“As De La Salle students, what are we doing in our lives and at school to act in the way of Jesus?” by Year 12 student Elijah Kingsley
I am a year 12 student at De La Salle College and I graduated from St Columbus in 2011. St Columba’s provided me with a perfect foundation for living a life like Jesus’ by which I help and support those around me whilst extending happiness to all I can. In following on the foundation of Christian living provided by the St Columba’s teachers and community, De La Salle College has built on this in the tradition of our Founder St John Baptiste de La Salle.
Like Jesus he gave up material wealth to help those less fortunate. Born into a wealthy aristocratic family in France, John Baptiste devoted his life to educating the poor people of his country. Going against the tradition of the time to only educate the wealthy. And today there are hundreds of De La Salle Brothers around the world carrying on his work.
Born in Riems in 1651, de La Salle was ordained a priest and founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He dedicated much of his life to the education of poor children in France; in doing so, he started many lasting educational practices. He is considered the founder of the first Catholic schools. In 1950 he was declared as the patron saint of all teachers, and canonised in 1990.
De La Salle College, Malvern is a College founded in the tradition of St John Baptist de La Salle. The College has many direct program to help encourage students to live in the way of Jesus and in the way of our founder. For example the College annually hosts a fundraiser called ‘MAD Day’, a 12km walkathon in which all participants are sponsored to complete the walk. Consistently the school raises around $100,000 a year and that money is sent to developing countries all over the world, where the De La Salle brothers and students use it to better facilitate Lasallian schools and homes so that children all over the world can receive a quality education. That means that in my 6 years at De La Salle College, we have helped to raise upwards of $600,000 for people less fortunate than us.
Another way the students at De La Salle are acting in the way of Jesus is through our House system. There are four Houses at De La Salle College and each student is in one, there is: St Austin’s, St Edwin’s, St Mark’s and St Leo’s. Each house has a chosen charity, for example St Leos’ House is sponsoring Caritas and aims to raise funds and awareness for the charity; St Edwin’s House support the St Vincent de Paul Society and in two weeks are holding a Winter Sleep out for students to experience the plight of our city’s homeless.
The College also provides us with opportunities to volunteer with communities in other parts of Australia as well as overseas. In Year 9, students can apply to go to the Philippines cultural exchange, Year 11 students can volunteer in Papua New Guinea and in Year 12 students can apply to be part of an immersion program called Yaluwo (Friendship in Singhalese) in Sri Lanka, as an alternative to Schoolies. Three of us here this morning, are taking part in the Yaluwo program. Previously called ‘coolies’, the immersion program was previously offered in India but after 10 years it was recognised that the need is now greater in Sri Lanka so this year we are changing focus. We will leave for Sri Lanka after our VCE exams and spend 4 weeks working alongside the boys at Diyagala Boys Town. As part of this program we are required to fundraise in order to provide the tools and supplies necessary for the building process. One of the initiatives for a fundraising campaign we are selling t-shirts to take to the students of Diyagala, in hope of supplying every boy with a brand new t-shirt. With the money we donate to the school we will be building and developing new, secure lockers and change room facilities for the boys of Diyagala.
All of us here have a lot to give thanks for so it is only fitting that we, like Jesus, give something back to others. We would like to thank everyone in the St Columba’s community for what they have given us to help us become the Lasallian men we are today.
Elijah Kingsley, Year 12