Posted on June 8, 2020 · Posted in News

Dear St. Laurence Community,

First and foremost, please know that in this time of unrest in America that you and your family are in our prayers.

This past week, our Leadership Team committed itself to reflecting on the recent events that have taken place in our country following the tragic death of George Floyd. Last Tuesday, we released a statement to our families and on our website in response to these historically difficult times. If you have not yet read it, you can find it here.

Following the release of the statement, the rest of the week was focused on listening to and learning from the conversations in America, and thinking about what we could do to make a difference with the Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education in mind. Blessed Edmund was a force for change among those impoverished and marginalized by social injustice, and if we fully embrace his mission, we know that we can help our community – and the world – be a better place. Specifically relevant to today’s world are Essential Elements #3 and #5:

Stand in Solidarity with those Marginalized by Poverty and Injustice.

Celebrate the Value and Dignity of each Person and Nurture the Development of the Whole Person.

Up to this point, we have made progress with inclusion: in recent years, Black and Latino students have been Student Council and National Honor Society Presidents, Illinois State Scholars and team captains. Students of color have closed the achievement gap and witnessed significant growth in standardized test scores over their four years at St. Laurence, with national percentile increases of 18% for African Americans, 20% for Latinos and 27% for mixed race students. Our recruiting efforts stretch further than ever before, as students come from 160 different grammar schools and 99 different zip codes. In a decision made early this year, we are also proud to offer our first African American History elective for 2020-21 so that students can receive proper education on not only the successes Black Americans have accomplished, but also the trials and tribulations they have faced.

However, it is not enough, and will never be enough. As Vikings, complacency is never in our vocabulary. Our mentality is that we always move forward, remaining courageous and challenging the status quo so that all students are reaching their fullest potential. Our number one priority is always the service to every single student in our diverse student body – academically, spiritually, athletically and emotionally.

A proactive approach will be taken this summer to review action steps so that these Essential Elements are fully reflected in our school community. We will create a school task force made up of a diverse group of faculty, students and alumni and work directly with schools across the Edmund Rice network to ensure that a variety of perspectives and worldviews are included in the measures we take. We look forward to updating our community on ways they can get involved.

We will continue to pray for our community, country and world in hopes for peace, prosperity and unity.

Sincerely,

Joseph Martinez ‘99
President, St. Laurence High School

James Muting ‘73
Principal, St. Laurence High School

If you would like to learn more about the Essential Elements, you can click here.