By Shreya Yepuri ’15, Editor-in-Chief
Chaminade’s no Snobinade, as seen in its Center for Excellence summer program.
“Chaminade’s not just an ivory tower that closes its gates to the community,” center director Mrs. Kelley Stone told The Talon. “We’re trying to offer programs that help support the mission of the school.”
Family spirit pervades the West Hills campus, and that pleases Mrs. Stone, since it’s one of the Characteristics of Marianist Education. And the 800 students who attend the center are a testament to our teachers and coaches, and the desire for an opportunity to interact.
The Center for Excellence’s programs are perfect for recruiting future Eagles, giving both students as young as first-graders and their parents an opportunity to see what we’re about. Classes range from sports to college admissions and drama workshops.
Kids are immersed in our school community in a variety of fun activities. The five-day sessions began June 16 and ended July 25. Students could choose three-hour morning or afternoon classes or stay all day from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a lunch break.
With the help of Mr. Bryan Cantwell, West Hills dean as well as Chatsworth center director, and Mrs. Wendy Cowgill, West Hills counselor and West Hills center director, the excellence program provides college app boot camps for incoming seniors, an opportunity for the college-bound to work with experienced English teachers to widen their perspective on application essays. Seniors giving up some of their summer break do so to get a jumpstart on their college resumes before the packed final year of high school begins.
Teachers from partner schools St. Bernardine and St. John Eudes also work in the program, building stronger connections with us.
Current Chaminade students also serve as Counselors-in-Training or CITs. It gives students experience in administration and leadership. It also helps students earn Apostolic Works service hours for the upcoming school year.
“The opportunity CITs get is unmatched for teenagers,” Mrs. Stone said. “At most organizations, students do not get the chance to have so much autonomy.” CITs lead teams of Center for Excellence “campers” and are responsible for creating activities and lesson plans, along with making sure their young charges are fed, hydrated and enjoying their adventures. CITs act as teachers, life coaches, No. 1 fans and camp counselors.
More than 100 CITs are participating this year with the ratio of CITs to campers at about 1-to-2.
“You can never have too many CITs,” commented Mrs. Stone.
The nonprofit Center for Excellence highlights specialty programs at Chaminade. The unmatched opportunity to train with talented professionals such as Mrs. Yvette Bishop, who has worked in Broadway stage plays, in the Musical Theatre Intensive course and Ms.Tarrylee Silke, a current adult-cheer athlete, in an aerial class, is unprecedented.