La Salle College High School, a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young men of varied backgrounds, is conducted in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle. Through a broad and balanced, human and Christian education, La Salle College High School guides each student in the development of his unique God-given talents and fosters a commitment to academic excellence, service, and leadership.
La Salle College High School is founded on the religious tradition of Roman Catholic Christianity and animated by the educational vision of St. John Baptist De La Salle. La Salle provides a quality education in an atmosphere that incorporates Gospel values. This community places special emphasis on those school activities that proclaim Christ’s message of Salvation and provide opportunities to practice that message. The preeminence of Lasallian mission and the centrality of Christ in daily life at La Salle is illustrated by the call and response from teacher to students at the beginning of classes at La Salle: “St. John Baptist De La Salle; Pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts; Forever.”
John Baptist De La Salle -- declared by Pope Pius XII as the Patron Saint of teachers -- lived in seventeenth-century France and founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Rheims in 1680. La Salle’s was a culture of wide disparities between rich and poor and a limited sense of the advisability, or utility of education for all but the few. Although he was a priest, La Salle founded the Christian Brothers as a non-clerical community, focused on bringing Christian education to the many in an atmosphere of community, free of excessive hierarchy or distance between teacher and student. La Salle was a counter-cultural figure in his society and even within the Church. His desire was to bring education and knowledge of Christ to a wide array of students, “especially the poor.”
“His genius lay in organizing the schools, training the supervising teachers, and adapting various educational methodologies, thereby elevating the lay ministry of teaching- within the Church.” (Touching The Hearts of Students; Characteristics of Lasallian Schools”, Van Grieken, FSC, 1999.)
La Salle stressed that the relationship between teacher and student is based on a moral obligation. In emphasizing the relationship between teacher and student, La Salle eschewed the notion of distance and formality. He called his followers “Brothers” and he explicitly used that term to describe the type of relationship that would become the norm with students; that of a wise and concerned older brother. At the same time, La Salle believed in strong and unequivocal instruction in morals and the way of Christ, taught most thoroughly by the example of the Brothers. While La Salle demanded clarity and forcefulness in instruction, his community of Brothers reached out to students with simplicity, empathy and a common touch. La Salle used the Biblical example of Nathan and David to make his followers “realize how much good the corrections you give your disciples will accomplish when they are given with gentleness and charity.”
Essential to all of La Salle’s work was the centrality of Christ in the world and bringing students to know Him. In doing so, La Salle called his Brothers to reach out to all, even those ignored and denied education in his time. La Salle noted:
“The end of this Institute is to give a Christian education to children; it is for this purpose the Brothers keep schools, that. . . they may teach them to lead good lives, by instructing them in the mysteries of our holy religion and by inspiring them with Christian maxims; and thus giving them a suitable education.” (Chapter 1, 3; Common Rules of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, 1718)
The educational philosophy enunciated by La Salle over three-hundred years ago has borne fruit around the world. Today, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, assisted by more than 78,000 Lasallian associates, teach over 900,000 students in 80 countries. John Baptist De La Salle’s emphasis on a close, caring and personal relationship with students, the importance and inclusion of the laity in Catholic education, the centrality of Christ and the focus on serving all manner of students are characteristic of Lasallian schools around the world. Likewise, this educational philosophy is central to the life of La Salle College High School.