Chaminade Celebrates the 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame

Brando Tessar ’10, Brittany Cervantes ’08, Beth Macias ’85, Annie Tarakchian ’12, Marc Merrill ’98

Chaminade College Preparatory inducted five new alumni into the Alumni Hall of Fame: Brittany Cervantes ’08, Beth Macias ’85, Marc Merrill ’98, Annie Tarakchian ’12, and Brando Tessar ’10. Family, friends, and alumni gathered to celebrate their achievements at Woodland Hills Country Club on Saturday, February 3.

Brittany Cervantes ’08 is a professional fastpitch softball player. Her love of softball was born at Chaminade. During her sophomore year, the girls’ varsity softball team won the C.I.F championship, the first of two consecutive years. Brittany continued her softball career at the University of Kentucky. In 2012, she was named to the First Team All-SEC Selection, All-SEC Defensive Team, and broke the homerun record at the school, an achievement she still holds today. After graduating, Brittany began playing in the National Professional Fastpitch league in 2012. She was instrumental in winning consecutive championships for the last three years, twice playing for the Chicago Bandits and once for the Scrap Yard Dawgs in Conroe, TX. When she’s not on the softball field, Brittany participates in charity work. Most recently, she was a top fundraiser on Team #TracyStrong for the Lung Force Foundation’s annual Lung Force Walk.

Beth Macias ’85 attended Chaminade with her brother and sisters, Frank ’84, Lisa ’87 and Kathy ’89. Beth was involved in many activities as a student including National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Student Council, and sports. She served as Student Body Vice President her senior year and played on the first girls’ varsity soccer team. Upon graduating, Beth attended the University of California Los Angeles where she earned both her undergraduate and law degrees. She has worked in several legal fields and currently volunteers as an Ombudsman, advocating for long-term care residents and as a Mediator at the Simi Valley Courthouse. Beth appreciated her parents’ service to Chaminade as a student and has carried on this legacy. She served on the Board of Directors from 2000 to 2006, founded the annual Saturday with Santa event, participates in phone-a-thons, works hospitality, and serves on the Alumni Council. Beth and her husband, Manuel Diaz, are proud to send their three children to Chaminade, where their academic and theatrical talent has flourished.

Marc Merrill ’98 is a global business leader, co-creator of the online video game League of Legends, and co-founder of Riot Games. While at Chaminade, he was a member of the wrestling and football teams. After graduation, Marc attended the University of Southern California with his friend and future business partner, Brandon Beck. Marc and Brandon shared a passion for World of Warcraft style online games. Together they founded Riot Games and created the game League of Legends. Riot Games employs over 2,500 people in 23 offices worldwide and was selected as Fortune magazine’s 13th best company in the world to work for. League of Legends received the “Best Persistent Game” BAFTA Award in 2015; in 2017 Marc and Brandon were awarded the BAFTA Special Award in recognition of Riot Games’ creative contribution to the games industry. In 2016, Inc. magazine named Riot Games its Company of the Year. Marc also serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and remains an active alumnus at Chaminade, attending alumni events and working with students.

Annie Tarakchian ’12 was a basketball player and involved student during her time at Chaminade. She was part of Blue Crew, helped at the Special Olympics event, and worked closely with Brother Skip Matthews on service projects. She played basketball all four years, was a three-time All-Mission League selection and named Mission League MVP as both a junior and senior. After graduation, Annie attended Princeton University where she continued her basketball career and studied psychology. She was a captain on the basketball team, two-time Ivy League Champion, and was named Ivy League Player of the Week eight times. Annie began playing professional basketball in 2016 in Switzerland for the BFC Elfic Fribourg women’s basketball team. She helped the team qualify for the Euro Cup and received the MVP award. In 2017, she helped lead the Belgium Royal Castors Braine to win the Belgium Cup and Belgium Championship. Annie has retired from professional basketball and currently works for Milo, a startup that provides a means for older adults to prolong their independence and well-being at home.

Brando Tessar ’10 was a two-sport athlete at Chaminade, playing football and baseball. He played on the varsity baseball team all four years as a pitcher and outfielder. He was named to the First Team for All-CIF and the 2010 Mission League Player of the Year. He was also the 2010 Chaminade Male Athlete of the Year. Brando was drafted in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Instead of joining the MLB, he attended the University of Oregon. Over the course of his career at Oregon, Brando pitched a total of 127.1 innings, started in 22 games and struck out 92 batters. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 25th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Brando graduated from the University of Oregon, earning a degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Crime and Law. Brando works in the staffing industry and currently manages the Portland market for one the nation’s largest technical staffing firms. He is also a newlywed; he married his bride, Kendall, in November 2017.


Click here to view photos of the 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame

Five Football Seniors Sign National Letters of Intent

As the semester ended for Chaminade students on Wednesday, December 20, five football players signed a National Letter of Intent to play NCAA Division I football. These five seniors will go on to play football at the collegiate level after they graduate from Chaminade in 2018:

  • Michael Wilson, Stanford University
  • Andrew VanBuren, Boise State University
  • Jonah Lipel, Harvard University
  • Parks Gissinger, Michigan State University
  • Dallas Taylor-Cortez, Iowa State University

Respect Life Week

From October 10 to October 20 Chaminade joined Catholic schools around the Los Angeles Archdiocese in celebrating Respect Life Week. Each October we try to set aside some time to focus on the very precious gift of human life and the ways that we can contribute to treating that gift with reverence and dignity. This year we focused on the seven Catholic Social Teaching Principles:

  • The Dignity of Human Life
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Options for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
  • Solidarity, and Stewardship
  • Care of God’s Creation 

We celebrated a beautiful Mass on each of our campuses highlighted by a candlelight procession symbolizing how we can be light to the world and stand up for human dignity. Gia Frank ’24, pledged to take care of God’s creation and challenges all of us to do the same saying “each of us has a calling to make the world a better place.”  Alec Simoni ’18, says that respect life is about “valuing dignity in one another regardless of who or where you are in life.”  He promotes the dignity of human life through the club that he founded, Caring Hearts, whose mission is to help sick and impoverished youth in our community and around the world.

Chaminade Welcomes Two Marianists

Pictured left to right: Bro. Jack Dempsey, Bro. Kumar Kambhampati, Fr. Joseph Raj and Fr. Martin Solma

Two Marianists from India recently joined the Chaminade family. Fr. Joseph Raj, S.M., and Bro. Kumar Kambhampati, S.M. arrived in August and quickly jumped into the rhythm of Eagle life. They both share a joyful enthusiasm with everyone around them and bring a vibrant energy to both campuses.

Fr. Joseph serves as our school chaplain, which allows Fr. Ted Ley, S.M. ’58 to scale down his ministerial duties at Chaminade. Fr. Ted will mentor Fr. Joseph, and continue to be present at our Masses and retreats.

Before coming to Chaminade, Fr. Joseph worked with the Marianist REDS Program in India. REDS (Ragpickers Education and Development Scheme) helps street children, young men, and women. Fr. Joseph has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Dayton’s extension program in Bangalore, and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Bro. Kumar serves as a pastoral associate on both campuses. He assists Fr. Joseph, as well as Bro. Adam Becerra, the director of mission integration and ministry, and provides pastoral care for students in Campus Ministry. Bro. Kumar will also help with and attend retreats.

In May 2017, Bro. Kumar graduated from the University of Dayton (Ohio) with a Masters in educational leadership. Prior to this, he was the director of Chaminade Vocational Training Institute in northern India, where he taught English as a second language to job-seeking students, ages 15 to 35. In 2011 he completed undergraduate work in philosophy through the University of Dayton (India) and a B.A. in history, sociology, and English literature from Bangalore University.