Our Schools Saint Louis School
Crusaders strive for faith, uprightness at Saint Louis
By Kapono Dowson
Advertiser Staff Writer
A classroom door opens. Young men dressed in red, blue and white uniform shirts, immediately rise to their feet and face the person at the door. They stand in silence until the guest is greeted and their teacher gives them permission to sit again.
This simple courtesy at Saint Louis School surprises newcomers but, according to officials, reflects the discipline and respect the school tries to develop in its young men.
"We are trying to develop true gentlemen, true spiritual men who are concerned for the poor and disenfranchised and who will go out into the world and make a difference," said the school's president, the Rev. Allen DeLong.
For more than 150 years, Saint Louis School has prided itself on preparing and motivating young men in Hawai'i to become good men. But what is a good man?
This year the school has consolidated its overall educational philosophy into 15 character traits a student should have by the time he graduates. The school calls this ideal person The Saint Louis Man.
The character traits center on faith formation and moral uprightness and are encouraged both through curriculum and personal relationships.
School principal Burton Tomita said the personal relationships with teachers, coaches and mentors provide teachable moments to develop good character that goes beyond the classroom.
The school has a long history of athletic achievement in a variety of sports, including football, wrest-
ling, air riflery and baseball, but officials are quick to point out that great achievements are also made by their students in academics, community service and artistry.
Officials say the school strives for "a strong college preparatory education that emphasizes academics, service, faith and moral values."
What are you most proud of? "I'm very proud of the community, the family spirit and the commitment teachers have to educate and mentor their students. It's not something you can fake," said Jayne Mondoy, vice principal of academic affairs.
Best-kept secret: "Our faculty work hard outside the school in the community as volunteers, making good examples for the boys," said Mondoy.
Everybody at our school knows: School president DeLong and Cal Lee, school athletic director and football coach.
DeLong is considered not only administrative leader, but also spiritual leader. He leads all school Masses, heads the spiritual retreats and keeps in touch with students' families through his inspirational letters.
Under Lee, the football team has brought fame and high visibility to the school.
"Both men have strong influences on our students' lives," said Russell Valente, director of admissions.
Our biggest challenge: Mondoy said it's sustaining themselves as a faith community and taking the time to minister to one other. "But we're fortunate in a Catholic school that we can and are called to address the spiritual dimensions of students," she said.
What we need: A fine arts building. "We're looking at the fine arts as a way to help boys express their creativity and to be in touch with their emotions," said DeLong.
"Emotional development is important because in our culture, men think they have to be macho and strong, not show feelings. Our boys need opportunities to express their creativity and emotions."
Special projects: Because the students need 80 community service hours to graduate, there are countless service opportunities. Students have volunteered at retirement homes, blood drives, Hawai'i Food Bank, Institute of Human Services shelter and River of Life. Recently, the middle school did a bowl-a-thon for Catholic charities, raising nearly $5,000.
The school's administrators view service learning as a method that integrates community service with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility.
Special events: Each spring, the school honors distinguished alumni with its Gallery of Distinguished Achievers event. Past recognitions have been in a variety of fields and have included songwriter Dean Pitchford ('68), UH baseball coach Les Murakami ('54), and the late Gov. John A. Burns ('30).
|At a glance|
|||WHERE: 3142 Wai'alae Ave., Honolulu|
|||PRESIDENT: The Rev. Allen DeLong, who has been with the school just over a year.|
|||SCHOOL NICKNAME: The Crusaders|
|||SCHOOL COLORS: Red and blue|
|||ENROLLMENT: 800 male students, Grades 6-12|
|||S.A.T.s: Both verbal and math scores are up from previous years. This year's mean verbal score was 485, and mean math score was 535.|
|||HISTORY: Saint Louis School was the successor of the College of 'Ahuimanu in Windward O'ahu, founded in 1846 by Catholic Missions. The Brothers of Mary, or Marianists, took over Saint Louis in 1883. Classes were first held at the base of St. Louis Heights in September 1928. The school has been there since, except during World War II, when it was used as a hospital and students met off campus.|
|||SPECIAL FEATURES: Because of the special relationship Saint Louis has with Chaminade University, upperclassmen may take enrichment or college-level classes from the university as approved.|
|||SPECIAL PROGRAMS: This year the school started a new retreat program in which students met with peers, listened to talks, and spent time examining their lives. Each grade level met separately and had its own theme. "The new retreats provide a great opportunity for our young men to learn more about themselves and about their relationship with God," said DeLong.|
|||COMPUTERS: The school has two computer labs, and most classrooms also have computers. The school also has a special tech-team made up of 15 students (Grades 8-12) who help school technical director David Kobashigawa. The team responds to about 10 calls a week, troubleshooting hardware and installing software. According to school officials, Saint Louis also is one of the first schools in Hawai'i to use hand-held computers in the classroom. The school plans a pilot program for fall. Hand-held computers will be used in two classes: history and finance.|