Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2024 Great Futures

May 2 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

We’re raising funds for tuition assistance, academic programs and community enrichment at De La Salle Institute. As we kickoff our momentous 135th year, we continue to be dedicated to bringing a quality Lasallian education to students who are preparing for great futures.

By supporting the Great Futures event you are investing in a long tradition of creating opportunities for young people. As our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle reminds us, “To touch the hearts of your students is the greatest miracle you can perform.” Join us for this wonderful event and help us continue the tradition that has served more than 20,000 graduates.

For ticket information, sponsorship and digital ad options or more details about the event, please visit


The Founder’s Award is De La Salle Institute’s highest presidential honor, given to a person or organization exemplifying the school’s Lasallian values of faith, service, community, academic excellence and respect. This year’s honorees are:




(retired and current faculty/staff of De La Salle with 35+ years of service to the Institute)

Presented to: Steve Hopkins, George Jaros ’64, Kamaal Khazen, Br. Chris Oddo, FSC, Rich Radecki, John Sullivan and Larry Wenshutonis ’60

Steve Hopkins was born in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood and spent much of his formative years in McKinley Park where he attended Our Lady of Good Counsel grammar school. After graduating, Steve attended Quigley South Preparatory Seminary (along with future fellow De La Salle teacher Tom Dufficy). After high school, Steve continued his studies at Niles College Seminary of Loyola University and graduated in 1982.

After college, Steve was offered a position as a religion teacher at Maria High School in Marquette Park where he taught for five years. Steve wanted to obtain his teaching certification and returned to school to take the required classes. He hoped to do his student teaching during the summer so he would not miss any work and that is what brought him to De La Salle Institute in 1987. Steve taught summer school, received his certification and was hired full-time by De La Salle where he has remained for the past 37 years. Steve is currently the longest-serving educator still working at De La Salle. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom and has taught many of the current faculty while they were students at De La Salle. 

Steve not only serves in the classroom, but also on the athletic field as a coach of tennis, basketball and golf. His belief is that it is important for educators to participate in the full life of the Institute and that giving back to the students is a rewarding part of the job. Steve is the proud father of two children, both graduates of De La Salle. He continues to serve each day as he teaches Civics, the History of Chicago and Senior Religion.

George Jaros ‘64  is a Chicago native who grew up in the Back of Yards neighborhood and attended St. Basil Grammar School. George was torn between attending St. Rita High School and De La Salle Institute and ultimately chose De La Salle in 1960 to follow in the footsteps of his cousin.

After graduation, George attended DeVry University and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. George did not plan on teaching and wanted to do something in the field of business management. He looked at both De Paul University and Lewis University to continue his education and chose Lewis, staying within the Christian Brothers family of schools. While at Lewis, George’s girlfriend (and future wife) encouraged him to pursue teaching with the hopes they would marry and have summers to travel. George still resisted the teaching call, but fate had other plans for him. In his last semester at Lewis, there was a terrible snowstorm and George was unable to get the classes he wanted. The only classes available to him were computing and the philosophy & history of education. Since computing was a very new science, his future wife convinced him that the education class was the way to go. George graduated with his degree in business management and was set to work at Argonne National Laboratories when again providence stepped in. 

While visiting De La Salle in the spring of 1969, George ran into Brother Jerome who told him his talents were needed as a teacher. With the strong encouragement of his future wife, George decided that he would join the faculty for one year and ended up staying at De La Salle for the next 36 years.

While at De La Salle, George had an amazing career, teaching math, electronics, woodshop and basic automotive. With his students he built 200 canoes, and hundreds of grandfather clocks. He was the moderator of the Canoe Club for 26 years and took students each year to Quetico Provincial Park in Canada for canoeing and an opportunity to find peace in nature away from the city. During his time at De La Salle George also completed his Master’s degree in Occupational Education at Chicago State University and for 33 years drove the De La Salle school bus both before and after school. 

George and his late wife, Barbara, had the opportunity to fulfill their dreams by using their summers to travel the world. George is an outstanding example of what it means to be a Meteor having given so much back to his alma mater.

Kamaal Khazen was born in the city of Haifa, Palestine not far from the ancient Monastery of Mount Carmel. As a young man of seven, Kamaal was introduced to the Christian Brothers as he entered De La Salle School in Haifa. Kamaal received his grammar school and high school education at De La Salle, not knowing the Christian Brothers and De La Salle in particular would become very important in his life.

After graduating from high school, Kamaal was accepted to study at Edinburgh University but was unable to get a visa to attend. His father, a teacher himself, worked with the United States Consulate to allow Kamaal to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. He was awarded the scholarship and was accepted to study at Loyola University Chicago. 

Kamaal became friends with many De La Salle alumni while attending Loyola and they encouraged him to apply for a teaching position at the Institute.  He applied to De La Salle and was offered the position to teach mathematics yet they wanted him to start the next day teaching summer school classes. Kamaal joined the faculty and he stayed at De La Salle for the next 47 years.

Kamaal not only taught mathematics but also took on the chemistry lab as part of his duties, teaching three math and two chemistry classes. While he was in charge of the lab a generous alumnus made a gift to completely modernize it, resulting in one of the finest chemistry labs in any Catholic school.  He eventually became chair of the Math Department where he fought hard to add a third year of mathematics to the required curriculum. Not only did Kamaal teach and serve as Dean of Applied Sciences, he also ran the bookstore, coached soccer, coached basketball and drove the De La Salle school bus! Kamaal never said no to a request from one of the Christian Brothers.

Kamaal is the proud father of three sons, all of whom are graduates of De La Salle Institute. After 47 years of service to De La Salle, Kamaal retired in 2013. Kamaal is still a frequent visitor to campus and a supporter of the mission in all he does. 

Brother Chris Oddo, FSC answered the call to join the Christian Brothers when he was 17. A graduate of St. Patrick High School on Chicago’s northwest side, Brother Chris was moved by the aspect of community, particularly one that offered the charism of teaching. After completing his novitiate, he began his college education at Lewis University. Upon graduation in 1970, his first assignment was to teach math, psychology and religion at De La Salle Institute.  As a new teacher, that was a year filled with much learning for Brother Chris. At the end of that academic year, he was assigned to Montini Catholic High School in Lombard where he spent the next 15 years as a teacher.

After teaching at Montini, he took a sabbatical year to complete his degree in education administration. He was then assigned to Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison as principal where he spent the next three years leading every aspect of the school.

In 1990, Brother Chris returned to De La Salle Institute where he has served ever since. His roles were many in those early years as he not only taught three classes but was also the Institute’s entire technology department. Brother Chris remembers the days when the average classroom had desks for 40 boys and each one was occupied. As technology demands increased, he moved from the classroom to become the full-time technology director. It was his job to not only troubleshoot issues but to introduce new technology to the students and faculty. Things we take for granted today like laptop computers, email and the internet were foreign to most people in the early 1990s. He remembers this as an exciting time as the Institute was being introduced to new technology that would change how we do everything.

Today, Brother Chris still serves as our technology guru. He not only fixes problems associated with technology, he keeps everyone at De La Salle well aware of new advances that help students and educators to be successful. It is a true blessing to have Brother Chris as a part of our current team and as an example of dedication to the mission of the Christian Brothers and De La Salle Institute.

Rich Radecki’s tenure at De La Salle Institute began in 1968 and lasted for 41 years when he retired in 2009. Rich has always been a staunch supporter of De La Salle and often worked with the Office of Advancement to make connections and help garner important donations for the school. Rich’s passion for science was known by his colleagues and his students benefited greatly from his teaching. He was the moderator of the Biology Club, ACT Coordinator and the Chair of the Science Department. Rich is still involved with De La Salle and recently returned to the Institute to teach during Alumni Weekend this past fall, where his classroom was once again filled with students (this time adults) listening to his every word.

John Sullivan was raised on Chicago’s Westside. He attended St. Mel grammar school and Quigley Preparatory Seminary High School. John had considered becoming a priest and attended school at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. He decided that he was not called to the priesthood and instead knew he could serve others by being a teacher.

After teaching for one year at Holy Name Cathedral High School he met a friend who mentioned that De La Salle Institute was looking for an English teacher. John joined the faculty in 1966 and stayed for the next 40 years. During that time John devoted himself to teaching English and was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1998, which he considers one of the greatest honors he has ever received.

In addition to teaching, John also coached tennis for 18 years. During his time as coach, he expanded the team into both varsity and junior varsity divisions. Under his coaching leadership, the De La Salle tennis team went to the State Finals four years in a row. John also coached the racquetball team and was proud that De La Salle had courts on campus for practice and meets. In addition to all of this, John was the substitute bus driver for De La Salle. 

John got married in 1968 to his lovely wife Margaret and they had two sons, both of whom graduated from De La Salle. John raised his family in Cicero where he lives today. John is a frequent visitor to De La Salle and attends many of the events on campus. He continues to live out his call to serve others as a minister of care at his parish. John truly embodies the Lasallian values he embraced while teaching at De La Salle Institute.

Larry Wenshutonis ‘60 strongly believes it was Divine Providence that connected him to De La Salle Institute and has kept him connected for more than 68 years. As a member of St. Pancratius parish in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood, it was thought that he would attend St. Rita High School. But in his eighth-grade year, he had a friend he greatly admired who attended De La Salle. He saw this friend proudly displaying the D on his letterman’s jacket and decided that it was the school for him. 

Larry entered De La Salle in 1956 and is a proud member of the class of 1960. He has fond memories of taking the 35th Street bus from Brighton Park each day, traversing various neighborhoods in Chicago. After graduation, he entered the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) with the thought of majoring in chemical engineering but quickly decided to change his major to physics after realizing that lab work wasn’t really for him. He graduated from IIT in 1964 and continued there and received his Master’s Degree in Mathematics in 1966, all the time still taking the same 35t Street bus.

After graduation, Larry knew he was called to teach in a Catholic High School. Two positions became available, one at St. Ignatius and one at De La Salle Institute. He was offered both positions on the same day and chose his alma mater to begin his teaching career. And quite a career it was as Larry remained an educator at De La Salle for 35 years, retiring in 2001.  Hundreds of students passed through his math classes and many continue to remark how he changed their lives in a very positive manner.

Larry married Mary Pat Kelly, the daughter of another De La Salle educator,  in 1997. After retirement, they decided to travel the world and are very grateful for the many opportunities they have had to do so. Last September, Larry returned to De La Salle as the keynote speaker for Alumni Weekend. His rousing address was received with a standing ovation from alumni who all appreciated his love and enthusiasm for De La Salle Institute.



The 2024 Great Futures event will once again take place at the spectacular Ivy Room (a Lettuce Entertain You venue), located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago at 12 E Ohio St. For more information about this historic venue, please visit the Ivy Room’s website at


Visit to secure your spot at this year’s event.

Pictures from the 2023 Great Futures Event:

2023 Great Futures Pictures on Flickr


May 2
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Categories:
, , ,
Event Tags:
, ,


Lindsey Naughton
312-842-7355 x 146


Ivy Room
12 E Ohio
Chicago, IL 60611 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website
Close Menu