By: Matt Keough, Principal
Last year, when I first became Principal, I started sharing my reflections at the end of each marking period. I have called these short articles Brothers’ Insight, and will continue publishing these throughout the year. The objective of sharing these reflections is to delve deeper into the accomplishments of our students and highlight things that may not appear as official “accomplishments” on our website or Facebook page. Each Brothers’ Insight connects the achievements of our students with the Mission of the school and of our Founder, Saint John Baptist De La Salle. I hope you enjoy…
In 1916, John Dewey published Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. In his book, Dewey suggests, “Give pupils something to do, not something to learn; learning naturally results.” Many years earlier, De La Salle expressed a similar philosophy in The Conduct of the Christian Schools, when he described his 17th century classroom, “There will be several officers in the school charged with a number of different functions that teachers cannot or should not do themselves.” These “officers” were students. These “functions” were responsibilities such as the bell ringer, reciter of prayer, doorkeeper, or sweeper. De La Salle’s message, very similar to Dewey’s: Provide students with the opportunity to take ownership of their education and “learning naturally results.”
On Monday, September 19th, I opened my email and read a very simple message:
Dear Mr. Keough,
I thought that I would share this with you. Made this from Friday’s game.
As I clicked the attachment, a video opened and music began to play. The video smoothly shifted from frame-to-frame, from face-to-face. The movie continued to progress through the student section from the previous weekend’s game. Not once did the video show the field or the scoreboard, it remained fixed upon one goal, capturing one feeling– community.
The video was magnificently done, incorporating smiling faces, plenty of confetti, and of course, a powder toss. The video was sent to me through a very simply worded email with a much deeper message than the words themselves revealed. The message… well… we will come back to that.
A few weeks later, I once again sat down at my computer on a Monday morning and found another email, this time, accompanied by an attached document.
Dear Mr. Keough,
On Sunday afternoon, I sat down to begin writing my college essay but was shortly thereafter inspired to write about something else. This writing developed into a reflection on my experiences as the school’s unofficial mascot as well as a few words of encouragement for those reading it. Anyways, I didn’t want to let this writing linger on my computer and so I decided to share my essay on Twitter. It was well received to say the least and today some of my classmates encouraged me to share my writing with you and so I’m doing just that. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.
Bryan M. Casler-Tyrrell
I once again, somewhat hesitantly, opened the attachment and found the following reflection:
I spent the better part of the game on Friday doing what I’d done at nearly every other football game this year- running around wearing a cape and a rubber horse mask while waving the CBA flag. But this night, during halftime, I asked myself something I’d never asked myself before- “why the heck am I doing this?” It’s 40 degrees, dark, and pouring rain and I’m running around like a very un-majestic reverse centaur. I asked myself this while walking around Alibrandi attempting to stay warm and I was very close to packing up and going home. I was just about to leave when I got the answer to my question, or, more precisely, saw it. I saw about 30 of my fellow students standing in the bleachers, freezing cold and soaked to the bone. I saw parents and young children bundled up together against the elements. I saw my teachers standing against the fence yelling at both teams on the field. These people- especially my fellow students- were my answer, they were why I was here…
Another email, another message, but an emerging pattern. Throughout this past marking period, we have seen this pattern of students taking ownership of their education. This unsolicited desire of our students to share their gifts and talents with our community has taken many forms.
Early in the year, sophomore Michael Patrick Geiss approached me about starting a Model United Nations Club. A few days later, Andrew Byrne-King, Rati Saini, and M.P. brought a 6-page outline of how they envisioned Model UN enhancing the CBA educational experience and strengthening our dedication to the Lasallian Mission…. On Saturday, October 29th, 14 CBA students participated in the Model United Nations (MUN) Conference held at Manlius Pebble Hill. The day-long event focused on timely and global topics such as Disarmament and International Security; Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues; World Health Organization; UN Women; Economic and Social Crisis; General Assembly; and the Spanish Civil War. The conference was attended by 10 regional high schools and approximately 320 students participated. At the conclusion of the conference, M.P. Geiss was awarded Honorable Delegate for his committee.
At the beginning of the school year, seniors Jack Carpenter and Clay Jarvis, with the support of Ms. Salamone, asked to meet with me about their desire to highlight their classmates’ activities through a morning news broadcast that would be aired once a marking period. On Friday, October 28th, with the help of anchors Maddie and Jill Henson, as well as video producer Matt Graber, The Brothers News Network aired their first ever episode across the homeroom airwaves. This initial episode featured Toby OKong’o winning Mr. CBA at the 2016 Homecoming Pep Rally; the CBA Double Down Team of Milan Gupta, Matt Graber, and Duncan Brickner; fall sports highlights; a cameo by the Lasallian Stallion; the fall drama, The Cherry Orchard; and many other activities.
The Brothers News Network Broadcast (includes Justin Strott’s video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9eCkBbemA8&t=9s
At CBA, we may not have bellringers, prayer reciters, or doorkeepers, but we are proud to have a community where students take ownership of their educational experience. Whether it is being moved enough to create a video that captures the joy of their classmates, running around in a rubber horse mask, starting a new club, or producing a morning show– the greatest learning takes place because of our students’ ownership of the CBA Lasallian experience.
Brothers’ Insight appears at the end of each marking period.