NOLA.COM: U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite honored by De La Salle High and talks about social justice with students in New Orleans
De La Salle High School in New Orleans honored a distinguished graduate, Kenneth Polite of the class of 1993 who was recently appointed by President Obama to the position of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
De La Salle High School hosted a private reception in Polites honor on its campus Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Students and faculty, as well as various local and state leaders, including Sen. Mary Landrieu, attended.
Prior to the reception, a select group of De La Salle student leaders met with Polite, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Rafael Goyeneche, all De La Salle graduates, for a group discussion on social justice. At the workshop, students had the opportunity to engage in conversation and gather advice and inspiration from these leaders.
De La Salle President Michael Guillot said De La Salle High School is currently shedding light on a critical topic in the community, social justice. Last summer, De La Salle High launched a school-wide social justice initiative that serves to bring about a collective consciousness of a topic. The students chose the theme of peacemaking and nonviolence for the school year.
The initiative began with the the One Book for Justice project. The students chose to read Tattoos on the Heart, a book about young people working to improve their own lives and their community, to serve as the vehicle for the school-wide initiative. Each person in the school community (students, faculty and staff) read the book, then in the fall, students presented ideas from the book to small groups of their peers. This theme of social justice and reducing violence is now part of each course syllabus in all grades at De La Salle.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans and NOLA for Life have been collaborating with De La Salle on other various projects involving the social justice theme. These are ideal partnerships for De La Salle because the Archbishop and NOLA for Life are movements within their particular purviews to address violence in our community.
At his investiture, Polite spoke to high school students from all over the region and called them to take responsibility now for their school, their future, and their community. He challenged them to take action today and every day to make a brighter tomorrow for their city.
“To that call from Kenneth Polite, a call echoed by our Archbishop and Mayor Landrieu, De La Salle stands ready to put away cynicism and divisiveness, and to do what we can to grow in service to the young people who will lead our city in the future,” Guillot said.