WARREN, Mich. (May 20, 2019) – Valedictorian Joseph Edmund Schaeffer is one of 10 De La Salle Collegiate seniors to post the graduation trifecta – National Honor Society, Summa Cum Laude, and being a Michigan Competitive Scholarship qualifier.
Schaeffer, who is on the Pilots baseball team this spring, plans to attend Michigan State University in the fall.
Here is his speech from Monday’s 91st commencement ceremony in school history:
“When I look back at my time at De La Salle, there are many memories that have shaped these amazing four years. These include:
– Witnessing four different state championships.
– Learning about the fundamental theorem of calculus, which I am sure everyone here clearly remembers from their time in high school.
– Winning spirit week not once, but twice.
– Finally defeating Coach Schypinski in two-ball after four painful years of losing to him.
“While all these moments were special, the most important part of my time at De La Salle has been forming relationships that will last for life. These relationships have provided me with the support necessary during high school in order for me to develop into the man I am today. I formed these bonds with a couple different groups of people, and I would like to acknowledge each of them here tonight.
“First, I would like to focus on the importance of the relationships I have formed with my teachers. These connections extend beyond the classroom, as they have allowed me to not only grow as a student, but also as a person. There’s Mr. Kirck, who would always proofread my essays and talk with me about baseball. Mr. Novak, who would provide our class with practice AP calc tests during lunch, while also teaching us how to get buckets in IM basketball. Mrs. Meier, who was the chillest teacher in the school, as she was always understanding when it came to cooperating with us students and our busy schedules.
“And of course, there’s ‘Saint’ Berlin, who genuinely cared about each and every student in our class, as he always set a great example for how to act as a man in today’s society. These teachers are just a few of the many who have touched my life at De La Salle. The staff as a whole deserves the utmost respect for all that they have done for the school community, as they have played a pivotal role in both my development and the development of my fellow classmates. For their efforts, I am forever grateful.
“Next, I would like to highlight my relationships with the students at De La Salle. During these years, there have been a couple groups of students who I have formed especially strong bonds with. One such group is my baseball teammates.
“Another important group is my close friends. We had so many great memories, from Lebron vs. Jordan arguments at the lunch table, to chilling playing 2K on the weekends, to all the inside jokes making fun of each other. With you guys by my side, there was never a dull moment. Staying with the theme of friends, I can’t forget my best friend, my brother Ryan. It’s amazing how far we have come, from arguing over wiffle ball in the front yard as little kids, to being the only brother tandem in the two-ball tournament this year. Our friendship will only continue to grow, as I look forward to you visiting me on the weekends next year at Michigan State.
“And finally, to address the class of 2019 as a whole. We have been the class of change at De La Salle, as we have had a new schedule every year and even experienced a change in the advisory program this year. A weaker group of young men would have allowed this to ruin our senior year and tear our class apart. Because of our strong brotherhood, however, we embraced these new challenges, and have left our great school in better shape for the future. I am thankful to have undertaken this journey with such a great group of guys, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that the class of 2019 makes on our community.
“Now, to the most important bond in my life: my relationship with my parents, Lee and Nancy. In case anyone here is unaware, attending De La Salle costs a little bit of money. My parents could easily have sent me to a public school and bought themselves a fancy car or a big house. Instead, they valued providing me with a Catholic education, as they made my future and success their No. 1 priority. Their support, however, extends beyond just sending me to De La Salle. From never putting any pressure on me to finish as valedictorian, to staying patient with me and my indecisiveness when choosing a college, to always showing 100 percent confidence in my abilities even when I doubted myself. Through all of this, your love has remained constant. You have taught me that the most important job of being a parent is to provide a better life for your children. You have far exceeded this role, as I would not have developed into the man I am today without the strong foundation you have given me. I am so lucky to call you two my mom and dad and I love you for all that you do. I would like to take this time for all of us students to give our parents and families a round of applause for the sacrifices they have made for each and everyone of us.
“In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the entire class of 2019 on their graduation, and I wish you all the best of luck in the future. Go Pilots!”
WARREN, Mich. (May 20, 2019) – One of 16 seniors who were in De La Salle Collegiate’s rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Kevin Allen Kathawa gave a Valedictorian Speech at the school’s 91st commencement ceremony at Grace Christian Church on Monday evening.
Kathawa, who plans to attend the University of Detroit Mercy in the fall, was on the National Honor Society and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Here is his speech:
“In the words of the great philosopher and Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Branch Manager Michael G. Scott: ‘Don’t ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what. No matter . . . where. Or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or . . . or where you’ve been . . . ever. For any reason whatsoever.’
“That is the Michael Scott philosophy. I stand by it wholeheartedly, and I believe it is a principle that we should all adopt in our lives. It’s centered around creating respectful human relationships, which happens to be one of the goals of Lasallian education. Whether it be with teachers or fellow classmates, I hope we can all think of someone from De La Salle who has impacted our lives during our time here.
“Personally, there are two groups of people, both involved with the International Baccalaureate Programme, who have made a significant impact on me: the 15 other brave kids in the IB Program and Mrs. Howay — aka our IB mom. I want to first thank Mrs. Howay for making IB a reality and treating me with nothing but respect these last two years. I truly appreciate your unwavering support for me these past few months, in particular. And so, to my IB mom, always remember — keep up the good vibes.
“I’d also like to recognize my graduating IB brothers: Dom Balice, Nicholas Binno, Vince Compton, Rob Cornwell, Ian Earle, Athan Konon, Jacob Kujawa, Noah Lundgren, Nino Minniti, Joe Pierce, Conner Popa, Alex Scotta, Jack Studnicka, Anthony Stull, and Connor Weir. These 15 guys have worked so hard the last two years in what is a very rigorous program.
“Although our transcripts will read 187 students in our graduating class, today and forever, we as the Class of 2019 stand 188 strong. I pray that we are all welcomed into Heaven by our Lasallian brother, Joey Gangola.
“I would be remiss if I did not mention my family as an enormous source of support for me throughout these four years. Mom and Dad, thank you for instilling in me a strong faith and an excellent work ethic. And thank you for always believing in me. To my older brothers, Deion, Navin, and Jason, thank you for being such outstanding role models for me. And finally, to my little sister Isabella, thank you for always brightening my day.
I can confidently say that, without the contributions from each and every one of you, this moment would never be possible.
“Before my closing thoughts, I would like to offer a word of advice on De La Salle’s motto ‘Builders of Boys. Makers of Men.’ I want to share a quote by Gus Fring from the series ‘Breaking Bad’ which shows, in part, what it means to be a man. Fring states, ‘What does a man do? A man provides. And he does it even when he’s not appreciated, or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he’s a man.’ Gus Fring may not exactly be a role model in the series, but there is, in fact, wisdom in those words.
“It is absolutely imperative that we strive towards this vision of manhood. We are not automatically men just because we walk across this stage and receive a diploma. Being a man is not a once-and-for-all proposition; it is a process. We become men. We strive for it.
“I’d like to end this farewell speech by quoting the famous pre-game speech given by Herb Brooks to his players at the 1980 Winter Olympics just before their game against the undefeated Soviet Union. Just as those 20 men representing the United States in 1980 were inspired despite facing the most daunting task in the hockey world, so, too, to can all of us be inspired here tonight. My hope is that we can all take these words to heart and harness them for the road ahead to college and beyond.
“And so, in the words of the legendary Herb Brooks:
” ‘Great moments . . . are born from great opportunity. That’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Now, go out there and take it.’ ”
WARREN, Mich. (May 16, 2019) – A few dozen members of De La Salle Collegiate’s Lasallian Youth Group spent Thursday morning helping out at the eighth annual Lancers Walk, Roll, Run event at Bovenschen School in Warren.
Bovenschen provides educational services for Macomb County students, ages 3 to 26, who have moderate to severe cognitive impairments or severe multiple impairments and have been referred by their local school districts.
This was the third straight year that De La Salle students have participated in this community event.
MONROE, Mich. (May 2, 2019) – Last week, 13 members of De La Salle Collegiate’s Military History Club spent the day at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe.
There, they learned about the Battle of Frenchtown and its impact on the War of 1812 and U.S.-Native American relations. After viewing the park’s visitor’s center and its artifacts, the group hiked the battlefield, then took a brief walk along the River Raisin, stopping for a photo with local Civil War General George Custer and the monument to those who fell in the Battle of Frenchtown.
GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (May 4, 2019) – On Saturday, 11 Pilots competed in the annual Michigan Social Studies Olympiad at Grosse Pointe North High School.
Both De La Salle teams finished with 1-1 records on the day, and while they failed to qualify for the elimination rounds, these future social wiz kids represented our school well.
WARREN, Mich. (April 12, 2019) — Thanks to Dr. Ida Rubino and alumnus James Bobco ’10 for a fabulous presentation to about 20 of De La Salle Collegiate’s Medical Club students.
Bobco is currently in his third year of medical school at Oakland University.
Students learned about the path to and through medical school and residency, and were also introduced to what it means to be a family practice physician. Students also received some insider information about what medical school admissions people are really looking for in a candidate.
“We are thankful for this opportunity to learn from such a caring and knowledgeable physician,” said science teacher Laura Rigby. “Dr. Rubino showed our boys that the family practice career path could allow our boys to continue touching hearts and making a positive difference for years to come.”
WARREN, Mich. (April 4, 2019) – De La Salle Collegiate senior Connor Weir, in association with the Wig and Mask Society, is inviting you to a hilarious, bombastic, and charitable ¡One-Act Night of Comedy! Presented as part of Weir’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme CAS Service Project.
This one-night-only spectacular will feature a troupe of 10 actors who take on over 60 roles over three shows.
Tickets are $5 and will only be available at the door. Seating is general admission.
The performance will be held in the De La Salle Cafeteria (14600 Common Road, Warren, MI.)
Concessions and 50/50 will be sold and donation stations will be set up. Ticket sales open at 6 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m., curtain up at 7 p.m. Tickets are first-come-first-serve and in the event of a sellout, standing space will be provided.
FROM THE DIRECTOR: Hello, my name is Connor Weir and I am a senior at De La Salle Collegiate. I am a member of the third cohort of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. As a part of the IB curriculum, students complete a project that encompasses creativity, activity, and service… welcome to mine! I am directing and producing this One-Act Night of Comedy for a very special organization close to my heart, the St. Bernard Project, a group centered in New Orleans who works to shrink the time between disaster and recovery; their main goal to repair houses destroyed by natural disasters for people who cannot fix it on their own. I volunteered with the group last year for a mother who was home-bound and her daughter who worked tirelessly to assist her mother. The experience was so beneficial and now I am creating this event to give more to this amazing group. All the proceeds from ticket sales, donations, concessions, raffle, and 50/50 the night of the show will go to SBP and help make people in need have a home to call their own. I implore you to come to this event and support such a great cause while watching three amazing shows that will leave you crying with laughter!
WARREN, Mich. (April 3, 2019) – De La Salle’s Michael Kafoury is this year’s recipient of the Harvard Book Prize.
On behalf of the Harvard Club of Detroit, Kafoury was presented with a copy of “Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds” by Richard J. Light PhD, who graduated from the Ivy League school in 1969.
Harvard Prize Books are awarded to outstanding high school juniors who display excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields. Donated by Harvard Clubs and shared-interest groups, Prize Books are presented annually in nearly 2,000 high schools around the world.
Kafoury is the top-ranked academic student out of 175 students in De La Salle’s junior class.
“Michael is a high-integrity guy, who takes his academics very seriously,” De La Salle counselor Tony Albani said. “You’re not going to find another kid who works or studies harder than Michael.”
Kafoury, who attended Walt Disney Elementary in Clinton Township, is also a three-sport athlete, who plays football, is on the powerlifting team, and throws the shot and discus for the Pilots’ track and field squad.
Filled with practical advice, Prof. Light’s book answers fundamental questions, perfect for upperclassmen with an eye toward college life: How do you choose classes wisely? What is the best way to study? Why do some professors inspire you while others leave you cold? How can you connect what you’re learning in the classroom with the rest of life?