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Graduation 2017: Inspiration, honesty and informality

Brother Bernard Hanson, FSC poses with LaSalle graduates, left to right, Thomas, Edy, Brennan, Maxwell and Edwin.

In June, every high school graduation has its share of tears and tissues being passed around. Anyone attending graduation ceremonies has a vested interest in one or more of the graduating seniors. The June 23rd graduation exercises held in LaSalle, Albany’s Hanner Center had all of this and more as Maxwell, Edwin, Thomas, Edy and Brennen received diplomas on June 23rd.

Classes, weeks of exams and a graduation walk around campus led up to this day. And once the day arrives, the exercises never fail to stir up memories of moments when past difficulties seemed insurmountable and special thanks are gratefully voiced to teachers and staff who bridged particularly difficult times to reach this special day.

The LaSalle Boys Choir performs ‘Happy,’ written and produced by Songwriter Pharrell Williams after graduates receive diplomas on June 23rd. Earlier, they sang ‘Lean on Me,’ written and produced by Artist Bill Withers.

Every year graduates decide who among them will speak for all at the exercises, and select one faculty member to deliver parting words to them. After hearing from Teacher Karen Sciolino and remarks from board members and administrative staff, each graduate wanted to speak for themselves!

In her address, Ms. Sciolino asked for graduate and audience participation testing the recall of everyone in the room to tell her who the Rolling Stones were, who Indiana Jones was and define the meanings of resilience, happiness and destiny.

LaSalle Teacher Karen Sciolino delivers address to graduating seniors at June 23rd commencement exercises.

Answers she received helped her to skillfully transition into a message announcing that a celebration was definitely in order!

She likened the character of graduates to the movie warrior Indiana Jones who time and again faced adversity with patience and perseverance and like a rolling stone that gathers no moss overcame and never gave up using his past difficulties to better the future. It didn’t matter that the Rolling Stones she initially asked about was a rock band.

Weaving in personal messages to each youth, she challenged each one to think about the balance of resilience and happiness acknowledging there would be times when they would not be in sync, just as it was for Indiana Jones.

LaSalle Trustee Chair Robert Wolfgang, Trustee Carmen Perez-Hogan and Education Director James Meyer congratulate a graduate during the June 23rd exercises.

Diplomas and gifts from LaSalle’s LIFE Scholarship Fund were presented by Education Director James Meyer, Executive Director Bill Wolff, LaSalle Trustee Carmen Perez-Hogan and Robert Wolfgang, chairman of LaSalle’s Board of Trustees.

At the end of the exercises, even the shyest of the youth stood behind the lectern and gazed around the room expressing thanks to parents, families, staff and admiration for LaSalle School. 

Diplomas and gifts in hand, the students walked down the aisle to cheers and the traditional graduation march, Pomp and Circumstance.

The celebration continued in the student dining hall with a festive dinner served by LaSalle kitchen staff. Congratulations to LaSalle, Albany’s Class of 2017!!

LaSalle School is a leader in programs and services for youth and families in crisis offering a variety of programs designed to meet their needs including specialized residential placement, day service education, and alternative to detention services. The Counseling Center at LaSalle is an OMH and OASAS licensed outpatient behavioral health clinic located at LaSalle School, and currently implementing ACE treatment practices with youth and families. LaSalle is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), and affiliated with the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), and the national Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. LaSalle is a member of The New York State Coalition of 853 Schools.
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