Ted Tsukahara Honored with Christian Brothers Affiliation

Ted poses with his official certificatePope John Paul II. Prince Rainier of Monaco. Ted Tsukahara. The Saint Mary’s Integral Program tutor is the latest in a distinguished list of Lasallian partners to be awarded affiliation by the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Tsukahara accepted the honor in the Saint Mary’s Chapel on April 15, following a congregational Mass composed by Brother Martin Yribarren and sung by the Sacred Music Choir. Worshippers included friends, family, and dozens of Brothers, as well as five affiliates—Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins, Sister Dolores Montini, Jerry Keating, Tom Brady, and Robert Gardner.

Tsukahara’s nomination was submitted by the Brothers at the College last fall, and announced Jan. 10 after approval by Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Superior General.

“Affiliation is an honor given to persons who support the institute and its work,” said Brother Donald Johanson, FSC, Visitor of the District of San Francisco New Orleans. “When I visit Saint Mary’s College to do my canonical visits, Ted is there with us for prayers in the morning and he joins us for breakfast. That’s what affiliation is all about—celebrating a relationship.”

Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, said Tsukahara and his wife, Vikki, have both been generous behind the scenes. “They have that commitment to students, and students in need, which is one of the fundamental characteristics of what we like to think the Brothers are about.”

Tsukahara first became interested in the Brothers’ mission as a ninth-grade student at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. “Brother Maris pulled me aside and suggested I consider joining the speech and debate club. If you think about an activity that changed the path for a kid…I was about 4’10” and a bit chubby…and it got me off campus and into a world that was diverse to me,” he said.

Tsukahara converted to Catholicism and went on to teach at Cathedral High before returning to work at his alma mater, Saint Mary’s College. Twenty years ago, he enrolled in the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies and began the commitment of morning Mass with the Brothers. This simple act, he said, has drawn him close to the Brothers. “It reinforces to me that what we do is not personal, it’s communal.”

At a lunch recognizing Tsukahara’s commitment to the Lasallian mission, he summed it up this way: “Deep down, I am a boy formed by the Brothers. I don’t consider myself a professor. I don’t consider myself a teacher. I’m a Brother. That’s my life.”