Father Elwin Schwab, representing the school’s new neighbor, St. Charles Parish, blessed the crowd and building. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)
Father Elwin Schwab, representing the school’s new neighbor, St. Charles Parish, blessed the crowd and building. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)

The freshly painted halls and new corridors of De La Salle North Catholic High School were filled with joy as faculty, donors, supporters and other members of the school community roamed the new building Friday morning.

The school celebrated the official opening of its new campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 22, bringing together many people who’d helped the school get to its home on Northeast Killingsworth.

“This is a beautiful day,” James Broadous II, vice principal for student life at De La Salle North, said to a cheering crowd. “We have been waiting for this day a long time. I’ve been a part of this school for 10 years and every day we’ve been talking about this moment.”

Brother Chris Patiño, a member of the Christian Brothers, led a prayer for the event.

“As we inaugurate this new home, we pause and give thanks for all who have made it possible,” he said. “May our Lasallian Catholic education vision — rooted in faith, service and community — bear fruit through touching hearts, touching minds and mutually transforming the lives of all those who teach, learn and serve here.”

Classes began in the building in September, with construction completed around the students, staff and faculty. The final work, including the completion of a new gymnasium, was finished in the days just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Nikolas Tucker, who attended De La Salle North and went on to graduate from New York’s Columbia University, has worked in the architectural design industries in New York and Portland. Tucker was one of the architects who designed the new school space.

“Everybody deserves space that amplifies them to be their best self,” he said.

Tucker said he looks forward to the opportunities the school will provide for students in the years to come.

Father Elwin Schwab, representing the school’s new neighbor, St. Charles Parish, blessed the crowd and building.

The new campus gives De La Salle North “a level of permanence that they haven’t had and gives them new energy to move forward,” said Mark Myers, a donor to the school. “It’s a beautiful spot so it’s great for education.”

The new space will provide “a lot of new opportunities, a great new start and a brand-new facility to make more memories in,” said Melissa Easler, who just started as chef at the Portland school.

“The De La Salle students are so special for our Catholic community,” said Herbert Medina, president of the University of Portland. He noted there are 22 De La Salle grads currently enrolled at U.P.

“This is just a great addition to the Catholic community in the Portland area, especially with students that are historically undervalued and underrepresented in higher ed and even in the high school experience,” said Medina.

Oregon State Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, said he likes the stability of the new campus, which is in the senator’s legislative district. “This is an incredible school, really strong program,” he said. “The students are just outstanding. It’s not for everybody, but it is something that really supports some kids who otherwise would not have that kind of support. I’m really pleased to see it.”

“Our founder, St. Jean Baptiste De La Salle, the patron saint of educators, is here with us in spirit,” said Oscar Leong, president of the school. “There’s so much joy that’s going to happen on this campus.”

Leong thanked all those who helped with construction and fundraising and offered other forms of support as the school established its new home.

“We belong in this community,” he said. “This is not only a school. This is a place where the community can come and celebrate.”

sarahw@catholicsentinel.org