Each year, The Brothers of the Christian Schools of the US / Toronto Region recognize Lasallian Educators for their outstanding work and dedication to the charism of Saint La Salle, with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at the annual Huether Lasallian Conference. This year in Cincinatti, three Educators were honored from the District of Eastern North America for their dedication to the Lasallian mission.
Brother Colman Coogan, FSC
Social Worker and Family Visitor
Central Catholic High – Pittsburgh, PA
Since 1994, Brother Colman Coogan has ministered as the Social Worker and Family Visitor at Central Catholic High School. In his role, he works tirelessly with students and families in crisis as he counsels students with physical, emotional, social, and learning difficulties. This work involves talking to teachers, administrators, physicians, and therapists. With remarkable energy he goes about his daily schedule, speaking to all with patience and honesty. In addition to the many hours he devotes during the course of the school day, Brother Colman visits the homes of these students in need and their families.
As a role model to students and faculty, Brother Colman is always there to spread the teachings of St. John Baptist de La Salle within our school community. Whether it is in after school talks he holds for faculty and staff, the writings he sends all of us, and the displays he creates throughout the school, we see and experience the Lasallian heritage. He shares his faith willingly and joyously with us and in doing so makes us richer. He invites us to share our own faith and find the joy in sharing it with all those in our lives.
His true gift is his ability to make each person he comes into contact with feel as if they are the most important person on the planet.
Ms. Irene Cronin
La Salle School – Albany, NY
Irene (“Renie”) has taught at LaSalle School in Albany for 26 years. During those years, she has consistently demonstrated her dedication and commitment to providing effective and compassionate service to the youth in our care. Throughout these two and a half decades, she has worked to excel as a teacher, investing her time and energy into professional development activities. She has readily shared her talent and knowledge with her colleagues on faculty, allowing them to benefit from her experience and insights.
Professionally, English Language Arts is her area of expertise. She has been an enthusiastic leader in targeted efforts to respond to the unique learning needs of adolescent students who have never learned to read. She has a special presence in the classroom, as there is no doubt on the part of her students, that she is ready, willing and able to help them learn, no matter how long that journey will be for them.
Renie embraces every aspect of LaSalle School’s Mission, and embodies the vision St LaSalle believed was essential in a teacher. Through her participation in the Lasallian Leadership Institute, she not only enriched her own depth of knowledge, but inspired others to explore the larger world of Lasallian Service and find their place within it.
One might think that at this point in her career she would be content to see all she has accomplished and feel complete. It is her continued determination to grow, learn, improve, and touch lives that makes her truly Distinguished!
Brother Philip Rofrano, FSC
Martin de Porres Group Homes – Springfield Gardens, NY
In 1972 Brother Philip Rofrano joined in the founding of Martin de Porres School and became a classroom teacher with two lay partners and accepted the challenge of dealing with the oldest and most aggressive of the students who were sent to our school. During the two years he spent in the classroom, he often visited families, counseled the youth outside the classroom and began to recognize that many of them needed a more stable living environment if they were to survive the risks of social pressures, neighborhood violence, and negative family and peer pressures. Thus he took the initiative in responding to these circumstances by founding the Martin de Porres Group Homes in 1974.
Like John Baptist De La Salle, Brother Phil never realized how circumstances of his life would be so influenced by the needs of youth who were neglected, abandoned and left to themselves. For 35 years since the founding of Martin de Porres Group Homes, Brother Phil has remained faithful to his calling and the Spirit of God enticing him to respond in ever more creative ways to youth in need.
The Martin de Porres Group Homes deal with the forgotten young men of New York City-young men on the margins of society, throwaways, and statistics for criminologists and sociologists. However, Brother Phil has always seen these young men as human beings, children of God; he has attempted to provide for them, true to our Lasallian charism, a pathway to salvation.