Our December Ministry of the Month highlights DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Christian Camacho is a first-year LV and a 2021 graduate of La Salle University.
What is DeLaSalle High School?
DeLaSalle High School opened in 1900 as the first Catholic high school in Minneapolis. Administered by the Christian Brothers since its inception, “De” has been co-educational since 1971-72. Over 15,000 men and women have graduated from DeLaSalle, which is still located on historic Nicollet Island, within walking distance of downtown Minneapolis. Today, DeLaSalle educates students from over 120 different Twin Cities elementary schools, from as far away as 30 miles in each direction. Still the only traditional college prep Catholic high school within Minneapolis, De is also the most diverse private high school in Minnesota in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomics, and family background.
Why did Christian decide to become a Lasallian Volunteer?
Christian learned about Lasallian Volunteers from Julia Turner, LV 15-17, who was an LV Scholar at La Salle while Christian was a student there. “Julia was hosting a weekend retreat at Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in November of 2019. Whenever there was a moment after meditation and reflection, Julia and I talked about the program. I already knew that this was something I wanted to do as I was thinking of staying connected within the Lasallian world after visiting Reims, France, in the summer of 2019 with the International Association of Lasallian Universities (IALU).
What is Christian’s role at DeLaSalle?
Christian has quite a few roles and responsibilities, but his main role is serving as the assistant to the learning specialist. “I have a caseload of students that I work directly with. These are students who have specific learning accommodations such as ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome, etc. I meet with them on a weekly basis to go over their workload and advocate for them (while also teaching them to advocate for themselves) to their teachers.” Within that role Christian also manages the audiobook services, testing blocks, study hall registration, information programming and tutoring services for Spanish, geometry and algebra. Other roles that bring Christian joy are serving as a Eucharistic minister for school-wide prayer services and working with the head guidance counselor in having daily “morning motivation” with a small group of students to help them enhance their accountability and organizational skills.
Which of the core values (faith, service, community) is most important to Christian? Why?
Christian had a hard time choosing just one core value that means the most to him. “Throughout my time in Philadelphia, Mexico, France and Minnesota, I’ve learned that community is the most important core value to me. Mostly because of how diverse and strengthening our Lasallian community is WITHOUT borders. There is no hesitation to build a community in the midst of some of the harshest moments. Within community, faith and service are also present as there is a shared mindset of faith amongst all of those in community and the Lasallian world teaches us to accept those that may be different and to embrace the diversity of our faith and our cultures all while following the Lasallian mission. Through service, our understanding, acceptance and sensitivity to various cultures and practices allows for us to fully engage in the Lasallian mission.”
What is the most important thing that Christian’s students need from him?
Christian identified a few most important things that his students need from him. He identified consistency, honesty, trust and acknowledgement. “With their learning accommodations, I am entrusted to know how each student operates and assist them in their needs. With the short time that I’ve been here, I pretty much know the names of all the students that come into the learning center, as well as their accommodations, and it creates this community of trust between all of us. I speak to students about what it means to be a Lasallian, and they show me new definitions each and every day. Whether it is during a test, a service day, school-wide Mass or a conversation about college, each student feels heard and acknowledged in the learning center. This is a consistent occurrence with our entire base of students, including those who are not part of the learning center.”
How has living and serving with the De La Salle Christian Brothers impacted Christian?
Living with the Christian Brothers has been deeply meaningful and powerful for Christian. “I was very inspired by the Christian Brothers and the Lasallian mission after it had brought me out of some very tough times in my life. One of those was when I felt so unsure as to what path was right for me and if I was even able to cross the bridges that were ahead of me. Through the Christian Brothers I have met in the Twin Cities, I’ve felt the Lasallian mission at its highest point of succession. Through evening prayer, monthly outings and gatherings with the Brothers at Cretin-Derham Hall and my community, I feel at home with the Christian Brothers. Our DeLaSalle community is relatively small, but we maximize all our efforts to live completely in the moment with each interaction. One day, Brother Dennis will be helping me dissect a dream I had the night before, and the next day, Brother Dylan, Brother Michael Lee and I will be watching a movie and laughing together. These simple moments allow for my day-to-day interactions with students to be filled with being present and opening them up to a whole world filled with opportunities.
What would Christian say to a college senior who is discerning a year of service?
Christian recalls a quote from Saint John Baptist de La Salle, who said, “The more you devote yourself in prayer the more you will do well in your work.” Christian continued, “If you’re in the process of discerning to do a year of service, you must take the time and effort of decision-making that is needed before making such a big leap. Time in solitude has been one of the best exercises for me to make this choice. Yes, I could’ve stayed in Philadelphia and gone straight into the work force, but I knew that I wasn’t done with my education. I’ve experienced such life-changing moments during times that I was a part of a Lasallian community. I’ve seen people from outside of the Lasallian world come in and feel so connected that they didn’t want to leave. The connectivity of such a worldwide valuable mission can only be truly realized once you connect with your inner self and know that you’re not alone in this journey of discernment. The road is not easy, but you have a sense of faith that brings you to a level of security like no other.”