Eagle Engineering Tops World in Programming Challenge

VEX Worlds 2017

Christian Gideon ’19, Eagle Engineering programmer, earned the top score in the world in the Robot Virtual Worlds Vex Online Challenge this spring, earning his team a berth to the 10th Annual VEX Robotics World Championship. Beginning in early fall,  teams traditionally compete at the local level in hopes of competing at the state level, then going to the World Championship. Gideon’s performance earned the team the unique opportunity to get straight to the Championship.

“I got to meet the company that designed the online challenge when we received the award onstage.  The designer of the game told me that I just edged out a team from China!” said Gideon in Louisville, Kentucky.

Nine students from Chaminade College Preparatory’s Robotics Team 1138 spent their Spring Break in Louisville, picking up their sixth overall World Championship Level trophy and competing at the highest level for the third consecutive year.  The three-day competition is the largest gathering of STREAM (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts & Math) students in one place, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016. Teams compete head-to-head in tournament play and are judged not only on design and functionality of their robot, but also in a variety of areas including driver skills, programming and coding skills, engineering process, community outreach and presentations.

Eagle Engineering is comprised of more than 60 Chaminade students. While they compete as a team in a sport for custom-built machines, the program operates much like a business. Students develop skills in more than just technology; including leadership, project management, PR/marketing, business, service, design and communications.  During the team’s most intense six weeks of the year called Build Season, robotics students can be found working long hours in the Bob Hope Center several days each week.

So why not get a part-time job?  “This is a job! “ Gideon said, half-jokingly. “ A lot of my friends are there and I am getting real-life experience.  I also like the competition aspect of Robotics.  And it’s a family.  I started with Mr. Clark in 6th grade, then spent two years with Coach (Harry) Hosaka at the Middle School.  Now I am with Coach Tommy (Smeltzer) at the high school.  I am really happy to be part of this family.”

Join the High School Band and Choir for a Concert on May 18

Chaminade College Preparatory’s high school band and choir will perform their final performances of the 2016-2017 school year on Thursday, May 18. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets may be purchased online and are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Chaminade Dance Company Presents Cirque du Saint Vitus

Chaminade College Preparatory’s Dance Company presents Cirque du Saint Vitus, at their annual dance concert. This beautiful theatrical production is a story of temptation and grace as we follow sweet Mercy into a dark and twisted circus created all within the mind of a powerful young girl. Cirque du Saint Vitus features the continued brilliant choreography from the Chaminade Dance Company’s lead choreographers Atlanta Patterson, Lindsay Hammerle, Christine Gotthardt, Amanda Williams and Gillian Ozawa.

The show will be held at the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts beginning Friday, May 5, 2017. Performance dates and times are:

  • Friday, May 5, 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 6, 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7, 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 12, 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 13, 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $23 per adult, $16 per student, and $12 per child, and may be purchased online.

Eagle Regiment, Concert Band, and Jazz Ensemble Perform in England

By Ken Hoffman

Over Easter break, Chaminade’s West Hills Instrumental Music Department participated in the Harrogate International Youth Festival of Music and Performing Arts, which offers young musicians a unique opportunity to meet and perform with other ensembles from around the world. Each year, in celebration of Easter week, the town of Harrogate, in North Yorkshire England, hosts bands, choirs, dance troupes and ensembles of youth performers from many different countries. This year, Chaminade’s Eagle Regiment, Concert Band, and Jazz Ensemble represented the United States.

Massed Band, composed of more than 350 musicians, at the Royal Hall Harrogate – photo by Paul Chilopoulos

On the first day of their trip, Chaminade students practiced their ability to “adapt and change” when they discovered that their rental percussion instruments had broken heads. Of course, that didn’t slow them down. After a brief rehearsal, the students did some sightseeing in the city of York, where they walked around the medieval city walls built in the first century.

Chaminade’s first performance featured Eagle Regiment in the Parade of Nations through the historic spa town of Harrogate. The opening concert followed in the Royal Hall Harrogate. Built in 1903, this historic venue offered a breathtaking Edwardian setting, where Chaminade’s Concert Band made its festival debut. The evening ended with the Massed Band, composed of more than 350 musicians from the UK, USA, Canada, Russia and Thailand/China all performing together.

Eagle Regiment at Fountains Abbey- photo by Suzanne Dumas

On Easter Sunday, the Eagles attended Mass at St. John Fisher, a Catholic high school in Harrogate. That afternoon, Eagle Regiment performed at Fountains Abbey UNESCO World Heritage site, one of England’s largest and best-preserved Cistercian monastery ruins. In the evening, the Jazz Ensemble brought the house down at the annual Jazz Night, held in the famous Old Swan Hotel, from Agatha Christie lore. Space was at a premium in that venue, so the rest of the participants attended an open mic night at a nearby hotel, with Maya Angulo ’17 rocking the house with some Slam Poetry.

Jazz Ensemble at the Old Swan Hotel – photo by Paul Chilopoulos

Ripley Castle - photo by Suzanne Dumas

Concert Band at Ripley Castle – photo by Suzanne Dumas

Monday, the Concert Band gave a magnificent performance at Ripley Castle, an estate just outside of Harrogate. That evening, the Eagle musicians had their first chance to hear some of the other performers, most notably a choir from Finland and a Russian violin ensemble.

Chaminade’s Concert band saved the best for last. On the final day of the festival at Birstwith’s St. James Church, they performed Psalm 42, an English folk song arranged by Samuel Hazo, bringing the audience to tears as the final note of the trumpet solo receded and the full band joined in. Later the Eagles attended a concert in the Ripon Cathedral, which dates back to the seventh century.

Before coming home, Chaminade students had a chance to do some sightseeing in London and catch a comedy show at the Criterion Theatre at Piccadilly Circus.

Concert Band at St James Church, Birstwith – photo by Paul Chilopoulos

Bro. Skip Continues to Inspire Chaminade Students to Serve

After Bro. Skip’s passing in December 2016, several students proposed putting together a Chaminade service project to keep his memory alive. The inaugural event took place on a Saturday in March, and more than 100 students and faculty from both campuses served three organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, MEND, and Heal the Bay.

The day started in Campus Ministry (West Hills), and the group joined in prayer before leaving on buses to their destinations. The Student Council sponsored bus sponsored headed to the Food Bank, the largest in the United States serving several millions of people each year. Students helped by sorting donated foods and checking expiration dates and quality of canned foods before sending them down a conveyor belt for packaging. By the day’s end, they sorted 29,737 pounds of food!

MEND Poverty volunteers cooked meals and worked in the organization’s mailroom. Their work doubled as a cooking lesson, and they had an opportunity to taste the food MEND clients would be served the next day. This bus was sponsored by Chaminade’s Caring Hearts and Homeless Hearts Clubs.

The Key Club and Environmental Eagles Clubs joined forces to sponsor the third bus, which took Chaminade students and faculty to participate in Heal the Bay activities. With more than 1,000 other volunteers, including Chaminade’s middle school students, the group worked to keep Southern California’s beaches clean.

Chaminade Service Day happened thanks to the efforts and commitment of Keegan Coppola ’17, Nick Sederlin ’17,  Monty Balleweg ’17, Cristian Puente-Ortiz ’17, Tina Najm ’17, Erin Fabian ’17, Tina Pan ’17, and Alec Simoni ’18. High School Principal, Bro. Tom Fahy; Director of Campus Ministry, Shawna Sedik; and Director of Student Activites, Julie La Belle helped the students to determine how the day would unfold. The students each took ownership of a specific project, promoted Service Day, led ice breakers on the bus, and served as group leads at each service site on the day of the event.

Each service group had an amazing experience and impacted their local communities through a few hours of service. Campus Ministry and Student Activities hope to continue to offer Chaminade Service Day, work more with the middle school, and double the number of students who will go out and keep Brother Skip’s legacy alive.

Funds raised during Chaminade Gala’s fund-a-need on April 8 will establish the Bro. Skip Matthews Apostolic Works Endowment. This endowment will help fund projects like Chaminade Service Day, which will ultimately enhance one of the most important parts of the educational experience at Chaminade – Apostolic Works.