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18 September

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

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Brother Michael Flanigan, President of Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx

14/06/2004: United States

What about the different races and languages – are they problematic when you’re working to build an educational community?
It’s true that language could be a problem, but nothing that can’t be overcome. At a recent parent teacher conference, a woman came to me because she hadn’t brought her son with her, and she could not speak English. So, whenever she needed help, I would go over with her to the teacher to translate. We always manage somehow. As far as race is concerned, our students reflect the reality of our city and the Bronx. There is rarely a problem because of race. The students are proud to be Mount students, and that’s what unites them.

How have the events of September 11, 2001 impacted the field of education?
It’s a funny thing. I have taken longer than I wanted to respond to this interview. One of the things that I kept avoiding was this question. We don’t like to think of what happened on September 11th two and a half years ago. And yet we live with this. Our students are probably more aware of what’s going on in the world. Most everyone here knows at least one person who was killed in the attack. The Mount lost 9 graduates in the Twin Towers attack.

How do teenagers and young adults in the United States look upon Saint Marcellin Champagnat?
Our students at Mount, and in all of our schools, are very attracted to Fr. Champagnat. Every year in October, students, who are first trained, go to each class and give presentations on his life. This past year we had 13 students who presented to 55 classes. Our students are very interested in St. Marcellin’s life and mission. Each month, approximately 20 students meet at school at 5:30 for prayer, discussion and dinner. The focus of this “Marist Youth Group” is how we can further educate the members of our school community so that all can see themselves as “Marist”.

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