Two Men Who Listened to their Hearts

In the midst of ongoing efforts to improve public school education in Providence, RI – and throughout the nation – two men have quietly and persistently dedicated themselves to creating new models that epitomize both sacrifice and success.

Brother Lawrence Goyette, FSC is the founder and executive director of the San Miguel School, an independent, Lasallian middle school (grades 5-8) for urban boys of all cultures and faiths from the Greater Providence area. Dan Corley is the founder and head of school at Community Preparatory School, an independent, coeducational school (grades 3-8) for students from economically and culturally diverse backgrounds, particularly those who otherwise would not have access to such a rigorous, private education. With compelling visions and inspiring leadership, each of these men has directly impacted thousands of students and their families – transforming their lives and futures.

What so impresses me about Brother Lawrence and Dan is the choice each one made, decades ago, to steadfastly pursue a vocation that he knew would require great sacrifice. They listened to a call in their hearts and decided to invest the talent, passion, intelligence, energy, and character they possess into a cause greater than themselves or their own personal achievement. They knew what comprised their own personal “more than matters” and went after it with a determination to succeed for the sake of others. Both are deeply committed to the idea that the surest path out of poverty – towards success and leadership – is acceptance and education.

The results are impressive. Over the last eight years, 95% of San Miguel graduates completed high school in four years; more than 80% have gone on to college, the military, or career training. Since its founding, the San Miguel model has been replicated at 12 other similar schools throughout the United States; the thirteenth will open in Concord, California in September 2014.

At Community Prep, 97% of graduates have been accepted into college-preparatory high-school programs, many at top independent schools throughout New England. Some 83% of their college-age alumni are attending or have graduated from college. These two outstanding schools make it possible for students who once dared not dream of such success to achieve it.

I am sharing this information about San Miguel and Community Prep because so much important and life-affirming work takes place in our communities of which we are not aware. These are two shining examples. I encourage you to visit their websites and be inspired by the stories shared there.

Through messages like this, we hope to highlight organizations, like San Miguel and Community Prep, that are committed to making our world more just, hopeful, and beautiful. I deeply admire and respect Brother Lawrence and Dan for the impact they have made through the love they demonstrate for their students and their leadership in the community. Because they listened to their hearts years ago and have remained steadfast in their vision and work, countless lives have and will be enriched for decades to come.

Ron Ware


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