Dear Members of the De La Salle Community:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice. ”
As we enter a new year, we usher in a series of new beginnings as well. In the first place, we render our gratitude for all the blessings and graces received during the course of last year. Yet, equally as important we now begin anew another journey, one not travelled, but one we hope will bring its own joys and achievements.
Over the course of my twenty-two years as head of the College there is little I have not seen. People come and people go. Some things change, some do not. What abides though is the fundamental mission of the College founded in 1851. I have written about it on hundreds of occasions. The aspect of the mission here at DEL which continues to impress me and gives me hope is that its traditions are not merely historical. These traditions are living and breathing in our students, past and present, and in our staff. Our traditions are not stagnant or relegated to some former more memorable time. They are lived out each day. I believe they are best summarised in three words: Competence, Compassion and Community. Without definable and earned standards we can do little good. Without a strong sense of our obligations, individual and collective, to the good of others we are simply hypocrites. Without a genuine spirit of unity of purpose and belonging, we are less a force for good.
We are not, at De La Salle, afraid to purpose and live out high standards. We set and attempt to maintain these standards in all we do. Each of us plays an important role in this lived experience. In order to ensure that we challenge ourselves and strengthen our resolve to put into practice our traditions and standards we need from time to time to look at what we say and do with a renewed spirit.
Over six years ago, the administrative structure of the College was modified to conform to the type in force in Lasallian institutions across North America. Part of this meant a division of duties between the President and, in our case, Principals of the two sectors of the school structure. This new approach was intended to provide the Head of School with more time to dedicate to overarching initiatives while the day-to-day affairs of school operations is overseen by general administration. All of this is intended to ensure that the school runs well, a hallmark of a Lasallian school.
On your behalf, I should like to express my gratitude to Mr. Pupo for his willingness to serve as Principal these past years. The role is a difficult one and I am thankful to him for his contribution to the school community. I am sure you join me in wishing him well with his new responsibilities.
Over the last few months several members of staff and representatives from the Board of Directors of the College have assisted me with a search for a new Principal for the Senior School. The diligence and the clarity of purpose with which they approached the process are a sign of their commitment, and by extension all members of staff and the board, to the welfare of the College. I am indebted to them for their good counsel.
I am, therefore, very pleased to announce that I have appointed a new Principal for our Senior School effective July I, 2016. Mr. Danny Viotto is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where he began his teaching career in 1997. Since 2003, Mr. Viotto has served as a Vice-Principal at two Secondary Schools in the Huron Superior Catholic School Board. In 2010, he was appointed Principal of St. Mary’s College.
Most recently, Mr. Viotto has been the Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in the Sault.
Mr. Viotto has served on many Committees for his local School Board among which have included Leading Student Achievement and the Advanced Placement Programme. In 2014, Mr. Viotto was a recipient of the Dr. Bette Stephenson Recognition of Achievement Award from the Education Quality and Accountability Office for his work in demonstrating continuous improvement in Grade Nine EQAO Assessment in Mathematics.
Mr. Viotto summarizes his approach to school leadership in the following way: “Each day I pray and reflect asking God to use me… to use my life. I have learned to understand that the vision for my life is far greater than my imagination can hold and as a Catholic leader I am blessed to have the opportunity to come to work each day and ask God, ‘What would you have me to do?'”
I believe that with the appointment of Mr. Viotto the school will undoubtedly continue to uphold and value its strong and specific traditions, but with an eye to the future needs of our young people. The world is a rapidly changing place and we must preserve the best of the past in order to provide our students with the best for today and tomorrow.
Let us not only welcome Mr. Viotto to the College but more importantly let us pray for him and assure him of our collaboration. I ask too that you will continue to pray for our school that together and by association we can worthily work with energy and zeal making real the great gift of providing a truly human and Christian education of excellence to the young people whose care is entrusted to us.
Many blessings and best wishes to you for the New Year.
Brother Domenic Viggiani, FSC