The District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) is pleased to welcome six Lasallian Volunteers (LV) who will be serving in the District during the 2019-2020 school year. It is a mix of new and returning LVs, each bringing their own gifts and unique expressions of the Lasallian Volunteer spirit.
Returning to SFNO is second-year LV Savannah Mattox, who will serve again at San Miguel High School in Tucson. Joining her there will be first-year LV Albert Chic. Second-year LV Benjamin Peters is new to SFNO and will serve at Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School in Oakland. Also new and serving at Cristo Rey De La Salle will be third-year LV Isabella Virgen. Finally, first-year LVs Amber Wilks and Conlan McDonald will serve at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco.
Albert Chic is originally from Spain, where he attended La Salle Campus Barcelona and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management of Business & Technology, specializing in Digital Entrepreneurship. Attending La Salle was his first exposure to the Lasallian world and where he was introduced to Lasallian Volunteers. At San Miguel, Albert will be 7th Period Coordinator and Lasallian Youth Director. “This year is a year of discovery, learning and finding myself,” Albert says. “My goals are to learn from the students and the staff, always observant and gaining insight from the community and the school. I really believe and try to put into reality this quote from Baden Powell: ‘Try and leave this world a little better than you found it,’ and just try to have a positive impact on those who need it from me.”
Savannah Mattox, a native of Pittsburg, CA, first began at San Miguel in 2018 after graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with an Ethnic Studies Minor. Her current role is as El Otro Lado Border Immersion Assistant and Moderator for the school’s Kino Teens Program. Savannah describes her LV journey so far as transformative and empowering, particularly her experience of community living. “The most challenging aspect of living the Lasallian Mission,” Savannah reflects, “is in those moments where I want to give into my usual patterns of retreating and being holed up alone in my room without processing with others. Solo-recharging has been a healthy facet of my journey but knowing my San Miguel Tucson Community has my back has made all the difference for me.”
Conlan McDonald hails from Portsmouth, RI. He graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Special Ed with a dual concentration in Math and Science. At De Marillac Academy, Conlan will be teaching 6th grade Social Studies, Physical Education and Digital Literacy. I will also be co-teaching 5th grade Phys-Ed and working with the ARP team to provide push-in and pull-out support for middle school mathematics. For Conlan, his attraction to the Lasallian tradition stems from its spirit of inclusiveness and affirmation. “It’s a mission,” he observes, “that pertains to and includes everyone. With “dignity for all humans” being one of its core principles, I feel inclined not only to help others realize their worth, but to also recognize my own.”
Benjamin Peters grew up in Kasson, Minnesota. He received a Bachelor’s Degree with a Double Major in Philosophy and History from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. His slate of responsibilities at Cristo Rey De La Salle will include Campus Ministry, Community Life, substituting, and assisting in English, Social Studies, and Science classes. As a second-year LV, Benjamin is quick to point out what has impressed him the most. “One thing in particular,” he says, “has stood out: the relationships. Each day I see that the primary focus is the relationships we have with students and our fellow staff. The Brothers’ focus on community is infused into every aspect of our education, and it gives us a special connection as we help each other grow in wholeness.”
Isabella Virgen calls San Gabriel, CA her hometown. Attending Saint Mary’s College of California, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology: Child/Adolescent Development. It was there at a retreat during her junior year that she first became aware of the LV program. At Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay, she will work in Community Life & Campus Ministry. Isabella’s varied experience as an LV has, in her words, “taught me so much about myself and who I want to become. Something that stands out to me is the bond I have with the people that this program has brought into my life: all of the other Volunteers, Christian Brothers around the country, the faculties and staffs where I have served, and, most importantly, the students I have met and learned from.”’
Amber Wilks comes from Cincinnati, OH. At La Salle University in Philadelphia, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education (Special Education). Her teaching assignments at De Marillac Academy will include Academic Resource specialist, P.E. and Digital Literacy. Amber’s goals this first year are to “become a better educator and building a stronger relationship with God.” A key reason for her attraction to Lasallian education stems from its commitment to service and to breaking down barriers. “It is about giving to those less fortunate through education, which is very important to me,” she says. “Showing students that people of color can teach them and can be something other than an athlete or a criminal. I also want them to feel my love of helping people and meeting them where they are.”