Valerie Higgins ’16 Named to USA Basketball Under-18 National Team

IMG_9556Chaminade’s CIF-SS Open Division player of the year, USC-bound guard, Valerie Higgins ’16 has been named to  USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.

After three days of trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the roster was announced, and Higgins was one of 12 players selected. She will travel with the team in July to Chile for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. This is Higgins’ first call up to a USA Basketball event.

In addition to her All-CIF honors, she was selected to the Jordan Brand Classic All-American West Team, Daily News co-player of the year, and Los Angeles Times girls’ basketball player of the year.

 

Eagle Business Students Visit Riot Games

By Aron Gideon, Eagle Business Program Director

Each year, students of the Eagle Business program participate in the PromeNade where they write and implement business plans for start-up companies. As part of their preparation for the 2016 PromeNade (April 21 and 27), the students will be visited by the owner of PolarPro, Jeff Overall, who appeared on the last season of Shark Tank and inked a $1 million deal. Shortly after, they will participate in Chaminade’s version of Shark Tank where four Chaminade alumni will serve as the “sharks”. In preparation for this experience, 35 Eagle Business students visited Riot Games, founded by alumnus Marc Merrill and accompanied by alumnus Greg Stefflre, both Chaminade graduates of 1998.

The mission of Riot Games is to be the most player-focused company in the world. With over 2,000 employees in 13 countries worldwide, Riot was named the #13 “Best Company to Work For” by Forbes last year. Headquartered in Santa Monica, Riot Games earns more than $100 million per month in revenue as a game developer, publisher, and esport coordinator, based on their online game League of Legends, which is played daily in more than 145 countries around the world by 67 million active users. The 2015 League of Legends World Championship was played in Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and watched by 36 million people, a record for any esport event.

The goals of the field trip were:

1) To see how successful an alumnus of Chaminade can be.
2) To learn the importance of all departments to the success of a large company (not just the ones that get the attention, like game design).
3) To see a global company in action that succeeds financially while using a flat, fun, and flexible approach to growth.
4) To hear how Riot Games cultivates human resources through extensive recruitment, training, and cultural development practices.

Sophia Colavitti ’17 said “The trip to Riot Games was a very insightful experience, where we got to see first-hand how to operate a very successful business. Clearly Mr. Merrill and Mr. Beck, Riot Games co-founder, utilized their ingenuity and creativity to create a very cohesive environment for not only their gamers, but for the Rioters (employees) as well.”

When the students arrived by bus, they were greeted by a small army of employees and divided into three groups. The large lobby walls were covered with character artwork and promotional videos. A giant statue of Tibbers and his master Annie waited for them at one end. Aspiring computer programmer, Christian Gideon ’19, said, “I found the artwork very appealing and all the statues amazing. The campus is really nice and I like how the dress is very informal.” The groups proceeded to tour the several acre campus that included six large buildings surrounding an exercise yard with basketball court. It seemed free food was around every corner, in addition to the conference rooms, recording studios, arcade, coffee bar, cafeteria, and movie theatre.

More importantly, students saw evidence of the Riot Manifesto, which includes five main points:

1) Player Experience First
2) Challenge Convention
3) Focus on Talent and Team
4) Take Play Seriously
5) Stay Hungry, Stay Humble (be “humbitious”)

After a tremendous tour of the facility, the students were able to spend time in the Riot Games theatre engaging in a 30 minute Q&A period with Mr. Merrill. On their way out to the bus, gift bags with Riot Games gear awaited each participant. The students left inspired and ready to work. Alec Aronson ’17 said “Riot Games was an incredible experience where we were able to learn about the process of an exciting company in person and meet the co-founder of Riot Games Marc Merrill. It really helped me gain insight into how to create a successful company and taught me the importance of the consumer and employee.”

To learn more about Riot Games visit: http://www.riotgames.com/
To learn more about Eagle Business visit: http://www.eaglebiz.org or email Program Director Aron Gideon: agideon@chaminade.org

Thank you Bro. LeRoy

By Elizabeth Gluvna ’04

This past Saturday, August 22, more than 100 friends of Bro. LeRoy Viera S.M. gathered to wish him a fond farewell as he moves to the Marianist Community in Cupertino, California. Alumni, board members, current and former faculty and staff, and Marianists, came to thank Bro. LeRoy for his many years of selfless service to the school.

A Chaminade fixture since 1992, Bro. LeRoy worked in the physical plant department keeping the high school campus beautiful and in working order. Armed with innumerable skills, Bro. LeRoy built cabinets, fixed locks, and repaired drywall, among other functional needs. He also demonstrated great artistic talent through the creation of the ceramic Blessed Virgin Mary statues, found in all middle school and high school classrooms and offices.

Bro. LeRoy has many dear friends in alumni and parents of alumni associated with the Chaminade Players. With former Drama Director Paula LaBrot, Bro. LeRoy taught students how to wield power tools with confidence, helping them construct sets for all high school theater productions. At his farewell party, many alumni thanked Bro. LeRoy for teaching them these skills, while demonstrating patience and understanding.

In 2013, Bro. LeRoy celebrated his 60 Year Jubilee as a Marianist. In conjunction with this milestone, he was honored at the annual Founders Day Mass, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Chaminade.

Born in a grape-growing area of Antioch, California, Bro. LeRoy developed construction skills related to carpentry, plumbing, and utilities. After a stint in the Coast Guard where he sailed through submarine-infested waters along the Aleutian Islands, Bro. LeRoy worked as a carpenter at a paper mill. After one of his friends was killed on the job, Bro. LeRoy considered his own future and, at age 26, joined the Marianists in Santa Cruz. Prior to Chaminade, he served in Honolulu, Rome, Walla Walla, and Gardena. With his capable hands and friendly demeanor, Bro. LeRoy is certain to be a big help in Cupertino – the Chaminade family wishes him well!

Chaminade Inducts Five New Members into the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame

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Left to right: Ryan Griffin ’08, Bobby Paschal ’02, Maria Costa Husband ’92, Kelly Cochran ’05, and Logan Paulsen ’05.

On Friday, February 6, Chaminade College Preparatory inducted five new members into its Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.

The evening began with a reception outside the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts, and inductees were introduced inside the building, on the Marilyn Simons Stage. Honorees included:

  • Maria Costa Husband ’92, who played on four Chaminade teams – softball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. After graduating from Chaminade, Husband received a scholarship to UC Santa Barbara for softball.
  • Bobby Paschal ’02, a four-year member of the Eagle’s Varsity baseball team. He received a scholarship to USC, and later transferred to Cal State Northridge. Paschal signed professionally with the Colorado Rockies, and today is an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Logan Paulsen ’05, who played on the football and soccer teams, and ran track for Chaminade. He went on to play football for UCLA, and was signed by the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent. Paulsen is currently a member of the Redskins.
  • Kelly Cochran ’05 was an outstanding basketball player for the Eagles. She graduated from Chaminade and played basketball for UC Irvine.
  • Ryan Griffin ’08 lettered in football, basketball, and volleyball. He was recruited to play football for Tulane University, and was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 draft.

Chaminade congratulates the 2015 Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame class!

2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

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Distinguished Alumnus Gary Simons ’77 (center) with his sister, Lynn (Simons) Feldman ’75 (left) and mother, Marilyn Simons (right).

As Catholic Schools Week comes to a close, Chaminade College Preparatory recognizes Gary Simons ’77 as its 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

An exemplary alumnus, Simons served on the school’s Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014. During his tenure, Simons chaired the physical facilities committee, and sat on the ad hoc building committee, the executive committee, and presidential search committee. Currently, he is a member of committees of land acquisition, physical facilities, and finance.

Simons is also a generous philanthropic supporter of his alma mater and was instrumental in the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts project, as well as with the current middle school renovation and expansion projects.

After graduating from Chaminade, Simons attended California State University, Northridge. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1982 with a degree in business administration with specialties in real estate and finance. Simons began his career in the construction industry, starting as a laborer in high school, becoming a skilled carpenter while working through college, and moving to a project manager position for a Westside estate builder after graduation. Planning a career in income property development, he joined the Hanes Company, a commercial real estate brokerage and investment firm, in 1985. After the Hanes Company, Simons went on to acquire and develop numerous properties throughout Los Angeles within his development and acquisitions entity, Projects West Corporation.

Founded in 1992, Projects West Construction has built an organization with broad experience and ability in all aspects of general contracting, construction management and real estate development. A licensed general contractor with 30 years experience in the construction and development business, Simons has overseen construction of more than 1,500 new apartment units and reconstructed over 1,000 more after the Northridge earthquake. In addition, his company has completed numerous commercial projects including retail shell and core, restaurants, surgical facilities and all types of tenant improvements. In total, he has completed in excess of 3 million square feet of apartment and commercial construction.

In 1996, Simons began a partnership with a former employee, Sean Baker. This new company, Upside Investments, Inc., went on to acquire and develop numerous apartment, retail and office properties, mainly throughout the greater Los Angeles area, but also in other states. Upside currently owns more than 1,000 apartment units and approximately 500,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Simons and his wife Gilena have two children, who both attend Chaminade, Graydon ’19 and Elodie ’20.