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.
Chaminade as a community has emerged from the pandemic stronger and closer. This year, we were thrilled to gather in person to celebrate volunteerism, connectedness to our mission, and the love for our students.
Volunteers are an essential part of Chaminade’s operations and are instrumental to the success of many of our programs and events. Our volunteers do it all, from large and exciting events like EagleFest to the smaller, less glamorous envelope-stuffing parties. They truly demonstrate the Marianist tradition of family spirit through their selfless giving of time and talent.
On May 11, Chaminade recognized nine extraordinary volunteers who have their last child graduating from high school. Their commitment to Chaminade over the previous four to seven years has had an astounding effect on our school. Congratulations to our 2022 Spotlight on Service honorees:
• Fernando and Nicole Cabaccang P’22 • Dave Dumas P’19, ’22 • Charisse Enrique P’20, ’22 • Adam and Karen Friedman P ’20, ’22 • Guillermo Herrera P’20 , ’22 • Traci Zvonicek P’18,’20, ’22 • Heidi Oney P’20, ’22
In addition to honoring our fantastic parent volunteers, Chaminade also paid tribute to two Board members who are terming off the board at the end of the month. Chaminade expressed its sincere gratitude to Mary Campbell P’13,15,18, and Jeannette Crawshaw P’15, ’22, ’22. For the last six years, they have volunteered their time and invaluable expertise to help ensure that our school upholds our Catholic, Marianist mission.
Consider joining the ranks of our volunteers; you will find that it is one of the best experiences. And along the way, you will forge new and long-lasting friendships. Join us on August 23 and 25 for our volunteer mixers to find your perfect volunteer opportunity and join the ranks of this fantastic group.
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.
Over the last three weeks, Chaminade has been celebrating the Advent theme, “So We Wait.” As a community, we reflected on the coming of our Savior, Emmanuel, God-with-us, and are now ready to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent on December 22, which will mark the final week of prayer as we wait for the birth of Jesus Christ on the eve of Christmas. This final candle, the “Angel’s candle,” symbolizes peace. It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on earth, goodwill to all people.” As a Chaminade family, let us unite in peace and hold each other in prayer, knowing that our God of peace will soon be born and will ring hope to a new year!
For the past 27 years, during the Baccalaureate Mass, Chaminade has upheld the tradition of presenting a special award to Chaminade families who have made a long-standing commitment by sending three or more children to Chaminade throughout their tenure.
As a Marianist school, Chaminade strives to create a community that is truly a family, consisting of students, faculty, staff, and parents working together in the spirit of cooperation, respect, and honesty. There is no greater trust on the part of parents than to place their children in the hands of our school community.
On May 31, we proudly recognized 11 families with The Family of Mary Award, marking their exceptional involvement with the Chaminade family. Congratulations to The Family of Mary Award recipients:
Kim and Michael Akerson
Alexa ’08, Nicollette ’10, and Isabella ’19
Beth Albrecht and James Albrecht
Emily ’14, Hannah ’16, and Rachel ’19
Salve and Lukman Alli
Nicole ’07, Kimberly ’14, Diana ’15, and Oluwakemi ’19
Heather and Brian Angel
Alexandra ’15, Ben ’17, and William ’19
Maral and Eli Chorbajian
Abraham ’16, Arthur ’18, Maral ’19, and Sophia ’19
Yvette and Gavin Leaver
Jesse ’12, Aidan ’19, and Emily ’19
Yolanda and Hector Romo
Danielle ’08, Christopher ’09, and Isabella ’19
Julie and Andrew Rowlands
Taylor ’14, Emma ’16, and Lauren ’19
Anne Marie Svolos and James Svolos
Christina ’12, Julianna ’15, and Amanda ’19
Mona and James Thomas
Isaiah ’16, Joshua ’17, and Imani ’19
Mary and Richard Yerzyk
Nicholas ’09, Katherine ’11, Cameron ’15, and Meghan ’19