Signum Fidei -Winter 2018

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SIGNUM FIDEI Winter 2018

The Power of Giving: How Your Support has Shaped this Del Alum’s Future

De La Salle is home to many a story, pointing to the value of membership in our community. Students inspire each other and their teachers daily with their effort and growth. Success stories powered by hard work and tenacity are catalysts for motivation. They bring up those around them. They convey the message of hard work paying off. Meet An John Nguyen, a 2009 graduate. He attended Del from Grades 9-12, each year garnering Dean’s List Honour Roll recognition for his grades. A wellliked member of his class, he studied English in Rome with Mr. Bellisaro in the summer of 2008. His well-mannered demeanor could lull you into a false sense of security before meeting him on the basketball court. A fierce competitor with a smooth jump-shot, An John was the MVP of the Varsity Basketball team every year he was at school. He will also proudly tell you he captained the team in his Grade 12 year. After graduating, An John attended Wilfred Laurier University, where he earned an Honours Bachelor of Administration degree focusing on Logistics, Materials and Supply Chain Management. He spoke glowingly of how De La Salle prepared him for challenges in post-secondary education. “With the high standards and expectations, the academic curriculum was instrumental in preparing me for university and the workforce. From the workload to level of education, Del taught me how to effectively manage

An John Nguyen, DEL ‘09

time efficiently, learn effectively to perform at a high level, building character and strong habits at a young age.” His education continued after leaving Wilfred Laurier as he completed a Certification in both Adult Training and Development and Project Management at the University of Toronto, and soon after completing his Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. After starting work at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto in 2015, he was named a Project Manager for Corporate Strategy in January 2017, a position he holds today. A proud recipient of the Superior General’s Scholarship, which awards Full Scholarship Tuition for 4 years at De La Salle College ‘Oaklands’, An John reflected recently on what that opportunity meant to him and his life’s journey.

“The scholarship changed the trajectory of my life, providing me with an opportunity to not only make a difference in my own life, but be an example for my community. Growing up in Regent Park, opportunities are often limited and chances of failing are high, creating a never-ending cycle. Del allowed me to remove the label that was placed on me because of the community I grew up in. Today, I am proud of this community for the grit and resilience that came with it, but Del afforded me the opportunity to change the outcome. Not only did the scholarship support my education, but I was able to partake in extracurricular activities, leading and competing as the captain of the basketball team. I am a holistic person as a result of the experience I received. CONTINUED ON PG 13

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A Christmas Message from Brother Domenic

IN THIS ISSUE Jocelyn Chau: The Old and the New....................PG 4 Keep That Candle Burning...........PG 6 Legal Networking ........................PG 7 We Remember ............................PG 8 Battalion Ball ..............................PG 9 Our Good Fortune: Three Profiles of Our First Responders.........................PG 10 Meagan’s Walk: A Circle of Hope..........................PG 14

The Winter 2018 Signum Fidei issue is brought to you by: Joseph Pupo

Director of Alumni Affairs and Development Department Nick Cipriani Co-ordinator of special events John Hunt Advancement and Development Associate Michael Chachura Alumni and Development Associate Austin McKay DEL ‘09 Alumni and Development Associate Jessica Minervini Communications Officer


It is probably true that Christmas still represents the most anticipated feast or holiday on the calendar. It is also true, I think, that once the school term begins in September that we are increasingly engulfed by one holiday or another that we practically slide into Christmas before we even know it. Labour Day has barely disappeared and we are into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is now a mere prelude to the national feast of Hallowe’en. Hallowe’en articles are moved off the shelves to make way for Christmas decorations even before we push Santa Claus down University Avenue. These days we even seem to embrace some aspects of American Thanksgiving in order to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How do we begin to settle down and prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ amidst such frenzy? The Church in Her Wisdom does give us some time to wait, listen and prepare. It is called Advent. This liturgical season is very much under-rated

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Merry Christmas from the Development Office

and, I believe, needs to be better understood and practised. Advent is not meant to be a “downer.” The intention of the four weeks we are supposed to spend observing this season leads us to the great feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It doesn’t entail putting a damper on festivities but rather to provide some real focus on the event we are supposed to be celebrating on Christmas – the recalling of the Birth of Our Saviour.

we experienced an overwhelming amount of support of over $50,000, and for that we thank you. There is truly a feeling of affirmation knowing that you value a student’s education just as much as we do, and through your donations we are able to allow those less fortunate to experience what all of you did when attending this school. We are beyond proud of our community of present, past and future.

Easter, of course, is the most significant feast for Christians, but the earliest followers of the Messiah decided that his birth held much significance as well. As we know, the setting of the date for Christ’s birthdate was linked to Roman customs and most likely doesn’t align with the actual date of the Holy Child born in Bethlehem. The point the early Church wanted to emphasize was the Incarnation – God becoming man and dwelling with us here in time and space. This is something we recall or should recall at all times. Our Lasallian tradition helps us in this regard by remembering as frequently as possible that we live always and everywhere in the presence of God.

What we most fondly look back on though are many reunions that took place this past year. Being able to see all of you, and for many of you it has been a while, only solidifies why we continue to do our jobs. Reliving the memories (both good and questionable), experiencing that sense of nostalgia and being able to catch up with friends and past teachers is something that we truly cherish.

So we are to continue to prepare and wait for Him whom kings and prophets longed to see and saw not. How blessed are we who truly seek Him and bid Him dwell in our hearts.

Brother Domenic, fsc President

It is hard to imagine a time when it was not the Christmas season here at De La Salle. As many of you may know, the Development Offices made a move over the summer to the historic Heritage House, which over the years has housed students, Brothers, friends, families and visitors from all over the world. It is a place that is constantly bustling through the seasons, but come Christmas time, it is truly transformed into a Winter Wonderland. From the Annual Grade 7 Victorian Christmas, to the Cadet’s Battalion Ball, to various seasonal parties, the ‘House’ as we so fondly call it, certainly brings up memories of a bountiful and blessed year we have had at De La Salle.

For the past 6 years, the new year has been kicked off with the Annual Hockey Tournament. It’s always a great time to see new and old faces and competition amongst multi-generational alum. But we cannot forget that the true reason we are brought together is to raise money for Skate with Daniel, a charity that supports one of Del’s own. We also take this time to reflect on our annual spring events, such as our soccer tournament and golf tournament, both of which saw amazing participation this past year. New this year we introduced two campaigns during our Founder’s Day celebration and Giving Tuesday, where

We are grateful for the grace of God in our work and in your hearts. When reflecting on the birth of Christ, we are spurred to do more and accomplish more in this coming year. For Christmas does come at the end of the year, but doubly, at the beginning of a new year. We are looking forward to running more events, engaging more alumni, and most importantly, affecting more change for families of De La Salle College. We wish you a wonderful and restful holiday season and may God bless you in 2019. Merry Christmas, The Development Office

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Jocelyn Chau: The Old and the New By: John Hunt and Jocelyn Chau, DEL ‘18 As a fresh graduate Jocelyn Chau left behind her at Del a sparkling career in academics, athletics, music, volunteering, indeed in every corner of school life. She grasped every opportunity and made the most of them. Graduating with very high marks in all her subjects, she moved along seamlessly to Yale University, a remarkable achievement in this country. Her summary of her time at Del is exactly what we hope for and aim for. She stresses moral training, gospel values, especially making an effort to benefit the less fortunate. Based on her early commitment to altruism we can confidently hope that her career in medicine will continue this trajectory. Note that she is taking nothing for granted. Every experience must be grasped as a learning opportunity, even if for a while she may feel like “a small fish in a big pond”, an expression somewhat reminiscent of the trials of Julius Caesar. How did that remote allusion come to be hers? Enlightened? Such fusions of concepts that appear on the surface to be completely different can be fused to create a novel insight if they have one thing in common. This is the essence

of creativity, that rare glimpse that escapes the bulk of humanity and which is the gift of the few great innovative imaginations. It is Shakespeare comparing life to a candle when he has Macbeth Jocelyn leading the pack at OFSAA cry out in despair over lius who in his invaluable, neglected his doomed existence, “Out, out brief candle.” Sadly. It is too book “ Meditations” provides a guide, easily snuffed out, an observation showing how, in Jocelyn’s words to find available to all but grasped by only “values and habits that transcend a one, framed in an immortal speech, re- simple race.” Our task as teachers is to peated often by Lincoln as he walked discover if such insights are her own or up and down sleeplessly in the White part of her education at Del. Then we House halls. Such is the essence of must do our best to duplicate it in our Newton’s apple and Darwin’s finches. classes, remembering that “there is If Plato is right, this gift is rare indeed. nothing new under the sun.” For example, though there was disappointment As a NCAA athlete she is learning in a in just missing the National Championnew environment that what she used ships this year, the team is confident of to call “running” is now a “dog fight, being there in the coming years. a serious business”. Going from being a winner in Toronto to the “middle of Regarding Yale generally, we see again the pack ”in the U. S. A. she saw as not her inclination to make the best of eva negative experience but rather as a ery novel opportunity for “an immervaluable one that would be an oppor- sive learning experience”. She finds it tunity to develop “ resilience, both “humbling and amazing to connect mentally and physically”. How can we with such accomplished people.” She teach this pos- also cherishes her deep involvement itive attitude in Yale’s Catholic community which to all our stu- rounds out her life there: athletic, indents, namely tellectual, cultural and moral. Read to see every about her classes and see that the fuevent, welcome ture holds much promise for herself, or unwelcome, but more likely for us as she explores as a stepping the molecular future. Jocelyn once stone to im- learned from us. Now it is our turn to p r o v e m e n t . learn from her. This attitude, essentially StoNCAA Experiences icism from Classical times, ex- Some call running in the NCAA a dog emplified in the fight. The competition is immense, and great Emperor cross-country is serious business. It is Marcus Aure- sometimes discouraging to go from Jocelyn winning six subject awards at Graduation


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winning many races in high school to being a “middle-of-the-pack” runner in the NCAA, but these experiences are valuable for any athlete trying to develop resilience, both physically and mentally. As my coach said, there is much to be gained in running confidently, even if it be in 100th place, without worrying about other competitors. Another interesting aspect of cross-country here is the “team” element. The focus is less so on individual successes, and more so on team successes, such as scoring well, working together during a race, etc. Although this was something new for me, I found that it helps to develop a strong sense of camaraderie and friendship, values and habits that transcend more than a simple race. This season, our cross-country team came third at NCAA Northeast Regionals, just 6 points shy of gaining a berth at NCAA Nationals. It was disappointing to come so close to qualifying, but we are confident that we have a good chance at making nationals in the coming years.

ute to an immersive learning experience. To give some context to this, my suitemate is a concert pianist who has travelled the world. My friend sings in the prestigious Glee club, and several of my teammates on the track team have represented their countries on the national stage. It is humbling and amazing to connect with such accomplished people. Contrary to popular thought, the learning environment is not that of “cut-throat competition”, but more of a mutual collaboration. There is also a strong and vibrant Catholic community at Yale; they regularly host lectures, retreats, and student prayer groups. There is also an organization called the Thomistic Institute that regularly brings in Catholic professors and priests to deliver lectures on relevant philosophical topics. The Catholic community here does not overlook its intellectual life. The standards here are very high; the academics are rigorous, and to my great surprise, yes, school can be harder than Del.

Yale’s Community & Standards

My Classes

Yale’s community is rich and diverse; students from all around the world, each with their special talents contrib-

This term, I am taking organic chemistry, the lab for organic chemistry, math modeling in the biosciences,

Jocelyn in first year at Yale

and French. I hope to major in molecular biochemistry and biophysics, but I have yet to declare a major because Yale allows undergraduates to declare their majors in their second year. The courses are tough and very fast-paced, but the rigorous academic preparation from Del have given me the study habits I need to manage my time. The preparation from Del also allowed me to place into some of the more advanced introductory classes, such as organic chemistry.


2017 Alumni Hockey Tournament

The 8th Annual Alumni Hockey Tournament will be taking place on February 22-23! That means it’s time to start scouting your roster for another year of stiff competition. Tournament details and registration will be sent out in the new year. Until then, get those skates sharpened and sticks repaired for Del’s Good Old Hockey Game!

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Keep That Candle Burning | By: John Hunt “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it” -George Santayana Our memories sometimes have an inevitable national tinge, as many of us have World War II recollections which do come to life around Remembrance Day. Sadly, these dwindle with time but we should not accept this attrition, nor do we have to. At Del as you know, we have a memorial at the entrance to the auditorium which celebrates those who gave their lives. On various occasions we have also honoured Major Fred Tilston, a brave hero who saved the lives of his comrades in an action that cost him both legs and an eye but gained him a Victoria Cross, presented by the King. Back home he graduated from Pharmacy at U. of T. and had a successful career in the pharmaceutical business. However, there is another chapter, largely unknown, concerning the war and De La Salle. The events of this episode in the war, perhaps made quaint by the passage of time, were not quaint at the time and certainly not to the people involved. By June 1940 the Nazi air force was pounding British targets causing British parents, anxious and desperate indeed, to dispatch their children to the farthest ends of the earth, perhaps never to see them again. As one observer wrote, “no one thought there was the slightest possibility of our losing the war but equally no one had the slightest idea when or how we were going to win. The sending of our little ones so far away does seem a strange response to even this, perhaps the greatest national emergency in our history. Sent they were nevertheless my brother and sister and I among them. My sister was only seven.” These words were borrowed from a printed collection called “Wartime Memories”; the writer is


The day of their departure from England

Lawrence O’ Keeffe, one of the three just mentioned. He was nine at the time of his voyage. He continues his story; “after crossing the bleak waters of the North Atlantic in eleven days in a slow convoy we reached Nova Scotia.” Then came “a long trundle through the endless forests and apple orchards of New Brunswick to finally arrive in Toronto to new homes and schools.” Six weeks later the transport of children ceased because a vessel with 90 youngsters on board was torpedoed by a Nazi submarine. The passage had become too dangerous. So, Larry O’Keeffe arrived at De La Salle as the Brothers took in four “visitors” providing both residence and schooling. His younger sister went to St. Josephs on Wellesley St. The four boys began to adjust to Canadian weather, which was not easy, but they had an easier time with games, comic books and pastimes. Larry continues: “One day I heard the exciting sound of the school Bugle Band practicing on the campus. I could not wait to join but was too small for the drum and bugles so I played the cymbals.” In winter they were surprised to find them-

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selves knee-deep In Canadian snow, but they skated, joined in, becoming very popular. They also enjoyed visiting our farms and had a trip to Northern Ontario. Eventually the war news got better and “we began to get excited by the thought of going home again. Then one day in January, 1945 we were told we would be taking a train to New York City but we could not tell anyone. There was a lot of secrecy in those days especially about ship movements because of German U-Boats.” Their convoy was indeed attacked near the coast of Donegal as it approached the Irish Sea, but they did arrive safely. The events preserved so well here happened on the hallowed ground of Del, on our campus, on the very same soil that felt the footsteps of the English children as well as our own. It is a fragile narrative, since almost forgotten, but precious because it revives parts of the history of our times, times that weave together the Brothers, De La Salle, that horrible war and some very impressive people from Del. These tales come to us, very fortunately, from

Dr. John Moffat (1948), who has managed to keep in touch with, or follow the careers of so many. This is an exceptional act of faith over all these years, inspirational memories, the knitting together of strands that weave a culture into a whole cloth, that weaves the past into the present and the present into the future, without which a culture cannot be preserved. As Cicero claims, no rich culture can live in the present only. It was Dr. Moffat who saved the stories of the English children and many of his own classmates. Andy Benac became the lead violinist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Larry O’ Keeffe back in England, joined the Diplomatic Corps and was posted to most of the important capitals of the world, the least comfortable being Prague, Czechoslovakia as the Soviets crushed the revolutions. The famous Rocco Martino and Sid Smith, of hockey fame shared Del time with Dr. Moffat. Terry Sullivan, back home in England, became a nuclear engineer in the Navy and was on the first nuclear submarine, a Polaris, to travel under the North Pole. By chance his mother came to Canada with him, looking for a job. The Brothers hired her to be the housemother for the boarders on Alcorn Ave. John Durran became the head of The Canadian Dental Association. Another classmate was Alex Hood , brother of the writer Hugh Hood. Dr. Alan Brown was the inventor of Pablum. Another connection- a young Br. Michael, a legend, taught them math. All the above was saved from oblivion by Dr. Moffat. Bless him. “That light you see is shining in my window, How far that little candle throws its beam, So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” -William Shakespeare

Thier first time in Canadian snow

We would do well to keep that candle burning.

Networking: The Legal Mind and Frances Tibollo DEL ‘06 | By: John Hunt ed dealings she goes to work uncovering files and after many tangled wranglings with muddled “authorities” she is finally allowed to visit the girls in prison. The jail is off by itself in a rural area, not easily accessible. She persists, often Frances and fellow alum at the Networking evening anxious about getting back to town. “Time and tide waits for no one.” Frances waits for no one either as we At length she discovers and threatens discovered during our first Networking a trembling press with the news that event, a new venture for us. There are the pictures supposedly validating the many people at Del who are interested story were all false. The afternoon pool in the workings of the legal mind -law- party pictures were taken at night in a yers, promising lawyers, and, among bar, not at poolside, and they proved our students, hopeful future lawyers. to be two years old. The case and all They all came together in early No- the obstructions Frances faced were vember at the Heritage House for a given international attention, so the “authorities” backed down rather lively evening. than face a humiliating defeat on the Following a pleasant social when grads world’s stage. The two girls were refrom various decades mingled and leased, spirited into town in the utchatted, our special speaker began her most secrecy and after some harrowstory, which is truly stranger than fic- ing days, again in the quietest manner, tion. She begins in Nigeria polishing a under threat, flown out of Cambodia. school with all the necessary supplies, even to computers, making it all work This happy ending is a tiny sketch of beautifully. After many interactions Frances’ adventures, all heart-stopwith the United Nations she finally ping. Soon, however, we are going to lands in Cambodia working with many write a fuller account of the trails and world-class lawyers to convict the no- trials of Frances Tibollo, following her torious Charles Taylor. Along the way to S.E Africa, Nigeria, to the World she successfully made a dent in the sex Bank and the U. N., to Ottawa and Harslavery trade in the Orient. After much vard Law, to Nepal and New York. Her globe-trotting and many crusades she speech to us on the first networking next travels to Cambodia again after evening was riveting. We are planning reading in the paper in Ottawa that others, so be ready. Believe me, there two Canadian girls were arrested for are many other grads with compelpornographic activities at a pool party. ling adventures that need to be relatOne of the girls’ parents calls Frances ed. They are an important part of our in desperation for her eighteen year past and should be of our present and old daughter was in a dismal cell with future. We must not miss them, “for little hope of release. After complicat- time and tide wait for no one.”

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We Remember: Honouring the Fallen on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistace | By: Michael Luchka, DEL ‘93 Each November, Canadians pause and reflect upon those who serve our country in times of war and peace.

year was no different, as the school marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice with a poignant ceremony.

We also honour the memories of Canada’s vast army of the fallen. During World War I, tens of thousands of official death notices were delivered by telegram and brought news of grief, stating that a loved one had been killed or lost in battle. Parents exchanged sons for medals. Those who survived sought meaning in the war and looked for a sense of closure. The legacy of pain lay like a shroud across the country.

A formal procession by the distinguished members of the De La Salle Cadet Corps was followed by an introduction by Mr. De Sanctis. “Every year, on November 11, Canadians recognize all of Canada’s Veterans, serving and retired, and commemorate our fallen, including the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, Peace Officers, Merchant Navy, and Reserves,” he said in his address. “On the 11th, we also honour their families and their losses. Here at De La Salle, we especially remember those of our school community who were directly involved in war and who honorably served their country.”

To this day, Canadians have a great emotional response to the First World War, embodied in phrases such as “Lest We Forget,” “the war to end all wars,” “the birth of a nation,” and “the passing of the torch,” or in symbols and rituals such as Remembrance Day, the poppy, two minutes of silence, and the thousands of monuments across this country and overseas. While the guns fell silent on the western front on the eleventh hour on November 11, 1918, the echo of the war’s long scream has reverberated to the present. Each year, the Oaklands community pays tribute to the fallen, to war veterans, and to those in active service. This

A prayer and reflection lead by Mr. Iacobazzi was followed by an address by special guest, Retired MCpl James Balancio, who was on active duty for 16 years with the Canadian Armed Forces and served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Grade 10, 11, and 12 Drama students used a combination of tableau, video projection, choral speaking, reenactment, interpretive dance, and the reading of authentic letters written by Canadian soldiers who served in the

First World War to pay tribute to the fallen and honour our veterans. Thirty large boxes were used during the 30-minute long drama, and were strategically positioned as trenches and crates, into white crosses and red poppies, and in a dramatic finale, coming together to form our national flag. This year, the 56 drama students invoked the memories of the First World War by reading telegrams sent to families of fallen Canadian soldiers and letters from loved ones to those in the trenches. They also recalled the story of George Lawrence Price who holds the sad distinction of being the last Canadian and last Commonwealth soldier to die in the conflict that claimed more than 60,000 Canadians in its four years. Price, a 25-year-old farm labourer from Saskatchewan, was struck by a single shot and killed two minutes before the Armistice went into effect at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. The dramatic presentation, retold the soldiers’ reasons for enlisting with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and their decisions to serve King and country. Through short monologues, students shared stories about life in the trenches, the horrors on the battlefield, and the anxieties felt by loved ones back home.

played the Last Post which was followed by a moment of silence. Guest piper Liam Hoyle followed with the Piper’s Lament. Remembrance Day is not only a time to remember, but also a time to be

Annual De La Salle Cadet Corps Battalion Ball | By: Capt Rousselle and L Col Nonato

Cadets and their honoured guests

Continuing with a long-standing College tradition that dates back to the early 1900’s, the De La Salle Cadets Corps conducted its Annual Battalion Ball on the 1st of December in the Heritage House Ballroom. The Battalion Ball is a formal event – Gentlemen, if military or Cadets were dressed in uniform (or tuxedo for civilians), and ladies in full length gowns, all guests wearing white gloves. The evening began with a “cocktail” reception, hors d’oeuvres, and photos with

Sadly, history records the names of millions of brave soldiers who would never come home. Of those, 86 were alumni of De La Salle ‘Oaklands’ whose names were scrolled during a special In Memoriam portion of the assembly. The Senior Concert Band, conducted by Mr. Shields, played composer Leonard Cohen’s haunting “Hallelujah” during the tribute. Drama students raise the flag while Cadets stand on guard


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After the ceremonial laying of wreaths, Grade 10 student Rachael Bowman

thankful that we live in a country that does not take peace for granted and honours the sacrifice of those who lost their lives so that we may continue to live peace in a world overcome with so much conflict.

Br. cuts the cake in true military fashion

the beautiful foyer of Heritage House as our background. A formal dinner followed, where rules of etiquette (and some rules unique to the DLSCC) were observed. As per military custom, various cadets were assigned to offer toasts to Her Majesty, The Holy Father, The Brother Superior and The Brothers, our Allied Cadet Corps, and our own DLSCC. The Corps birthday (07 Jan 1911 – when the famous Drum Corps was started) is always commemorated with our Honourary Colonel, Brother Domenic, cutting the Corps’ birthday cake (which is always Black Forest cake) in true military style: with a sword that was gifted to Brother by the first generation of Cadets, back in 2005. The Dining hall was then transformed into a ballroom for the dancing portion of the evening. Keeping with the long tradition, all the dances of the evening are ballroom

On Remembrance Day, the De La Salle community dutifully acknowledges the courage and sacrifice of those who served and continue to serve their country and acknowledges the responsibility to continue to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve. style dances, such as the foxtrot, the waltz, the cha-cha, to name a few. These dances were learned by The Cadets and guests in the weeks prior to the Ball. Some of the things that made this year extra special, was that most of the planning and preparation was all done by the cadets with very little involvement from the officers. Another thing was all the awards and promotions that happened at this year’s Ball, that included H. Hlynianszky promoted to Sergeant, D. Fatigati promoted to Corporal, F. Childerson, M. Henein, L. Minion and R. Painchaud all promoted to Lance Corporal. “After seeing how the entire evening came together, even with the few bumps along the way, makes me extremely proud of these young men and women. Over the years being able to see them become who they are now, brings me lots of joy, like a proud father.” Capt. Rousselle “Each Battalion Ball is nothing less than magical. The exercise of refinement and class are a part of possessing good character. These qualities were seen in copious amounts at The DLSCC Battalion Ball.” LCol Nonato

Cadets and their dates dance the Waltz

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Our Good Fortune: Three Profiles of Our First Responders | By: John Hunt “We have to win, because if we lose, there is no one after us.” -Brandon Wolff When we hear sirens wail our attention is involuntarily compelled and our minds focused suddenly, consciously and subconsciously. Fear! Alarm! Concern! The sirens also bring the first responders who embody a calm , orderly presence. But below that organized surface they are ready to confront the turmoil, chaos and upheaval of society they are called upon to normalize. They battle (no metaphor) on the front lines, for us, natural disasters, such as wild winds and floods, as wicked blizzards and ice storms, as raging forest fires which are too numerous and too dangerous. These horrors have a large human cost in deaths, destruction, ruin and sorrow causing much heart break and weeping. Then our troopers spring into action, thank goodness, and goodness it is. In addition, they are also our shield in confronting the very human tangles in society: the all too creative criminal mind, the complexities of pervasive mental illness, domestic disputes, a dismal normal reality states Brandon Wolff of the O.P.P., homelessness and rampant drug abuse. Sadly, we are all aware that there are many more hard ships that may pounce upon us, at their convenience, not ours. So, our first responders are our first resort, our last resort and everything in between. The calamities that may befall us are surely unwelcome but it is just as certain a soothing consolation to know our grads share a calm, trained professional response, with steady hands, prepared minds, great resilience and ready courage. Because of their talents many of the cares we might have had fly away since we know that a strong wall of protection is there for us when chaos crashes into our lives shaking our complacency.


even command that group is a challenging journey, but the program offers the close mentorship and support that makes the journey not only bearable, but valuable.

Then we breathe a sigh of relief because they, not us, deal with the risks and challenges inherent in daily life. Reducing or removing immediate harm, they prevent many tears from falling by their timely intervention. They provide peace, order and tranquility for most of us as one peaceful day slides into another. Moreover, as Marco notes in his summary, constant learning is necessary. They must be conversant with such matters as new building materials which burn hotter and collapse buildings. New technologies must be mastered. Marco, again, Brandon Wolff, DEL ‘10 says many of his associates, like skills that have saved not only my life him, have Masters degrees. They have but the lives of others. Being able to to be creative, as Antoine says, for all project my voice and clearly commusituations are fluid these days. They nicate commands is an important and have challenging schedules (Brandon). obvious skillset for any police officer, Daily they risk everything “to protect but having the tact to de-escalate a life property and the environment” situation – a skill I developed through (Marco). Here, then are their stories debating, where I learned to dissect in their own words, a glimpse into the both sides of an argument – has served ranks of the brave, gripping and in- me far better than a stern glare and resightful. peated shouting. Sometimes, however, Brandon Wolff, DEL ‘10 Perhaps the most obvious indicator of the effect that Del had on me is that I keep returning. Familiar faces seem fewer each time, but walking through the halls and catching glimpses of – or if I’m lucky, exchanging words with – the people who shaped my life is a very unique kind of reward that I don’t find elsewhere. My first extracurricular pursuit at Del stemmed from the public speaking and debate club run by Santino Bellisario. There, unbeknownst to me, I was developing the improvisational speaking

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de-escalation is impossible, and a confrontation is necessary. In these cases, continuing to communicate with the subject is crucial to distract them and buy time for additional units to arrive. I later joined the De La Salle Cadet Corps run by LCol. Joseph Nonato. The correlation there is far more obviouswearing a standard paramilitary uniform, conducting drill, shining boots… But more than that, the cadet program was instrumental into shaping me into the man I am today. The management and leadership skills imparted through the program are vital and in sad supply in my experience. Learning to act as part of a larger unit and eventually

My application to the Ontario Provincial Police came on the heels of approximately 5 years of military service with the Royal Regiment of Canada. Policing was something I had considered, but not seriously until about 2 years prior to my application. The application process is grueling and invasive, requiring extensive record checks, reference checks, psychological tests, physical fitness tests, and even fingerprinting. You even have a police officer assigned to investigate your background and visit your home! At the end of the process, if selected, you are offered a posting and get whisked away to the Ontario Police College and then the Provincial Police Academy. From there, you begin your time ‘on the road’. As a frontline officer, I exclusively work 12 hour shifts, alternating between day and night shifts. Though different detachments handle scheduling differently, I work 4 or 5 shifts in a row, rotating between days and nights. (i.e. day, day, day, night, night or day, day, night, night, night) Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the job is never knowing what will happen- being expected to drop everything that I’m working on whenever an emergency call comes across the air. That being said, it is also the most exhilarating feature! I always have something new to sink my teeth into, and every day involves learning something new and getting better at doing my job. The most difficult part, though, is making peace with the things that you experience. The sights, sounds and even smells associated with traumatic events will latch onto you, no matter how steady your mental health. Every day I am called upon to interact with people who are undergoing one of the worst

days of their lives, and often there is little I can do to make things better. That being said, there are a lot of opportunities to make things better. Our most common calls are for domestic disputes, and mental health crises. ‘Domestics’ are often an ugly and difficult matter to deal with. Domestic abuse is a dismally normal reality for many people, and perhaps the most depressing commonality is how often the victims will downplay or outright deny the abuse. In these situations, it becomes difficult to make the victim feel safe and to demonstrate that we take the crimes they have suffered seriously. Once we establish that rapport and learn what has transpired, we can extricate the abuser from the relationship and provide resources to help the healing process begin. When we encounter someone in the midst of a mental health crisis, they often pose a threat to themselves or other people. Often times these episodes are brought on by excessive or prolonged drug use, which exacerbates underlying mental health issues. In either case, when a person is that far removed from reality, we step in to apprehend them as best we can, which can be extremely difficult given the delirium that some people experience. Regardless, we unfortunately are the last resort.

we are required to be ready to respond to anything. There is no ‘passing of the buck’. This means that general competitive spirit falls far short of what is necessary in the wold of policing; we have to win, because if we lose, there is no one else after us. Antoine Terrelonge, DEL ‘03 My time spent at De La Salle, although brief, would come to be the most influential component to my adult life. I owe my respect and appreciation to Mr. Steve Dubrick for giving me the opportunity to enter into an established institution. I also thank Brother Dominic for accepting me into an enriched history of educational excellence. I remember waking up and dreading being on the football field before school, at whatever ungodly time in the morning. Thinking back, it’s probably the only reason why we won our Championships. This single life lesson taught me that hard work pays off, especially if you enjoy what you’re doing. It becomes less work and rather a normal part of your life that’s fulfilling. Policing to me is exactly that. It not only allows you to be part of a team, working against issues and challenges, while overcoming obstacles. It also leads you to a bit of enjoyment. Whether it’s putting a smile on the

This idea of police officers as the last resort is something that didn’t really cross my mind until I had spent some time working as one. It is an unfortunate reality that we have to be equipped with so many avenues for the application of force, but as I said earlier, Antoine Terrelonge, DEL ‘03

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face of a person who just experienced the worst day of their lives, or taking someone into custody who would otherwise be out to harm society. Police training can be summed up as a learning experience. There are times when book smarts will come in handy and times when life experience may save you from a harmful situation. Applying both equally tends to lead to a prosperous outcome. Training can be difficult at times because a lot of what you come across is foreign to your life. Through repetition in dealing with various issues, one tends to become better at dealing with them in the future. As an Officer we’re given the basic tools to understand the challenges we will face while out on duty and through experience, mold them to suit each obstacle we encounter, perfecting them along the way.

more potent and harder to recognize, leaving Officers subject to potential cross contamination and injury. The service helps combat these problems through constant training and partnerships with agencies to help and assist the needs of the community. Overall, the satisfaction in a career in law enforcement is second to none. The skills and experiences gained within the career can be applied to any aspect of one’s regular and daily life. It can be humbling at times, exciting, frightening and frustrating, but always rewarding. Lessons are learned everyday, which better help us in preparing to shape a brighter future.

Training usually starts with memo-book note taking and perfecting the ability to gather important information in an organized manner, while at the same time preserving the safety of oneself and others around you. De La Salle helped prepare me for excelling in this aspect of policing through its high demand for performance excellence, whether that be learning to use proper grammar in English class or developing questions for cross examination during law class. I face many problems on a daily basis as an Officer in the city. With technology expanding faster than one can learn how to use it, staying safe is a concern. Some gadgets that appear harmless on the surface can actually be very dangerous in the wrong hands. Being thorough in investigations can help in detecting these dangers, preventing harm to persons in the vicinity. Toronto is known as the “Multicultural City” as it holds a vast cultural population. Language barriers may arise at times making it difficult to understand the needs required in any specific situation. Illegal narcotics are becoming


Marco Tomei, DEL ‘07

Marco Tomei, DEL ‘07 I have been working with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) for the last year. We are a very young department and most of our employees are highly educated. Many of the firefighters, including myself, have a master’s degree with the majority completing an undergraduate degree. The fire service

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requires a person to be self-motivated, be an exceptional team player, and fully committed to continuous education. Del is a very demanding institution requiring exceptional time management, self-motivation, and sacrifice in order to succeed. The increased workload and more advanced level of education combined with my heavy involvement in hockey required me to develop exceptional time management skills, dedicating the necessary time to each task for success. I can recall numerous late nights doing my homework and studying in coffee shops, restaurants, on the subway and many times at the arena before practice or games. Furthermore, my involvement with the U14, U16, and Varsity hockey team as a goaltender further developed my teamwork ability. It allowed me to become a more well-rounded individual, integrating into a team of different personalities, helping me to understand the importance that goal cohesiveness plays in successful teams. This combination of dedication, hard work, and being a team player benefited my hockey career and my professional career. I was able to apply these experiences and sign in the OHL with the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors and also play 3 years of Junior A. When my hockey career finished, I continued teaching goaltenders and was able to develop a successful business, developing goaltenders who have gone on to play Junior A, OHL, NCAA, and some who have been drafted or invited to NHL team camps. My journey towards firefighting began during my first week of my master’s while doing fitness testing for prospective firefighters. This experience inspired me towards this career that

offered a variety of unique challenges, working as a part of a team, giving back to the community, and working in a continuously changing and developing environment. Following my master’s, I enrolled into a Firefighter Training program, took numerous additional training courses in specialty rescue, and volunteered at Sunnybrook and Mackenzie Health Hospitals in Stroke and Cardiac Rehabilitation and as a Firefighter at Mosport Motorsport Park. The process of being hired as a full-time firefighter is very challenging and competitive as 90% of fire departments in Ontario are volunteer. It is common to have thousands of applicants applying to a municipality for only a dozen jobs. There are a variety of challenges we face daily, from fires, car accidents, technical rescues, and life-threatening medical problems, therefore, daily education and practical training has become essential in order for us to be successful to protect life, property, and the environment. Modern technology has made our job significantly more hazardous and dangerous. Modern construction and refined manufacturing processes have made fires in homes burn hotter, with a higher probability of collapse, and a more untenable environment for occupants and responding firefighters. Furthermore, with the rise of townhouse and condominium construction, additional challenges are added to reducing fire spread and getting occupants in adjoining homes to safety. Therefore, the firefighter job responsibilities have broadened to performing public education and home inspections ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and are still within their expiration date. The firefighter profession is a very rewarding, fast-paced, and continually changing which requires a combination of teamwork, critical thinking, hands-on knowledge, and a devotion to continuous learning. My experience at De La Salle challenged me and gave

me the confidence and tools to succeed in the future. Being immersed in an atmosphere where one was expected to exceed the high expectations of the teachers and juggle a very busy educational and extra-curricular schedule requires exceptional time management skills, teamwork, motivation, and sacrifice. I hope to see more Del graduates look towards careers in Emergency Services. It is a very rewarding, fastpaced, and exciting profession that challenges ones intellect and body and requires ones dedication towards life long learning. Some additional musings must be added by us here because our heroes would not include them on their own. Why not? Humility. For instance, our hockey coaches maintain that Marco was the best goalie to ever play in Del’s nets. Marco himself remained silent. And a reluctant Antoine eventually revealed to us a ‘surprise’ play in football our team used twice in championship games. It went like this; ‘The catch was a trick play- the quarterback took the snap and pitched it to me running behind him in a sweeping motion. Joe Surret, lined up as a blocker on the same side as myself, instead of blocking released upfield and I threw him the ball successfully. Basically it was a fake sweep- it was used to take the lead in both championships.’ And Brandon, after years of a sparkling career in the Del Cadet Corps also served his country for five years in the Royal Regiment of Canada. All three, as in so many of our profiles did volunteer work helping others. They did ‘Leave to Serve’ and they still keep that focus in their front line efforts. They embody the school’s values, using them ‘to shape a brighter future.’ We must rejoice in such grads because ‘so few are doing so much for so many’ in our quest to maintain the norms of a civilized society.

An John winning MVP for Basketball

The Power of Giving (Continued) “I am honoured and proud to be one of the recipients of the scholarship and immensely grateful to the donors and administration for allowing me to be an alumnus at such a prestigious school.” He went on to detail how the Lasallian community affected his personal growth and the further development of his faith. “Beyond preparing me to succeed in post-secondary education, Del reinforced the Catholic faith and values in my life. I am a better person because of the values the school embraces. Del taught me the importance of leadership and hard work. I have been lucky enough to experience the sports culture, particularly basketball. It showed me what great leadership could amount to when combined with integrity, thoughtfulness and dedication to your team. I take these values with me in my work and personal life.” As De La Salle students are called to do, An John serves as a positive example in his community. Along with his full-time responsibilities, he is completing his Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University where he is enrolled parttime. An inspiration to many, De La Salle College is proud to call An John Nguyen an Alumnus and member of our community.

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awareness and fundraising. This concept of “kids helping kids” puts student thoughtfulness and care into action.

2017 Annual Meagan’s Hug at Del

Meagan’s Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope By: Lynda Di Prospero

A few short days before the Christmas of 2000, Denise and Kevin Bebenek learned that their daughter Meagan, at the young age of four, was diagnosed with brain stem glioma, also known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a malignant and inoperable brain tumour. Instantly, life for the family changed as treatments began and radiation and chemotherapy attempted to slow the progress of the tumour. Six short months later, the Bebenek family lost their dear and beloved Meagan as she succumbed to the illness in June of 2001, just a few short weeks after her fifth birthday. The loss of a child for a parent is unimaginable yet among the days of sorrow, Denise found the strength to act on the vision she had sharing a message of hope, spirit and love among all families. Denise understood that families should not have to walk alone during their time of challenge and that something had to be done to offer care and hope for these families. Denise’s plight was one of human engagement and medical research. Denise understood that not enough research had been done concerning childhood brain tumours, the leading cause of cancer related death in children and young people


under age 20. She began a journey of awareness in the form of a real yet symbolic “hug” around the SickKids. This symbolic hug was to serve as a way of sending a message to those children, their families and caregivers that they were being embraced and they were not alone. This vision of Creating a Circle of Hope began to flourish. It was less than a year following Meagan’s death, in May of 2002 on Mother’s Day, that the first Meagan’s Walk event took place, and an estimated 800 participants braved inclement weather to join together hand in hand to create a chain of love- a symbolic hug by families paying tribute to the strength and tenacity of young brave children. With the founding of the Meagan’s Walk, Denise and her team of volunteers and supporters have ensured that the Meagan’s Walk hug continues to take place annually in May. After 17 years of hard work and perseverance, Denise’s team has managed to raise more than $5.4 million dollars for paediatric brain tumour research. Today, thousands of participants, including some who travel great distances, attend the 5km walk which concludes poignantly with its hug of love. Presently, corporate sponsorships,

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partnerships and school programs have joined forces to share and spread the messages of comfort and hope to children, and their families, who have been touched by serious illness. . Since its inception, Meagan’s Walk has attracted global interest. Due to the funding provided by Meagan’s Walk, the Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC) in Toronto, the only facility in Canada with a program dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research, is now recognized as one of the largest brain tumour research centres in the world. Denise,a fierce advocate for families and for the empowerment of all children, has significantly changed how children with cancer are treated for their illnesses in the hospital setting, and has led to improved outcomes globally. An powerful message offered by the Meagan’s Walk team is that of kindling in children the desire to help one another. Encouraging children to engender a sense of compassion, giving and sharing serves as a strong message of healing to young patients. Denise’s vision continues to be that children can cultivate in others a sense of joy, kindness, benevolence and service. With a focus on servant leadership by students, the Meagan’s Walk school program has flourished and blossomed into a robust program of

When the Bebenek family joined De La Salle in 2005 with the enrollment of Matthew and Sarah Grace, Denise’s children, the Del family immediately embraced the spirit of the Meagan’s Walk message. Throughout the years, the De La Salle community has led by example, with its spirited initiatives and participation in Meagan’s Walk events, and its successful fundraising support for the organization. Meagan’s Walk has been an integral part of the life of the DEL community as its student leaders have put their faith into action. Whether it is advocating for the cause, raising awareness, par-

ticipating in the Crane Ceremony, creating the hug, participating in the walk or raising much needed funds, our De La Salle family has worked enthusiastically and offered generously to the cause. We are proud to have had this partnership with Meagan’s Walk for 13 years and we eagerly look forward to seeing what the future in research shall bring with the continued support of many sponsors and donors. This has significant impact on the research program, the medical fellowship program, the project grants, and equipment advancements, and such support remains vital to further exploration into paediatric brain tumour research. The De La Salle community is delighted to continue its support of Denise

and her team at Meagan’s Walk and we congratulate her for the honour of being the recipient of the 20 Lifetime Achievement award at the Royal Youth Impact Awards. With the understanding that all donations are directed to research, Meagan’s Walk relies on sponsorship funds to help sustain the operations of the organization. We are hopeful that our current and alumni families will continue to embrace Meagan’s Walk and offer the support needed to continue building on its mission and Circle of Hope. For further information about the various programs, the team invites you to visit:

Not sure if we have your contact information? Want to connect friends and lost alumni to DEL? Let us know what you have been up to at: Click here to access the alumni registry

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