On Thursday, May 19, Chaminade’s middle school athletic director and coach, Walt Stewart, was recognized with the Athletic Director/Sports Coach of the Year award by The Chatsworth-Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce at the 18th Annual Unforgettable Educator Awards Gala. Each year, The Chatsworth-Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce honors and acknowledges those educators who make a lasting impact on students’ lives and schools in our community.
He is recognized for his dedication to the students and the Chaminade community. He is always the first one on the field and the last to leave. He is known for his motivational speeches that resonate with students and teaches them life lessons by making them responsible, holding them accountable, and teaching them to work toward a goal as a team.
“That is the best thing to see as a parent,” says a current middle school parent, “someone who is dedicated and wants my child to succeed not only in sports but as a person.”
Walt has been teaching for 28 years. He joined the Chaminade family in 2007, and serves as the athletic director, teaches physical education, and coaches track and field and football. Walt is also president of the Junior High Delphic League, a middle school athletic league featuring twenty-five private middle schools in the Los Angeles area. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, a Professional Clear Single Subject Credential in Physical Education, and a Supplementary Credential in Geo-Science.
” I love coaching,” says Walt, which, as he notes, has been especially important following a school year at home due to the pandemic. “I find it rewarding to teach our student-athletes sports skills, strategies, teamwork, and sportsmanship and see them improve on these skills during practices and competitions.”
Walt is married to Jill Stewart, who teaches at Chaminade’s high school in West Hills. Together, they have three Chaminade alumni, Nicholas ’17, Mathew ’19, and Jessica ’21.
After a two-year hiatus, students, faculty, and staff from both Chaminade campuses gathered at the high school to celebrate the 32nd Annual Founders Day Mass on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Rev. Mike Chiuri, S.M., school chaplain, concelebrated Mass with Rev. Ted Ley, S.M. ’58, chaplain emeritus, and Rev. Tim Kenney, S.M., assistant Marianist provincial for religious life.
Founders Day remembers Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and his charism to be formed by Mary for the mission of Christ, and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to our school.
During Mass, President Robert S. Webb honored seven new Founders of Chaminade College Preparatory, who collectively represent over 170 years of service to the school. Ron ’79 and Kathy Prechtl were recognized for their years of generously supporting and serving Chaminade. Longtime employees Bo Anderson, Bryan Cantwell, Dorothy Kane, Agapito Valderrama, and Yvette Williamson were recognized for their 25+ years of service to Chaminade in various capacity.
Ron ’79 and Kathy Prechtl
Ron Prechtl graduated from Chaminade in 1979. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Northridge before enjoying a career in the real estate industry. He has served in various volunteer capacities at Chaminade, including as Chair of the Board of Directors, and Chair of the Advancement, Physical Facilities, and Property Management Committees. Ron was involved with the development and construction of the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts, and the recent acquisition of the shopping center on Saticoy. In 2012, he was named Chaminade Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
Kathy Prechtl graduated from Louisville and the University of San Francisco before becoming a registered nurse. She now helps oversee the day-to-day operations of the Prechtl family’s property management company.
In addition to Chaminade, Ron and Kathy support Catholic Charities of Ventura County and Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County. They have been married for nearly 32 years and are the parents of two Chaminade alumni (and USC alumni). Their son Andrew ’11 is a financial analyst for Simpatica, and daughter Kaitlin ’13 is attending USC Keck School of Medicine to become a physician assistant.
In 2019, Ron and Kathy purchased an avocado farm in Carpinteria. They also enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Bo Anderson was born in Philadelphia. She moved with her family to California, where she graduated from El Camino and Cal State Northridge.
She started at Chaminade in 1996 after her friend Betty Paravato, who worked in the Business Office, encouraged her to apply for an open position. Interested in working at a Catholic organization, Bo accepted the offer and has been serving Chaminade ever since. She says the school’s sense of community and her supportive colleagues make it a wonderful place to work!
As it grew over the years, Bo came to solely manage the financial aid program. The Director of Financial Aid, Bo loves being able to assist families in their desire to provide a Catholic education for their children.
Bo and her close-knit family are active members of St. Bernardine’s Parish. Her husband Kevin is an LAUSD teacher, and her daughter Kylie is a freshman at Chaminade. She also has two stepdaughters, Rachel and Leah. Bo enjoys spending time with her family and likes sports, especially baseball and softball. She and her husband have been to 28 of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.
Bryan Cantwell grew up in San Diego and came to Chaminade after graduating from Cal Lutheran in 1994. He started his career as a middle school PE teacher and high school boys’ basketball coach before creating the summer basketball camp program.
In 2000, Bryan moved to the high school campus, eventually becoming Dean of Students in 2007. Bryan also served as the middle school site director of the Center for Excellence. Since 2017, he has served as the high school Associate Athletic Director.
Bryan has coached various middle school sports, including volleyball, golf, football, and basketball. At the high school, he coached boys’ golf for many years, and currently is the varsity boys’ basketball coach. During his tenure at Chaminade, Bryan has coached 4 CIF championship teams – boys’ basketball in 1998, 1999, and 2021, and boys’ golf in 2010.
Bryan received his master’s degree in Catholic School Administration from Loyola Marymount in 2009. He is married to Beth Cantwell, who also teaches at Chaminade, and they have three sons: Kieran ’19, Caden ’22, and Kahlil ’26.
Dorothy Kane was born and raised in New York. She moved to California with her family when she was a senior in high school, but still considers herself an East Coaster.
Dorothy has been teaching for 38 years, from 4th graders to juniors in high school. She has served on the middle school faculty at Chaminade since her arrival in 1995, and is currently the Vice Principal for Academics and Parent and Faculty Concerns. For most of her career, Dorothy has taught middle school history. In 2006, her peers honored her with the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade Award.
In her free time, Dorothy likes to cook (not bake!), watch Masterpiece Theatre, and read mystery books. She also enjoys visiting lighthouses and antique stores with her husband of 32 years, Kevin, who is a teacher in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Dorothy and Kevin have one son, Richard, who works in Chaminade’s middle school library.
Agapito Valderrama was born in Mexico and moved to California in 1985. He held various agricultural and horticultural positions, even working with Cesar Chavez, before coming to Chaminade in 1995. Agapito was encouraged to apply for a position in the Grounds Department by a family friend, Antonio Jauregui, who was honored at Chaminade’s Founders Day in 2016.
Agapito originally worked on the high school campus before moving to the middle school in 1998, where he was promoted to Grounds Supervisor. He says working at Chaminade is like being part of a family, and he enjoys the variety of each day.
Agapito and his wife Rosario have a son named David. In addition to keeping Chaminade’s middle school campus beautiful, Agapito is the owner of Rancho Nuevo Nursery in Moorpark, California.
Yvette Williamson grew up in Oakhurst, California and earned degrees from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Grand Canyon University. She came to Chaminade in 1997 to teach World History and Economics at the high school. Yvette and her husband Andy, also a teacher at Chaminade, have three children: Kylee ’26, Cooper ’28, and future Eagle, Quinn.
To celebrate her 25 years at Chaminade, Yvette wanted her biography to focus on the impact Chaminade and its Family Spirit has had on her life. When Yvette came to Chaminade, she was excited to work alongside her sister, Denise Gunter. Seven years later, she met the love of her life in the Bob Hope Center, and was married to Andy Williamson by Chaminade chaplain, Fr. Edward Johnson, in a ceremony attended by over 30 colleagues.
Yvette is thankful for her colleagues, who act as family. Yvette had her three children while working at Chaminade, and two of her colleagues are their godparents. She has vacationed with her colleagues and been roommates with some of them. Several have become neighbors. She considers herself fortunate to have colleagues as part of the village helping her and Andy raise their children.
Yvette’s students also contribute to her sense of Family Spirit at Chaminade. She has taught more than 4,000 students, many of whom have become cherished colleagues, with some even coaching and teaching her own children. Hundreds have returned to share with her their accomplishments or introduce their families. Her students have taught her patience and empathy, and about integrity and strength. Yvette says her students have influenced the person she has become, and have made her a better teacher and parent. Blessed to have spent half her life at Chaminade, Yvette thanks our community for showing her the meaning of Family Spirit.
Chaminade College Preparatory announces the retirement of high school head football coach Ed Croson.
Coach Croson first began his career at Chaminade in 1989 after coaching at Southern Utah State University, Los Angeles Pierce College, Notre Dame High School, and St. Genevieve High School. He served as Chaminade’s athletic director from 1993-1998 and became head football coach in 1998. Coach Croson left Chaminade in 2000 to coach at Birmingham High School. In 2009, he returned to Chaminade, taking over a program that had only won two games the previous year.
In the 13 years since Coach Croson’s return, the Eagles have earned the MaxPreps designation of All-Decade 2009-2019 and California State Top 20 (ranked #17). They played in the CIF-SS quarterfinals in 2009 (7-5-0) and the semifinals in 2010 (11-3-0) and 2011 (10-3-0). Chaminade won the Mission League title and reached the CIF-SS finals in 2012 (12-2-0). In 2013, the program won the CIF-SS and California State title (14-2-0). Recently, the Eagles qualified for the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs in 2015, 2017, 2018, the Division 1 quarterfinals in 2016, and the Division 2 finals in 2019. They also won Mission League titles in 2017 and 2020.
Every year since 2010, Chaminade has finished in the California State Top 50 (out of 1,100 competing high schools). Los Angeles Daily News has ranked the Eagles in the Top 10 every week since September 2009, including #1 in 2012 and 2013, and #2 in 2016 and 2020. Cal-Hi Sports named Coach Croson the 2013 California State High School Coach of the Year, and on October 1, 2021, he netted his 200th career win with Chaminade against Cathedral High School.
Mindful of Chaminade’s Catholic, Marianist mission, Coach Croson implemented a team Mass and meal before every game. He is proud to have sent 83 Eagles to play for Division 1, 2, 3 schools, as well as Ivy League colleges. “Chaminade is immensely thankful to Coach Croson for his shepherding of hundreds of young players over the years, and indebted to him for putting Eagle football on the map,” said Chaminade high school Principal Luis R. Guerra.
David Machuca, current associate head coach, will take over for Coach Croson. Coach Machuca has enjoyed two stints at Chaminade: between 2009-2011, when he helped the Eagles to back-to-back semifinal appearances; and since 2017, during which the Eagles were CIF-SS Division 2 finalists (2019) and won the Mission League title (2020). Coach Machuca and his wife Kristen have two young sons, Shane and Dylan, and a newborn daughter, Reagan. Mr. Guerra expressed that, “Chaminade is excited and blessed to welcome Coach Machuca into his new role as head coach. His passion for Chaminade football, and desire to build upon Coach Croson’s legacy of developing young players for lives of service, will tremendously benefit our program. With his strong understanding of Chaminade’s mission and culture, and reputation as a relationship-builder, Coach Machuca will work in partnership with his players and their families to advance the tradition of Eagle excellence.”
The Office of Advancement and the Chaminade Parents’ Association will host the school’s annual volunteer mixers on Tuesday and Thursday, August 20 and 22. The mixers are a chance to meet committee chairs of special events, find out more about available volunteer opportunities, and meet other parents, grandparents, and Chaminade’s Advancement team.
Both mixers are open to all parents and are not campus-specific. Parents of middle and high school students at Chaminade may attend either event, and everyone is encouraged to bring a friend.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wine and Cheese Reception
Tutor Center Amphitheater (West Hills)
Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Coffee and Continental Breakfast
Oak Room, Chaminade Hall (Chatsworth)
AP Psych students during Mental Health Awareness Week helped classmates alleviate stress with smoothies and dancing. (photo by: High School Counseling)
Today’s students feel immense amounts of pressure and stress. Since 2013, teens have reported stress levels which exceed those of adults.
61% of teens say stress and anxiety have a large impact on their lives.
42% of teens say they are not doing enough to manage their stress.
22% of teens actively seek support to reduce, manage, and eliminate stress.
Chaminade College Preparatory wants to help alleviate the stress, and during Chaminade Gala in March, Heather Eaton and Juliana Gallant, heads of the middle school and high school counseling departments, announced the creation of a Wellness Program.
It is a priority of the school to help students achieve school/life balance, manage stress, and prepare students for success, and is directly addressed in Chaminade’s new strategic plan. The idea of making emotional health and overall well-being a priority is not a new concept for Chaminade. This is an expansion of the school’s vision to develop resilient young women and young men who are adaptable self-advocates who successfully balance school and life.
To make this important initiative a reality, Chaminade parents, alumni faculty, staff, and friends were asked to invest in the newly created Wellness Program during the fund-a-need portion of the gala. Together they raised more than $111,000 to jump-start the program. Additional gifts are needed, and will help sustain and grow the Wellness Program, and give Chaminade the tools it needs to fulfill its promise to its students. Contributions can be given online; and any questions can be answered by the Advancement Office at (818) 360-0615.