And Now for a Word from a Catholic Brother

Wonderful piece the other day in The New York Times about a De La Salle Christian brother.  Lovely photo, too.

It is 8:30 a.m. at De La Salle Academy, a private school in Manhattan for academically talented poor children, and classical music is humming through a boom box that harks back to the 1980s.

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Children are streaming up four flights of stairs and surrounding the school’s founder and principal, Brother Brian Carty, like moths fluttering around a light. They want to tell him something. They want one of his bearhugs. They want to be in his orbit for a few minutes.

If the students’ attraction to Brother Carty suggests that he is a teddy bear of an administrator, consider a few of his rules. Gossip is an expellable offense. Makeup — even lip gloss — is prohibited. Dating is outlawed.

Parents are instructed on rules regarding parties and cellphone and Internet use. Teaching fads are generally dismissed, memorization is encouraged and smart boards are nowhere to be seen. “I’m not going to spoon-feed them,” he said. “Taking notes is a skill.”

At a time when everything about education seems to be in flux — the role of testing, the expectations for teachers, the impact of technology — Brother Carty is something of a throwback. For more than a quarter-century, he has been the guiding force and gatekeeper of one of the city’s most selective, if not most heralded, private schools. More than half of its students come from families with incomes of less than $35,000, and most move on to the city’s top private high schools or elite boarding schools in New England.

De La Salle, a middle school on West 97th Street, is nonsectarian, but there is a faith component, including prayers at the beginning of the day and the start of each class. “I ask the parents to raise them in their faith and to practice it,” Brother Carty said. And though he holds an administrative role, he clearly views his position pastorally.

Read the rest here.

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David Harvie
6 years 12 months ago
There are so many ''Brother Cartys'' and so much that the Catholic Church does that flies below the radar.  While the Times has a reputation for being anti-Catholic (see the archbishop's recent blog) I am always impressed with how it picks up these small stories which are at the heart of our mission as church.  I am often more perplexed at how singularly bad our church is at working the media in this media age!  Thank God for Brother Carty and thanks to the NY Times for letting us know. 
Boreta Singleton
6 years 12 months ago
Hooray for Brother Carty and the hundreds of inner-city private and/or faith-based schools like De La Salle across our country!  I worked in inner-city Catholic schools as a teacher and administrator both here in NYC and in Philadelphia.  These schools stand as a living witness for bright, economically disadvantaged students to know that there is a way out of their situation, and  education is certainly the key!

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