Worldwide Brotherhood: Hakodate La Salle Returns to CBA
December 16, 2019
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.
Last week, two Lasallian schools from across the world connected, as Hakodate La Salle High School spent a week at Christian Brothers Academy for the second year in a row.
Hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, 80 Hakodate students and 10 faculty members, including Principal Brother Fermin Martinez, immersed themselves in the CBA community. Over 40 current CBA families volunteered to serve as host families for the Hakodate boys, and additional CBA students were “day hosts” to show the Hakodate students around the Academy.
“As I said to all the students, the Lasallian network is a global community,” CBA President Brother Frank Byrne said. “When the Hakodate and CBA students get together, they come from two different backgrounds and two very different cultures. During the week, however, they realize how much they have in common thanks to Lasallian education.”
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.
The CBA Pipes & Drums band performed for the Hakodate students, before they returned the favor by playing the CBA alma mater and Star Spangled Banner on the recorder for the CBA community.
“This experience began months ago,” Brother Fermin said. “The students who came [to CBA] last year set high expectations for this year’s group. I would say the week surpassed all expectations for them. This opened our students’ eyes to a new kind of brotherhood. Thanks to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the brotherhood is in the DNA of all our schools.”
The Hakodate students departed CBA with a commemorative “Lasallians Without Borders” shirt, as well as a special certificate to recognize the cultural achievement.
The unity between the two schools – 6,000 plus miles apart – was impressive to say the least, all thanks to the Lasallian bonds that transcend culture.
“This week would not be possible without our CBA families,” Brother Frank said. “We are the first Lasallian school to welcome the Hakodate students for this experience. Our parents and students did a tremendous job stepping up to support this unique and tremendous opportunity.”
What the Students Said About This Cultural Experience
“At first, I was overwhelmed by the idea [of hosting four Hakodate students]. What really made this week worthwhile was the school day. It was funny how relatable we were to each other, even though we live over 6,000 miles apart. Just because they may speak differently and look differently, does not mean that we are different. The connections and international friendships created from this event are something that will be remembered for the rest of our lives.” – senior Saverio Caruso
“I was nervous when I found out I would be hosting at my house. I thought ‘what could I have in common with someone from the other side of the world?’ As the week progressed, however, I found the answer was quite a lot. Sharing a passion for music, sports and games, I learned that we live very similar lives, and above all, live by the same principals that LaSallian education instilled in us. By the end of the week, we were no longer strangers, we were brothers.” – senior Jack Hipschman
“Welcoming two Hakodate students, Koki and Yudai, into our family for a week was an amazing experience. Our family was not only able to show Koki and Yudai American culture in our daily life, but we were able to learn about the values they upheld. This experience gave me a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture and I am grateful for spending time, sharing laughs with, and making lasting bonds with our Hakodate brothers.” – senior Aedan Moran