By | Adriana Daconceicao
“First KLaS” has been a part of Notre Dame since the 2012/2013 school year. Even after 7 years, not all students are aware of what it is, how it came to be, and most importantly, how to obtain this award. I interviewed Mr. DesLauriers, the creator of First KLaS, and he gave me a detailed breakdown.
Mr. DesLauriers came up with the idea while he was at the University of Notre Dame campus for a conference. He saw that the school had a t-shirt with hockey, football, and basketball, making them a triple threat. It was very athletically centred and Mr. DesLauriers wanted to create his own version of the shirt, but one that represented much more than just athletics.
The original name of the award was going to be “Triple Threat”, but he found that to be rather aggressive. So, instead, he came up with the acronym KLaS, which nicely dovetails with our school’s slogan: Know, Love, and Serve.
A group of staff came together to decide what each component would consist of, and what makes up each aspect of “KLS”. Though Know, Love, Serve is first and foremost connected to our faith, for the purpose of this award, each represents an important aspect of the criteria. Know is academics, Love is extracurricular activities, and Serve, which is not only service hours, but encompasses how a student represents the school in the best ways possible.
After selecting the three main categories the conversation shifted towards deciding how a Juggler could achieve this prestigious award. The committee (consisting of up to ten staff members) decided that instead of the Principal’s List standard of 90% – First KLaS can be achieved with a minimum of 80%.
Extra-curricular participation is important but not everyone has the time to participate in too many; so, the standard was set at a minimum of two. The service component involves how each applicant represents themselves each and every day while representing the school. Attitude, effort, and positive participation are three of the main areas of focus and are applied to each student in and out of the classroom, at special events such as school mass, walkathons, and Juggler days, and with how they present themselves while wearing the school uniform.
The whole purpose of First KLaS is to recognize students and their best characteristics in a unique way. Achieving this award is a milestone, but the true litmus test is how they respond after becoming members of this esteemed group.
“Students who desire this award in a perfect world want to be a representation of their best selves on a consistent basis; not just ‘I want to be my best for me but my best for the betterment of this community.’ It may be too idealistic but many young students have shown time and again that it is there and we have shown that many students are capable of taking pride in showing the best version of themselves. [Students who apply] show their willingness to want to achieve excellence, to be leaders by example, and demonstrate pride for their school.”Mr. DesLauriers
When asked about how First KLaS will be managed this year, Mr. DesLauriers admitted that they’re not quite sure yet due to COVID-influenced circumstances and that they will wait to see how the school year progresses prior to making any final decisions.