This month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” is Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas, which is part of the District of San Francisco New Orleans. John Austin Tubbs, a first-year Lasallian Volunteer (LV), attended to Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, and now serves at Cathedral. John Austin’s passion for mission is renewed each day through empowering his students through service.
WHAT IS CATHEDRAL HIGH SCHOOL, EL PASO?
Cathedral High School is an all-boys high school serving students from El Paso and nearby Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in grades 9-12. As it enters its ninth decade of existence, the school provides students with the individual attention needed to claim opportunities rarely heard of in the border region. For example, college courses taught at Cathedral High School, in conjunction with the El Paso Community College, afford junior and senior students the opportunity to complete their first year of college while still a Cathedral student.
WHAT SERVICE DOES JOHN AUSTIN PROVIDE AT CATHEDRAL?
John Austin is the community service coordinator. He organizes service events, tracks the service hours of the students, and tries to create a positive culture of service within the Cathedral High School community. John Austin teaches two freshman religion classes, which include about 30 students in each. He also assists in planning and hosting the El Otro Lado Border Immersion Experience programs for both high school and college students from around the United States and Mexico.
HOW DID JOHN AUSTIN BECOME A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?
John Austin is a graduate of Christian Brothers University and felt becoming an LV made the most sense for him after college. Like many volunteers, the combination of a call from God and a well-placed mentor on campus directed him. He researched the program and found that it made sense to him and aligned with his values. He says, “While in college, the Lasallian community was very important to me. Lasallian Volunteers was a way for me to live my passion for service while continuing to experience and live more intentionally within the Lasallian community.”
HOW DOES JOHN AUSTIN TOUCH MINDS AND HEARTS?
John Austin desires to provide a myriad of service opportunities to his students. He believes that high school-aged students need to feel like they are working toward a goal together and it’s his responsibility to give them as many ways to serve the Lord as he can. He says, “I have created a Service Council as a means to give the students a larger role in planning what types of service activities they would like to do. They worked as a team to host ‘Lasallian Misters for the Lasallian Sisters,’ a benefit concert that raised well over $1,000 for the La Salle Sisters in Houston. (For more information, click here.)
HOW HAS LIVING AND WORKING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED JOHN AUSTIN?
John Austin has found himself impacted by the Brothers in his community in many ways. He has been shaped by their advice, simple living, kindness and wisdom in educational pedagogy. He says, “The advice I have been given by the Brothers this year has opened my eyes to understand tough situations in a different light. I’ve heard countless stories about the Founder and their own personal lives. It has been an awesome year with the Brothers so far, and I cannot thank them enough for welcoming me into their way of life.”
WHAT WOULD JOHN AUSTIN SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS DISCERNING A YEAR SPENT WITH THE LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?
LVs embrace both the unknown of a year away from home, and a life of faith, service and community amongst the Brothers, Lasallians and each other. John Austin shares his experience so far when he says, “Taking a volunteer year will change your life in so many ways, all of which are for the better. Living in community is an invaluable experience that is simultaneously challenging and affirming. The work you’ll do as an LV changes lives, and you see it on the faces of the people you encounter. Plus, being a part of a Lasallian family is something you can’t pass up. In a nutshell, just say yes!”