Chaminade College Preparatory’s 8th grade Debate Team took first place as the top overall school at the Quad League Championship Saturday, March 18. This was the biggest and most competitive tournament of the year with schools from all throughout Los Angeles. Out of 90 teams, seven Chaminade teams placed in the top 25, including the team of Camila Gaona, Cameron Hunt, and Gavin Villalobos who went undefeated! Other teams placing include the team of Izabella Gandara, Madison Marker, and Armen Ajemian; the team of Hannah Hayes, Serena Gill, and Brendan Teehan; the team of Skylar Takac, John van der Wel, and Chandler Moutes-Lee; the team of Dylan Barsoumian, Karan Singhvi, and Andrew Langrudi; the team of Zane Naso, Azi Hormazdiari, and Trey Topping; and the team of Leroy Freelon III, Dario Cardenas, and Bailey Sellfors. Seven debaters were recognized as Top Speakers for the tournament, including Chandler Moutes-Lee, Katherine Schultz, John Van der Wel, Andrew Langrudi, Azi Hormazdiari, Trey Topping, and Bailey Sellfors who was the Top Speaker for Chaminade.
The Debate Team will conclude their season at the Golden State Debate League Championship in April.
On February 4, 2017, Chaminade College Preparatory will host its first Alumni Hall of Fame and celebrate the achievements of Kate (Lospalluto) Beskid ’00; Meghan Hawthorne ’10; Conor McCullough ’09; Kevin Pillar ’07; and Captain Duncan Smith, USN ’76. Previously, alumni athletes and distinguished alumni were honored during two separate ceremonies. The new tradition combines both events and recognizes graduates for their professional achievements, dedication to the school, and service to the community.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2004, Kate Beskid ’00 returned to her alma mater as a 7th-grade religion teacher. For the last 13 years, she has served the Chaminade community in many ways—teaching, coaching cheer, working with Student Council, and much more. In 2009, Kate, along with Annette (Dietel) Damien ’01, founded the middle school’s SHINE program. She was the chair of the religion department for eight years and is currently Chatsworth’s director of campus ministry. Kate is part of the Marianist National Program and served as their regional coordinator for the Pacific for three years and works with the national LIFE program as well.
Meghan Hawthorne ’10 was a record-breaking swimmer for Chaminade. She won titles in the 100 butterfly (2010), 500-yard freestyle (2008), broke the CIF-SS D1 record for the 200 individual medley (2010), and was named L.A. Daily News Swimmer of the Year in 2008 and 2010. She was a two-time All-American Swimmer at the University of Southern California, and reached the Pac-12 Championships finals seven times. As a member of the USA Swimming National Team, she reached the final of the 400 IM during the 2012 Olympic Trials and earned a silver medal in the same event for the United States at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Meghan is retired from swimming and is in her second season as assistant swimming and diving coach for Boise State University.
By the time Conor McCullough graduated from Chaminade in 2009, he held five national hammer throwing records and a 2008 World Junior Championships silver medal. He continued his athletic career first at Princeton University, then at the University of Southern California. In 2010, he won the USATF Junior National competition and secured his first international gold medal at the World Junior Championships. While at USC, Conor won the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championship. He made his Team USA debut in 2015 and finished second at the USATF National Championship and earned a bronze medal in the hammer throw at the Pan-American Games. Conor represented Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was the highest ranking Team USA athlete for the hammer throw.
Kevin Pillar ’07 was played football, basketball, and baseball for Chaminade, and earned first-team All-CIF honors in each sport. He continued his baseball career at California State Dominguez Hills as an All-American center fielder. As a freshman, he had a .379 batting average and set the NCAA Division II record with a 54-game hitting streak in 2010. During the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Kevin, and he made his debut on August 14, 2013, against the Boston Red Sox. He was named the 2015 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year and was a Golden Glove finalist. In 2016, Kevin was again a Golden Glove finalist, received the Fielding Bible Award, and was nominated for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award.
Captain Duncan Smith, USN ’76 is a Navy SEAL and American hero. An involved student at Chaminade, he ran cross-country and track, played on the tennis team, took photos for the yearbook, competed in Speech and Debate, and served as senior class president. He graduated from the University of Southern California, and after a year of working and cycling in New Zealand, he worked as a stockbroker. Duncan later joined the Navy and became a Navy SEAL in 1986 with BUD/S Class 137. He served as an officer in Special Operations platoons at SEAL Teams One and Five before transitioning to the Navy Reserve while attending the Anderson School at UCLA. In September 2001, Duncan returned to active duty in Naval Special Warfare where he has served with distinction the last 16 years. Captain Smith’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Action ribbon, and both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals.
More than 1,500 miles away from West Hills, California Michael Everett ’15 faced a field of 440 competitors at the National Speech & Debate Tournament. He persevered through each round and was named the National Impromptu Speaking Champion in Overland, Kansas on Friday, June 20.
Just to get to the national tournament (#nats14), Everett had to place among the top at one of 110 district tournaments. Chaminade Head Speech Coach Robert Lebeda says, “The rest of the team has been filled with excitement and inspiration. Michael is one of the hardest working members on the team and he absolutely deserves this. They are even more excited for next year.”
On Saturday, May 3, Chaminade’s middle school debate team won the Golden State Debate League Championship. Out of nearly 40 teams that competed, all five of Chaminade’s teams placed in the Top 10. The team of Lara Mikhail ’18, Jordan Cheney ’18, and Hannah Sellfors ’18 went undefeated and qualified for the final public debate on the topic “The U.S. should pardon Edward Snowden.” In front of more than 100 spectators, Chaminade won the decision against rival Oakwood School and took first place overall.
Chaminade also had 11 Top Speaker awards including Michael Keating ’18, Lara Mikhail ’18, Jordan Cheney ’18, Maya Desai ’18, Oceania Eshraghi ’18, Rebecca Steinberg ’18, Kojo Boakye-Nimako ’18, Jackie Mulcahy ’18, Samantha Bader ’18, Claire Rider ’18 who took second, and Louis Gerny ’18 who won the coveted gavel and was named Top Speaker for the championship.
This is the fourth time that Chaminade has won the League Championship in the past six years. The team is coached by Mrs. Jennifer Bader and Mr. Bert Bader.
On Saturday, March 16, the Chaminade Middle School Debate Team took first place and was named Top School at the Polytechnic Invitational, one of the largest middle school debate tournaments in the country. With more than 100 teams and over 300 debaters competing, Chaminade placed four teams in the top 20. The team of Caroline Cha ’18, Rebecca Steinberg ’18, and Oceania Eshraghi ’18 went undefeated and qualified for the National Championship at Claremont McKenna College on April 26 along with the team of Maya Desai ’18, Samantha Bader ’18, and Louis Gerny ’18. This is the sixth year in a row that Chaminade will compete at the National Championship.
Several debaters also earned Top Speaker awards including Hannah Sellfors ’18, Claire Rider ’18, Oceania Eshraghi ’18, and Louis Gerny ’18, as well as 6th place speaker Maya Desai ’18, and 3rd place speaker for the tournament Samantha Bader ’18.