“Community Is What It All Comes Back To” — Mr. Banks Returns to La Salle


Ashley Hawkins

“Some people define community as the place where people miss you when you are gone, and that feels like this place for me,” religion teacher Mr. Noah Banks said.

Josephine Robinson, Editor in Chief

As an alumni of the class of 2012, and one of many family members to attend the school including his wife, religion teacher and Director of Liturgies Mr. Noah Banks has strong ties to La Salle.

“It feels like home,” Mr. Banks said. “It just feels like a place where I belong.”     

And after leaving La Salle for a year, Mr. Banks is glad to be back. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, Mr. Banks was teaching at Central Catholic as “enrollment was down at La Salle and they just didn’t have enough students to fill in classes to have a position for me,” he said. 

“And so coming back to this was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes,” Mr. Banks said. “It was just very familiar. Very comfortable.” 

In his seventh year teaching religion and fourth year teaching at La Salle, Mr. Banks has transitioned into teaching freshman and sophomore classes instead of juniors and sophomores like in previous years. He is now teaching Catholic Christianity/Intro to Sacred Scripture and Christology/Paschal Mystery. 

Although teaching a new age group has been an adjustment for Mr. Banks, he has had the support of his colleagues to help him get comfortable in the new role. 

So far, Mr. Banks has found a love for teaching freshman students, which was not something that he expected. And while there is a definite maturity difference between juniors and freshmen, Mr. Banks enjoys being a teacher who gets to welcome new students into the La Salle community, especially through religion. 

“It’s been awesome to teach ninth grade to get to meet those students right on their first day of school, on their first day of maybe ever having a religion class and getting to set that tone here at La Salle, and [in] a religion class getting to set that tone for students who might not have had that experience before,” Mr. Banks said.

This year, Mr. Banks is also aiding Director of Faith Programs and Campus Ministry Mr. Tom McLaughlin in campus ministry by taking part in the set up and planning of school Masses and revamping part of the Journey retreat. “I’m excited to step into those new areas as well, beyond the classroom,” he said. 

It was as a student at La Salle that Mr. Banks found new meaning in the Catholic faith he had grown up with. He was especially inspired by his junior religion teacher Mr. Ryan Mainard, who asked him to think about his faith differently, something that pushed him to his career as a religion teacher. 

Heading into college, Mr. Banks thought he was going to graduate as an electrical engineer but found — through some soul searching and a realization that he wanted to be like Mr. Mainard —  that a major in theology was better suited for him. 

Mr. Banks went to the University of Portland for his undergraduate studies and went to Notre Dame for his graduate degree. He received his master’s in Theology and his bachelor’s in Art and Theology. “[I was] in a program through Notre Dame where you teach in high school for two years and earned a master’s degree at the same time,” he said. “So that led me down that path of teaching.” 

So far, the best part of being back for Mr. Banks is just getting reestablished in the school. “It was pretty cool coming back and setting back up my classroom and being back with my colleagues here and then eventually students,” Mr. Banks said.

Correction: Dec. 7, 2022 

A previous version of this article stated that Mr. Banks was teaching at Central Catholic during the 2020-2021 school year when he was in fact there during the 2021-2022 school year.