I am Arlene Casey, a proud De La Salle alumna from the class of 2011. When I first entered De La Salle as a seventh-grader, I was terrified. I had no idea what lay ahead as I began the hour-long commute from my home in the Bronx for my first day, but as soon as I finished the climb to the fourth floor and entered De La Salle, I was greeted with smiles and tons of people who were excited to get to know me. As a timid newcomer, I shied away from diving wholeheartedly into the DLSA community initially, but those around me would not let me fade into the background. I remember Brother Brian checking in with me before school one morning and encouraging me to let go of my shyness and fears and begin to build relationships with my peers in teachers. In doing so, I found a community who cared about me deeply and helped me to grow as a person and student.
I left De La Salle in 2011 with an understanding of the value of being a part of a community that cares for and supports one another, of asking for help, and of using my strengths to help others. I have carried this community with me into each new space I have entered. I have used the skills I learned at De La Salle to build relationships that are lasting and supportive. In high school, transitioning to the private Nightingale-Bamford School was overwhelming at first as I entered a school where many of my peers had known each other since kindergarten, but Brother Brian’s advice from seventh grade echoed in my mind and I dove in and found folks who would help me find my way. Later, as I struggled with the challenges of studying Math at Haverford College, I had a support system established whom I could fall back on for help. Now, as I prepare for the next phase–teaching high school Math at the Masters School–I feel confident that I will bring the values and skills that De La Salle instilled in me with me. While I am certain that many more challenges await, De La Salle showed me that with a strong community around me, everything is easier.