The following is Mr. Voutsinos' Reflection at the last formal Morning Assembly of the school year:
Over the last few weeks we’ve had the opportunity to listen to a number of students speak up here at the podium. From Student Council speeches, to our Valedictorian and Salutatorian speeches here last night, there has been somewhat of a common theme revolving around the torturous road they’ve been on here at De La Salle. For the record we do approve anything students say up here at the microphone; you’ve got to have thick skin to work in a high school and while there may be some elements of truth to what’s being said, we can handle it. We can handle it because we know and understand what those students really mean. It’s like when a child turns to their mother or father and yells out, “I hate you”, the child doesn’t actually mean they hate their parents, they are signalling to them that they don’t like how they feel in that moment, and they may not yet be equipped to handle that situation. And in a world where everyone is told that all that matters is feeling good, and one can be who they’d like to be and do whatever they’d like to do, it’s not a bad thing to be challenged now and to be pushed to your limits. It’s those challenges are what will make you stronger and more resilient, because the realities of life will eventually hit you, and you need to be equipped with the tools to persevere.
Anthony Bozzo, a Del Grad from 2016, said it best when he said that he takes back all the complaining he did in high school as he spoke about his experience in the Engineering program at the University of Toronto, he said:
Engineering at U of T works you to the bone, and I have never worked this hard. You are sleep deprived, depressed, stressed out, anxious, your social life goes down the drain, and you barely get to see your family, but you keep going because you have to and it’s your life now. It’s a grind of blood, sweat and tears and the university doesn't care how you feel. They want to see how far they can push you and how dedicated you truly are, it’s a life test really. From your past experiences you know that if you put your heart into something and work hard you will get the result you want and succeed in the end, but U of T Engineering isn't like that. Despite the hours upon hours you have put in to whatever you are doing, the program will continuously find ways to knock you down. You get up, and you get knocked down again, and again, and again, and all you can do is get up, dust yourself off, and try again.
So on that note, before you leave for the summer I recommend you thank the adults in your lives, who at times seem like they are simply trying to make your life difficult, because it’s those adults who are equipping you with the very tools you’re going to need to persevere. You’re not going to remember the times someone gave you a break, the times someone accepted a late assignment without penalty, and you’re certainly not going to remember the time a teacher walked by you and didn’t say something about your short kilt, or your missing top button. You will remember the Mr. Kulenkamps, Ms. Francis’, the Mr. Vlahovics and the Mr. Sourials of the world, the ones who hold you to task and who challenge you the most- because it’s those people that really care about you and your future and it’s no coincidence that they’ve also withstood the test of time here at De La Salle.
Student’s do not need adult friends, just as much as teachers don’t need adolescent friends. Young people need role models, people to look up to, who do what’s right and who will correct them when they make a mistake. We do our best to be those people here at De La Salle.
As young people, part of your job is to push the boundaries; and as adults, our most important job is to keep you within those boundaries. Even after all the phone calls home, detentions and even suspensions, we don’t take things personal, we know that by holding you accountable, you will be better for it.
So, like I said, think about the teacher who sent you for a uniform slip or a late slip or the one who took your cell phone away from you when you claimed you were "just calling your mother". Give them a big thank you, because we know, and just like that former student found out, life is not easy. Those are the people who will truly make a difference in your lives and they are the ones who are preparing you for what lies ahead.