"Lessons at Homecoming"

Watching the Minnesota clouds roll in and the temperatures drop, I sit at my desk and reflect on the past month at DeLaSalle High School and our activities. Homecoming had arrived, and the anticipation of the students filled the halls. The students' conversations were focused on the upcoming activities: Who will be crowned Homecoming king and queen? Who was going to the dance? Will the football team win the game?

The buzz of chatter became contagious, and I found myself excited and eager to join in on all the activities. All of us, staff and students, participated in pep rallies, bonfires, and pre-game jitters. The day finally came when the queen and king were to be crowned. Each member of the court was handed a box with roses while sweet music filled the air. Who would be crowned? The music stopped, breaths were held, and the boxes were opened. Cheers went up for the 2003 queen and king. The football game was played and won. Everyone looked and felt special. Feeling good about oneself was accomplished for that moment in time. But, feeling good about oneself is important all the time, and words play an important role in that feeling.

I teach twelve students in a course called Learning Enrichment. Each week I share a short story and lead a discussion with my class. Our conversation helps the students to learn English because it stimulates ideas and conversations that may be helpful in their everyday living. These discussions have encouraged us to form a trust and understanding that unites us in fashioning a true community.

Homecoming Friday was no different. The story came from the book Chicken Soup For the Teenage Soul. It was about a teenager who was told she wasn't college material by her teacher. The teacher's careless words wounded the girl. But, through years of trial and error, she began to realize how untrue those words were. In the end the girl persevered and graduated from college. Discussion ran deep with similar stories from my students. We ended the class with the knowledge of the importance of kind words, support, and love that we need to practice and give to each other in our daily lives.

People need encouragers more than critics. I am reminded of this each day when I read the motto of DeLaSalle, "Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."

To learn more about the Lasallian Volunteer program, visit http://www.cbconf.org.

Previous Diary Entries

* "From Moraga to Minneapolis" - Summer 2003

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