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May 2024 - David Holquin, President

May 2024 - David Holquin, President

Dear De La Salle Community:

When I sit down to write my Spartan Spotlight articles, I often start with a blank sheet and write down what has or will happen in a four-week window. If a theme appears, I run with it. This month, our list had well over twenty things, none with a clear theme. I wondered how to make sense of it, and then two ideas emerged: accompaniment and multi-hyphenates.   

Accompaniment means that we walk alongside others, never ahead or behind. Like the Emmaus story, we journey with others as a community. Being a part of the Lasllian mission means we do so “together and by association.” None of our work is done alone, even when we feel lonely. I think what makes De La Salle High School such a unique and sacred place is the people who accompany one another.

Lasallian Spirituality Today spoke aptly about our educators, saying, “Inspired Lasallian educators are the indispensable and decisive element for the realization of Lasallian education’s ends. “If there is anything that distinguishes the Lasallian proposal, since its origin, it is the dignity of the teacher, the importance assigned to their role in the educational process, and the recognition of their ability to impact the character formation of the children and young people assigned to their care. …The presence of an upright, generous, creative, and respectful teacher continues to be the primary element for the success of the Lasallian educational process.” This is exactly what our educators do so well on Winton Drive.

On April 30th, we celebrated our annual St. La Salle Liturgy, which coincided with the 373rd birthday of our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. We recognized our years of service (see the list at the end of my reflection) and our Lasallian Educator of the Year: Mr. Scott Drain ‘94. In nominating Mr. Drain, our Director of Student Support Services, one colleague wrote, “I believe that Scott should be the Lasallian Educator of the Year because I have never met an educator that is so energized, so motivated, and so in touch with every student.  Scott gives this institution 110%.  He takes a concern and interest in each and every student.  Scott never steps away from a question or an issue and truly looks out for these students like they are his own.” Sounds an awful lot like accompaniment to me.

Next week, we will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. I am always amazed at how our Parents’ Association rallies to provide special treats and gratitude for our teachers - not just during this national week but throughout the year. To the teachers reading this, you have our profound gratitude and deep admiration for your work. 

There is a recent phenomenon we are paying attention to called multi-hyphenates. It means that someone has more than one skill: actor and musician, plumber and painter, athlete and thespian. Despite what some may think of our young men, they are more than one thing. They are multi-hyphenates who are scholars and thespians, athletes and robotics enthusiasts, servant leaders and competitive rodeo winners. There is power in the word “and” because we don’t have to choose just one thing to excel at. Last week’s recognition assembly did a marvelous job showcasing that, as did the fantastic show Anything Goes by Company. 

Our students accompany one another (and us adults) even as they chart their own individual paths. Spartans understand that their call can be to serve others while pushing themselves individually. We create room for multiple things to exist at one time. As we enter Asian Pacific Islander month, the De La Salle Derby Day Auction on May 4 (bid now and bid often), NCS playoffs, and graduation, we clearly have a handle on doing more than one thing, as do our boys. 

It’s almost a wrap, but until then, may we continue to follow our Founder's exhortation that, “Young people need good teachers, like visible angels.” Go be a visible angel, and please thank a teacher here or elsewhere next week. 

Warmly yours,

David J. Holquin

Years of Service Awardees

10 Years
Abel Lapid, Custodial Team
Esther Lopez, Director of College Counseling
Lindsay Melaas, Counselor
Angelica Rodriguez, Controller
Jose Sanchez, Chef
Jeff Villafania, Cafeteria Manager
Mark Wine, Strength and Conditioning Coach

15 Years
Melissa Marnell, Math Department Chair
Zosimo Odal, Custodial Team
Nick Pelosi ‘91, Math Instructor, Intramurals Coordinator, and Freshman Class Moderator
Alber Valle, IT Dept., Senior System Administrator

20 Years
Brett Anderson ‘97,  English Instructor
Alfred Chua, Custodial team
Larry Colon, Band Instructor

30 Years
Bob Guelld ‘81, Dean of Students

35 Years
Scott Hirsch ‘82, Math Instructor and Swimming Coach

40 Years
Russ Probst, Director of Facilities

Each one (Brothers and Partners), according to their specific vocation, is invited to reflect on their life not so much from the perspective of “What am I called to do?”; but rather, from the perspective of “Whom am I called to serve?” In the depths of our hearts, we hear the desperate cry of children, young people, and adults.

— Circular 469; 4.2