Longevity. Staying power. Durability. Commitment. These are the sterling qualities belonging to those who are said to have the "right stuff". Nick Catre is a man who exhibits these characteristics – he seems to gravitate to entities that have permanence. De La Salle was founded in the 17th Century. The Toronto school began in 1851. Young Nick, the student, first attended De La Salle in September 1978 in Grade 6 and he is still here, for after law school he returned to become a member of DEL's Board of Directors helping to guide us forward in the turbulent waters we must sail through today. Thus began a fabled 21 year unmatched Board tenure of dedication and service, which persists undiminished, as he always serves with the best interests of our community at heart. His daughter, now in grade 10 represents another generation of his family valuing our traditions and direction. In addition, he very quietly maintains a scholarship in memory of his mother.
Such commitment is exemplary of course, but in our day it is crucial. Our school is the last Lasallian school in Canada. Are we at a crossroads in our history? Our efforts to remain wholesome, academically sound and to maintain a pervasive spiritual underpinning, best seen in our graduates, these efforts are not widely shared. Throughout the province, and the country, education has faced many challenges- despite these challenges, De La Salle has remained committed to ensuring a strong academic program that serves our students beyond graduation. Further, DEL has judiciously ensured its mission is maintained despite these challenges.
The old story of the Emperor's New Clothes comes to mind! So, DEL tries to remain an island of measured stability and wholesome continuity in a turbulent "sea of troubles" which is contemporary, centrifugal culture. Why does DEL not need, or use, full page shiny ads in newspapers and glossy magazines to attract our students? The "word" is more than sufficient.
To preserve such a school, the last one in Canada, is indeed a heavy responsibility. Thus Nick Catre, our board member has been helping in this matter for decades, that is, preserving this school and its useful purposes within the Brothers saving mandate. This is no idle past-time. At the heart of the mandate is the bursary programme that supports more than 100 students out of a total of 630 pupils. This is astonishing considering our very reasonable tuition. The bursaries give a gratuitous boost to bright, fertile minds which without our help, would probably not achieve the lofty positions they do reach in our country. This democratic refreshing of our talent pool is crucial to society. Again, Nick Catre has a subtle guiding hand in this nurturing, saving salvation. He recently stated with the confidence of his convictions, "We want more poor kids here. We will find the money for them." Again, Nick Catre has a subtle guiding hand in this nurturing, saving salvation. Although the task is largely carried on in silence, unapplauded, it will, as time will tell, equal any heroic challenge. DEL surrounded by relentless narcissism and materialism, which "passes all understanding" has Nick Catre, a wiser soul who knows, from his own experience that "let the buyer beware" is as necessary a proverb as ever, when facing foolish options. His steady hand is necessary to help Brother Domenic keep us on a sane course.
Nick Catre loves DEL as a "special" place. His memories are defining – captain of the football team for 4 years. He remembers the travails of "a former poor immigrant kid" from Scarborough who forged lasting bonds with both students and Brothers. He knows the view from below as well as the vista from above. He wants more young people, especially poor young people, to copy his journey. Then, the destiny of many more souls will be lifted and the splendor of heaven revealed. This must be so, or
"the ocean is dry
there's no stars in the sky
and little sparrows can't fly"
P.S. Please read "Still a Radical Notion" on the website.
P.P.S We have not detailed Nick's exciting golf adventures and destinations – yet.
P.P.P. S. Nick invites more recent grads to attend alumni hock- ey on Wednesday nights.
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