By ANDREW NELSON | Published February 14, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE—Franck Launay-Fallasse followed his passion to serve the Church. He just didn’t know it was going to be as a schoolteacher.
As a young man, he was a social worker for mentally impaired people in a L’Arche community. He also assisted unemployed adults.
But what he calls a “series of providential events” led him to share his interests with teenagers. And he’s been doing it now for nearly a dozen years.
Now, as a teacher at Our Lady of Mercy High School, he instructs juniors and seniors on theology, from morality to an elective titled “Socratic Logic.”
“I’m driven, thus I’m driving. I love learning, thus I may teach,” the French-born Launay-Fallasse said in an email. He teaches at the school with his wife, Cynthia, a foreign language instructor.
Launay-Fallasse was recognized at the Archdiocese of Atlanta education banquet recently for his work at the Fayetteville high school.
According to his nomination, Launay-Fallasse thinks of Catholic education as a way of life: “He lives and breathes the vocational mission his teaching career offers.”
“He is a model of the Catholic faith to the entire OLM student body and community as a whole; he truly lives the message of Christ,” according to his school.
According to Launay-Fallasse, he encourages students to engage in class by using critical thinking skills.
“I learned philosophy as a servant of theology, the ‘credo ut intelligam’ (“I believe in order to understand”) of St. Anselm or the ‘Faith and Reason’ of Pope John Paul II,” he said.
He is the chairman of the theology department.
One of his efforts is to take students to his native country. There, the young people visit the ecumenical prayer service at Taize, meet with French families and visit Paris. Last fall, he was the voice behind a program on Radio Television Suisse, the broadcasting company that handles French programming in Switzerland, on a web series on the American Dream. He was one of five correspondents for the program.
Launay-Fallasse is one of nearly a dozen men who teach at the school. Men should consider teaching, he said, if they want a career that demands a “fulfilling commitment, magnanimity, deep meaning, purposeful endeavor, serving a great and challenging cause, daily battling and resourcing, the overcoming of repeated and resistant obstacles, the need for dedication.”
As for parents, they can help teachers by communicating with the faculty and collaborating with them in what goes on in the classroom. He said it helps teachers to know they are trusted and supported by the parents.
Launay-Fallasse wrote a poetic email to his colleagues when he heard he’d be recognized for his classroom efforts:
“This reward you granted me is a testimony to YA’LL!/YOU welcomed me so well in your Southern midst!/YOU encouraged me so well all these years./YOU befriended me so kindly and faithfully./YOU taught me so well what I needed to learn./YOU showed mercy to much of my shortcoming./YOU trusted me so well that I dared trusting myself./YOU have thus rewarded what I consider to be your own merit./Y’ALL are my friends and colleagues of the decade! MERCI MERCY!”