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Welcome Bro. Thomas Lavin Print E-mail

ImageWhen my family and I called on Bro. Michael Jacques at the La Salle Provincialate some two months ago, the person I least expected to meet was Bro. Thomas Lavin, the “Rock of Gibraltar” of La Salle College Hong Kong. I learned that he has somewhat ‘uprooted’ himself from Hong Kong and is now in Kuala Lumpur as the new Brother Visitor, Penang District succeeding Brother Peter Foo effective from December 2006. However, he mentioned that he would often shuttle between these two territories.  After exchanging pleasantries, he recounted that we had met once before at the launching of Yayasan De La Salle (La Salle Foundation) in Kuala Lumpur way back in December 2001. Such excellent memory!

Bro. Thomas, an Irishman by birth was born on 16th June 1943 in Country Roscommon. He received his early education in a local school run by the Christian Brothers of the La Salle Order. It was at the age of 14 when he dedicated his life to the service of educating youths as a La Salle Brother.

ImageIn 1960, Bro. Thomas left for England to complete his secondary education. He then entered the De La Salle College of Education in Manchester, UK in 1962. After completing his training in 1965, he was posted to the La Salle College, Hong Kong in August 1965 as the Sports Master. He also taught English, religious studies and mathematics.

ImageAfter four years, he then left for university studies in Dublin where he obtained a Masters Degree in Economics. He was re-posted to the La Salle College in 1973 where he remained until 1982. His record at La Salle College was par-excellence. Together with Brother Raphael and Brother Alphonsus Chee, they planned the new school building which, at that point of time was considered the most modern in Asia, with an extensive range of facilities for academic and extra-curricular activities.

He then left for the University of Manchester to pursue a Masters degree in Education which he completed in 1983.

The following year (1984), he was given new assignments in Nigeria, Africa where he was to spend the next 14 years. Thousands of students benefited from his teaching and guidance.

ImageIn September 1998, he visited Hong Kong before leaving for Chicago. He was again posted to La Salle College, Hong Kong in 1999 and was duly appointed as the Tenth Principal of the College the following year.

Throughout his tenure at La Salle College, Bro. Thomas provided an excellent and perceptive leadership. He is an active man with good visions and is highly approachable, gaining the respect of the students, their parents, teachers and the administrative staff. His door is always open to all and he has a smile for everyone.

He implemented the “No Child Left Behind” Programme – the same programme as used by the Christian Brothers in the USA. The aim is to help the meek and the weak students. He wanted the La Salle boys to be all-rounders. Religious and cultural activities were encouraged. Under his guidance, La Salle College grew to be the colony’s yardstick for academic and sporting excellence. In 2002, the College was named a Thriving School in the Quality Assurance Inspection by the Hong Kong Government. In order to bring the school to a new horizon, the School Improvement Project (SIP) was launched in the same year. Two new wings were to be added beside the swimming pool. They would provide extra facilities for Information Technology, cultural activities and staff development. The SIP was successfully completed in 2005.

Bro. Thomas Lavin retired as Principal of the College on 31 August, 2004, succeeded by Dr. Paul Lau. Bro. Thomas continues in the role as Supervisor of the College up till today.

We wish Bro. Thomas well in his new role as the Brother Visitor and we look forward to his guidance in facing the many challenges in our efforts to promote and preserve the Lasallian Heritage in this region.

Acknowledgement with thanks: The La Salle Family, Hong Kong

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