August 2005

De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, Oregon,
Graduates Its First Class – June 2005



The numbers are impressive: 98 percent of the graduating class of 2005 is headed to higher education this fall. They have been awarded more than $1.2 million in college scholarships. And they have gained over 73,000 hours of work experience during their high-school years; as well as doing thousands of hours of community service.

Even more impressive than their statistics are these young people in person. One Portland journalist who reported on the school wrote this: “Fifty-five seniors will be the first graduates of Oregon’s newest Catholic high school, where students study long hours and earn part of their tuition by working a day each week in the community at large. While they plumb the depths of theology, chemistry, literature, and foreign languages, they also learn how to get to work on time, clean a restaurant bathroom, craft a good publicity campaign, organize lab results, and handle belligerent clients with grace. Their resumes already list experience in law firms, brokerage houses, advertising agencies, and medical clinics… ‘My fellow classmates and I are going on and do great things,’ says Mariana Lindsay. ‘This school has done wonders for our confidence level and our ability to move in the world.’”

The success of the school is reflected not only in the accomplishments of its first-ever graduating class, but also in its warm acceptance within the Northeast Portland community, its enduring relationships with its corporate sponsors, the praise lavished upon it by writers from publications of many kinds – and the parting thoughts of its own inaugural graduating class. One of the mottos of Lasallian education, derived from the founder of the Christian Brothers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, is that Lasallian educators must strive to “touch the hearts” of students. How well this has been done in the school’s first class of seniors may be sensed in the following words from the valedictory address by senior D. J. Lower: “I’ve also learned something about love these last four years…. All my friends and teachers and enemies who have taught me so much: I love you all. De La Salle I love, not just because it has taught me square roots and English theses and morality and ethics, but because it has helped me learn, most importantly, to listen to God’s voice as I go into the world.”

De La Salle North Catholic High School, sponsored by the Christian Brothers District of San Francisco, is the first new high school in the nation to be founded on the “corporate internship model” that was pioneered by Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago. De La Salle North Catholic welcomed its first freshman class in 2001; in 2004, another new high school on this model sponsored by the Christian Brothers District of San Francisco opened in Tucson, Arizona. This is San Miguel High School (visit it at www.sanmiguelhigh.com.) Eight other high schools throughout the nation have adopted the corporate internship model to date, and feasibility studies for several more schools are in process.

De La Salle North Catholic High School’s capital campaign to construct the campus and facilities that will best serve its students is ongoing. To learn all about De La Salle North Catholic, go to http://www.delasallenorth.org. For complete information on the corporate internship model and the Cristo Rey Network of schools, go to http://www.cristoreynetwork.org/

 

 

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