The Brothers of the Christian Schools have a network that stretches across 80 countries, which includes 4,000 Brothers, 90,000 lay colleagues, and 850,000 students.
This week, two Lasallian schools from across the world connected, as Hakodate La Salle High School spent the week at Christian Brothers Academy.
Hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, nearly 80 Hakodate students and 10 faculty members, including Principal Brother Fermin Martinez, were immersed in the CBA community. Over 40 current CBA families volunteered to serve as host families for the Hakodate boys.
“Having the students from Hakodate La Salle visit with us this week demonstrates how Lasallian education reaches across countries, languages, cultures, and religion,” CBA President Brother Frank Byrne said. “I think both the students of CBA and the students of Hakodate La Salle both benefited from this experience. I am grateful to Brother Fermin Martinez for initiating this program.”
The Hakodate students spent each day with their host CBA students, attending classes, lunch and extracurriculars with them. The Academy hosted a short welcome assembly on Monday and a grand farewell ceremony on Friday, which was filled with presentations from both the CBA and Hakodate students and faculty members.
“I hope this experience at CBA is just the start of something bigger,” Brother Martinez said. “What underlies this entire week is that we are all Lasallians. We have a special bond that opens each others’ hearts, so we worked so well together. The students at both schools do not focus on cultural differences, which makes everyone feel equal and enjoy one another.”
The unity between the two schools, 6,000 plus miles apart, has been impressive, all thanks to the Lasallian bonds that transcend culture. It’s no surprise that both the CBA and Hakodate students and administrators are eager to have this experience again in the future.
What the Students are Saying About This Cultural Experience
“My classmates, with open arms, created an instantaneous bond with the Hakodate students, including teaching them how to fist bump each other. There have been countless times this week when I have seen our CBA students socializing with those from Hakodate as if we were each other’s classmates. Whether it was hanging out in the cafeteria or library, playing Mario Super Smash Bros in the senior lounge, or just having a conversation in class, this week proved that we are more similar to each other than different.” – CBA senior Tim Murray
“I have had the pleasure of really getting to know Japanese culture through the eyes of someone I can closely relate to. I could not be happier with how the past week went, as I enjoyed all the time I had with Akihiko Arata greatly and would do anything to be able to experience this opportunity again. I hope that in the next two years that I have at CBA, we can bring these students back to campus.” – CBA sophomore Michael LaGuardia
“I can’t speak English very well, but Jack and his family was so kind to me during my stay. At the beginning, I felt very small and worried, but I quickly became comfortable. It feels like I have made a new family and now have a new brother. I enjoyed my time at school, observing how interactive the lessons are here.” – Jin Nakazawa, freshman at Hakodate La Salle
“I made a great relationship with my host, Luke. Not only was he friendly, but all of his buddies made me feel at home around the school. I realize that we learn in two very different ways, but we found similarities often.” – Tomoyuki Kishimoto, freshman at Hakodate La Salle