in the community. Service learning projects are designed to develop students’ sense of social and personal responsibility, increase their understanding of the conditions that warrant service, and challenge them to recognize their potential as agents of social change.
Briefly stated, our mission is to offer every student enrolled at our school, whatever his financial or personal situation may be, the chance to develop into a De La Salle graduate, because, as it says on the portal of the Kenneth H. Hofmann Student Center, beneath which our students and faculty walk every day, “A De La Salle Graduate is a Man of Faith, Integrity, and Scholarship.”
The Future of De La Salle
De La Salle has consistently distinguished itself as a school that provides the highest quality educational environment for its students, and we continuously assess how we are fulfilling our commitment in that regard. Several years ago we made a major investment in facilities improvement, creating the Kenneth H. Hofmann Student Center with the generous support of Ken Hofmann and many members of the De La Salle community. This superb facility has truly become the heart of the school community and has proved its value many times. Building upon that experience, and after careful consideration, De La Salle is contemplating a new campaign that would be designed to raise significant capital for two vital purposes. One: to secure a financial aid endowment that will assure access to this school for all qualified students. Two: to bring our science and technology facilities and our performing arts facility up to the standard of excellence that our students deserve.
We understand that our plans may take many years to fully realize but we are committed to the continued success of our students and believe this is the best path forward. We are eager to receive your feedback about our strategic plan through the Feasibility and Planning Study process.