Chaminade Hosts First Athletic Event in Nearly a Year

It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly one year since athletic competitions were available for high school students. Excitement filled the air on Saturday, February 13, as Chaminade hosted its first sporting event since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020. The Eagles welcomed St. Francis’ Boys Cross Country team for a dual meet, officially kicking off the high school’s sports season.

“It’s the first step toward getting back to normal,” says Chaminade’s high school Athletic Director Todd Borowski. “We are excited for the kids and excited for the schools.”

Cross country is one of the few sports cleared for inter-team competition in the purple tier. Only dual meets are allowed at this time rather than the usual “cluster” meets consisting of multiple teams. 

The meet was held on the grounds of Chaminade’s 19-acre West Hill campus. Athletes ran three loops to complete a total distance of 2.6 miles. 

“We are thrilled to see our high school cross country team competing again.” says high school Principal Luis Guerra. “This is a big moment for us. It’s great to see kids doing what they love and just being kids again.”

Chaminade received clearance from the State of California, LA County Dept. of Public Health, LA Archdiocese, Mission League, and the CIF to host the event. “We have taken every precaution, following all guidelines and protocols, to ensure the safety of all in attendance,” said Luis Guerra. Only athletes, coaches, and a few school employees serving as volunteers were permitted on campus. No spectators, including parents, were allowed to attend.

“For a while, we thought we weren’t going to have a season. It’s great we had this opportunity to use what we have been training for,” said Chaminade’s team captain Brandon LaRue ’21. “This set up was a great cross country style course with hills, and we are honored to be here.”

All athletes were required to bring their own water, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, a towel, personal items, and a mask, which they are allowed to remove during the race. There were no team tent setups, water refill stations, or food stations.

St. Francis coach Patrick Donovan said, “It’s absolutely fantastic to be out here. It’s been a long time coming. All the ups and downs and the difficult times we have gone through, it’s wonderful to watch the boys competing in their jerseys representing their schools.”

Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time

By Kathryn Howard, LMFT, PPS, CWA
High School Therapist/counselor

The year is at a close and it is a time to reflect on the courageous students, teachers, and staff that have continued to work diligently to be educated and to educate. This year has brought so many emotions, so many feelings, and everything in between. We are incredibly proud of our students trying their best every day during this incredibly challenging time.

During the winter break, we hope your family gets some time to relax and enjoy celebrations that come with the season. Remember your PDF-Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time.

Here are some examples of PDF time as defined by our Challenge Success sponsors:

  • Playtime means unstructured time playing outside, games, and other activities for fun.
  • Downtime is time set aside beyond structured activities or academics to relax, reflect, or just be.
  • Family time creates a sense of connection and belonging. Try to incorporate 20-25 minutes a day, 5 days per week

While a break from the stress and routine of the semester can be good for many, winter can sometimes bring more sadness and isolation, especially during quarantine. Here are some resources in case you or someone you care about needs support.

Chaminade Founder and Marianist Educator Joseph A. Rauser dies at the age of 82

Joseph Rauser, former middle school teacher, died on December 11, 2020, at the age of 82. He is survived by his wife Shirley and four children Steven ’91, David ’94, Danielle ’96, and Michael ’98.

Joe was a fixture at Chaminade for 50 years until his retirement in 2015. According to Middle School Principal Mike Valentine, “Joe dedicated himself to Marianist education and, in particular, Chaminade Middle School. He loved teaching grammar, coaching cross-country, and doing acrobatics in the classroom. But more than anything else he loved being around the students of Chaminade. Joe brought great life and energy to every class he taught, and he most certainly did his share of inspiring students to love, learn, and lead.”

Joe was named a Founder of Chaminade College Preparatory in 2015, the same year the Middle School Library Commons was dedicated in his honor. Plans are in the works for a memorial service when we are able to safely gather as a school community.

The following article was originally printed in Chaminade Now, summer 2015

Joseph Rauser began his amazing career at Chaminade in 1963. At the time he was known as Bro. Rauser, having gone through the Marianist Novitiate with Fr. Ted and Bro. Skip in 1958. He was a Marianist through and through, as he was a proud graduate of two Society of Mary institutions, Serra High School in Gardena and Chaminade University in Hawaii. After making the difficult decision to leave religious life in 1967, Mr. Rauser left Chaminade for two years and taught in the public school system. He missed Chaminade and the Marianist culture and was overjoyed when the principal, Fr. John McEnhill S.M., invited him back to teach history at the (then) Canoga Park campus.

The rest is Chaminade history, as Mr. Rauser has committed the last 46 years of his life to teaching the students of our school. That means that this year marks an incredible 50 years of dedication to Marianist education and Chaminade College Preparatory. During his historic tenure at Chaminade “the Rau” has worn many hats: he has been a dean, a dorm director, a basketball coach, and a grade-level moderator. But his greatest areas of devotion have been as an English grammar teacher, a high school and middle school cross-country coach, and the organizer of 8th-grade graduation. For a large portion of his career, Mr. Rauser taught grammar to 8th graders in his inimitable, energetic way helping to lay the foundation for Chaminade’s renowned writing program. He loved teaching his students the nuances of diagramming sentences while weaving in conversations on current events. Nearly every one of Mr. Rauser’s 50 years found him coaching a sport or two along with his teaching duties. His favorite sport by far was cross-country, where he inspired countless Eagle athletes over the decades. Whether he coached boys or girls, middle school or high school, all his athletes were proud to be part of “Rauser’s Runners.” Finally, Mr. Rauser cherished his role as 8th-grade moderator where he presided over all the middle school graduation festivities. He was famous for his meticulous line-up practices and his creative use of the megaphone.

There are those who claim that Mr. Rauser would do anything to make a point to his students, including dancing on their desktops, tiptoeing along the chalk tray, and doing cartwheels across the classroom floor. Certainly, some of the stories of Mr. Rauser’s antics are slightly embellished, but one thing that can never be exaggerated is his love for his students and his commitment to Chaminade. Joseph Rauser has spent his life making an impact on students from the tumultuous 60’s to the technological present. He has seen many changes in education during that span of time, but one thing that has not changed is his passion for teaching and his uncanny ability to connect with young people. For his one of a kind spirit and his unprecedented loyalty to Marianist education, Chaminade is proud to bestow on Joseph A. Rauser, for the second time, the title of Founder.

Middle School Mock Trial Team Takes Second at the 43rd Annual LA County Mock Trial Competition

On December 3, teams from four schools argued their final cases in a virtual setting – the first time in Mock Trial history – at the 43rd Annual Los Angeles County Mock Trial Competition Finals sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). Chaminade’s Middle School Mock Trial Team, coached by Jill Teehan and assisted by Chaminade high school seniors Sophia Conzona ’21, Katherine Schultz ’21, and Brendan Teehan ’21, took second place in the Junior Division, for the second time in three years.

Despite the pandemic and the first-time virtual model, 110 teams participated – over 1,800 students – and spent countless hours researching, rehearsing, and preparing arguments to present their case. 

Chaminade’s Aiden Friedman was named Outstanding Prosecution Attorney, Junior Division, Ellya Kim took second place as the Courtroom artist, Senior Division, and Addison Park was named Outstanding Bailiff, Senior Division.

Each year, a new hypothetical criminal case is introduced based on an important legal issue. This year’s case, People v. Croddy, is the trial of Lee Croddy, who hosts a popular YouTube channel called The Right Choice of News (RCN). In the simulation trial, students portray each of the principals in the cast of courtroom characters. Student teams study a hypothetical criminal case, conduct legal research, and receive guidance from volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedures and trial preparations.

The program helps students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and understand their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This educational experience would not be possible without the support and dedication of the over 300 volunteers from the bar and bench who participate in the program as presiders and scorers.

During the awards ceremony, Retired Superior Court Judge Ron Rose commented, “In a difficult time for all of us, every coach, every teacher, every student, their parents, and their families are true winners, and you have brought light into a dark time for all of us. In addition to that, you have proven that our future is in good hands.”

Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) was established in 1962 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. CRF’s innovative educational programs transform youth lives by providing them with the skills to become informed, engaged participants in society and democracy. For more information, please visit www.crf-usa.org.

CRF Logo

Mock Trial Competitions Carry on in a Virtual Courtroom

While many activities and events have been postponed this year, Chaminade High School Mock Trial has been hard at work, at least in the virtual courtroom. The program, which boasts three Los Angeles County championships (2015, 2016, 2018) and top-four finishes at state, has two teams competing this fall.

For the first time, Chaminade was selected to compete in the Empire Championship, a tournament that features the top mock trial programs from all over the United States and even a few international teams. Representing the Eagles are 14 seniors from the class of ’21, most of whom have been part of the program since their middle school days. The Empire case, People v. Wilder, is extremely challenging, featuring hundreds of pages of testimony and exhibits to prepare, so students started prepping in the summer. In this case, the defendant faces a mandatory life sentence required by the three-strikes law for an attempted burglary.

The Chaminade junior varsity team will represent Chaminade in the Los Angeles County competition beginning Monday, November 2. The team features 20 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who will present People v. Croddy. Lee Croddy, a celebrity activist YouTuber, is charged with aiding and abetting a burglary and accessory after one of their fans steals confidential documents from a government agent.

Like many real trials these days, both competitions will be held over Zoom, but Chaminade is more than up to the challenge. The teams have been coached virtually for the last three years by Jennifer and Bert Bader. After 11 years at Chaminade, the Baders moved to South Carolina. The virtual setup did not stop the team from success, though. In the first year of coaching the teams virtually, Chaminade won their third LA County Championship and made another appearance at the state championship in Sacramento. 

The teams are extremely grateful for the opportunity to compete this year and hope to add to Chaminade’s mock trial legacy, even if it’s over Zoom.