By Liz Jodice, Director of Communications
Christian Brothers Conference
Seventy-three Lasallians from the Midwest District were among the more than 200 people who gathered for the 44th annual Huether Lasallian Conference November 16-18, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Colorado.
Through keynote addresses, breakout sessions, casa discussions, and time spent with fellow Lasallians, participants were reinvigorated in their vocation. For many, a highlight was being able to connect with other Lasallians.
“When we can come together and share stories, share prayer, share food and drink, it enhances and reinforces who we are as a Lasallian family,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, chief academic officer and vice president of the schools of graduate and professional programs at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona.
Before the conference officially kicked off Thursday evening, 75 Lasallians gathered for a first-time attendee social. Then, all participants came together for the opening session, which included an address by Brother Ernest Miller, FSC, D.Min., vice president for mission at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Mike Daniels, Ed.D., director of the Office for Education in the District of San Francisco New Orleans. Over the course of the conference, attendees heard from two keynote speakers. Christian Brothers Services sponsored the keynote by Ann Garrido, D.Min., associate professor of homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri, who invited participants into a discussion around difficult conversations. Elizabeth Huntley, J.D., litigation attorney and child advocate, author and lecturer from Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama, gave a powerful address on her troubled upbringing and the life-changing impact educators had on her.
Attendees took part in three rounds of breakout sessions over two days, which included a session presented by two students from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Amanda Kintzi and Anna Washburn, elementary education majors, presented a breakout session on diversity in curriculum.
“We’re all in this together, as cliché as that sounds, we’re all moving towards the same thing,” said Kintzi. “We’re all independent individuals, but on a much larger scale, like our presentation was about, we work together.”
Attendees gathered in casa communities, twice by like ministries and once by District, in order to discuss the messages heard in the keynote addresses and breakout sessions.
“It was very refreshing to be set up with other people I didn’t know, but we shared common values, common goals, common mission, and I thought it really allowed us to process what we were learning and listening to,” said Amy Smith, English teacher at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minnesota.
Huether came to a close Saturday evening with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Awards Banquet to celebrate outstanding educators in the Lasallian Region of North America, including two from the Midwest District: Dr. Jeanette Mines, academic associate to the provost at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, and Brother Dale Mooney, FSC, president of De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana.
For a second consecutive year, Lasallians took part in a pre-conference advancement track on Wednesday and Thursday, which included a networking reception, a keynote address by Colleen O’Grady, philanthropic strategist at Lipman Hearne, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, and four sets of breakout sessions.
Huether, hosted by the Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference, is an opportunity for educators to not only learn new techniques and find inspiration, but to build community, share best practices, and grow more deeply committed to their vocation of providing students with transformative, holistic experiences.
The 2017 conference marked the first time Huether has been held in Denver. The 2018 and 2019 gatherings will be held in the Midwest District in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
For more pictures and coverage, check out Facebook and Twitter with #Huether2017.