by Director of Counseling Laura Cuneo and School Therapist/Counselor Kathryn Howard, LMFT

On Tuesday, March 24, Chaminade is blessed to be welcoming New York Times best-selling author and educator Julie Lythcott-Haims to our campus. In the afternoon, she will speak to all our high school students; in the evening, she will direct her focus to you, our parents. Julie comes to us with a wealth of experience. As a former Dean of Freshmen Admissions at Stanford University, she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and her critique of the growing trend of parental involvement in the day-to-day lives of college students that proved more detrimental than helpful.

If you’re wondering why we would invite her to speak here, the answer lies in what we have been seeing among our student body in the last few years at Chaminade, consistently on, but not limited to, the high school campus. In our counseling offices, we are seeing as many students about their mental health, depression, and anxiety, as we are about their course selections and college plans. We see students suffering panic attacks during class and students threatening to end it all because they “aren’t good enough” or “just can’t do it anymore.” We see them knee-deep in the rat race, or, as many have come to call it, the ‘race to nowhere,’ struggling through an overscheduled and overwhelmed daily routine. As a Catholic institution, Chaminade strives to educate the whole student, nurturing their spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, and academic abilities. Leading with this, and driven by our strategic initiative on student wellness, we are called to find alternative methods and messages that will encourage more balance and produce happier individuals on both of our campuses. 

At Chaminade, we see so many students every day who are motivated and diligent. They enroll in honors and advanced placement courses and achieve high grades and test scores. They play sports, participate in theater and music programs, and serve as community volunteers and school leaders. They “do everything and do it well.”  But recent research shows that many of these same outstanding students often feel conflicted between taking care of their health and wellness and spending enough hours studying for the SAT. They worry they will be penalized if they are somehow not sacrificing enough to earn a certain letter grade or get into a certain college. This mindset and quest for supposed perfection lead to an academic culture that demands levels of achievement from students that lead to sleep deprivation, burnout, and depression.  From 2009-2017, depression among 14 to17 year-olds increased by more than 60% and by 47% among 12 to 13 year-olds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24.   (Source:  Journal of Abnormal Psychology)

In the last decade, the revolution to encourage a different way of thinking and challenge the way we define student success has been taking place. Julie will address how we can all become instruments of change and better help prepare our students for the real world – its challenges, its twists and turns, and its lessons – all with the same love and care we aspire to provide. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to over helping, Julie inspires audiences to examine their behaviors and join the growing movement to allow students to develop resilience, be true to themselves, and follow Chaminade’s mission – to love, learn, and lead. 

Julie is the recipient of Stanford University’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for creating “the” atmosphere that defines the undergraduate experience. Her book, How to Raise an Adult, has been published in over two dozen countries and gave rise to a TED talk that became one of the top TED Talks of 2016 with over four million views, and counting, as well as a sequel which will be out this year. Julie received her Bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, her law degree at Harvard Law School, and her MFA in writing from the California College of the Arts.

Chaminade celebrates Julie Lythcott-Haims and the common sense wisdom she relays in her writing and speaking. She is part of a revolution that we embrace for the well-being of our students and our school community, and we invite you all to be a part of it.  

RSVP for this event by March 17 at bit.ly/WellnessSpeaker2020

Please feel free to bring your copy of Julie’s book(s) to join in the book-signing event that will follow her talk. We will also make a limited amount of books available for purchase that evening.

We look forward to sharing this special presentation with you.

Chaminade Counseling Offers Pacific Northwest College Tour

Chaminade’s counseling department is excited to offer the Pacific Northwest College Tour, March 31-April 3.  A follow-up to their successful east coast tour in October, students in grades 9-11 are invited to travel to Oregon and Washington, where they will visit the University of Oregon, University of Washington, Oregon State University, Lewis and Clark College, Seattle University, Willamette University, and others! The tours offered on each campus provide students with valuable insight and perspective wherever they are in their college process. 

Taking advantage of visiting a college campus helps students form their own feelings and opinions about a school. How did they feel being on campus? Were the students friendly? Did it seem like someplace they could see themselves? How did they feel walking into the Student Union Building or sitting in the university library?  Students are choosing a ‘home away from home’ when they are exploring colleges. Nothing tells them more about a school, its opportunities and what they can expect, than being there themselves. Tours enable students to gather information directly from the source as they continue to learn about themselves and their needs and wants.

The benefit of touring colleges becomes evident when students begin applying to schools in the fall of their senior year. They will be well-informed about the kind of school they wish to attend and can see for themselves what sets one school apart from another.

Click here for more information about the Pacific Northwest College Tour, or contact the Director of Counseling, Laura Cuneo, at lcuneo@chaminade.org.

Chaminade Celebrates Advent

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!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Chaminade Senior Honored as a Finalist of the 2020 National YoungArts Foundation for Excellence in Theater.

Jater Webb ’20 was named a winner of the 2020 National YoungArts Foundation honor for excellence in theater. Jater, a senior member of the Chaminade Players, was selected as one of the nation’s most accomplished young artists from a national pool of 7,000 applications.

In addition to a scholarship, Jater will be flown to Miami, Florida for YoungArts Week from January 5-12, 2020. There he will attend master classes with theater professionals, promotional events, and participate in a performance on Tuesday, January 7 at the New World Center Stage.

As a Finalist, the organization’s highest honor, Jater is qualified for nomination to the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts Program.

YoungArts winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the United States, offering financial, professional, and artistic development opportunities over the course of their careers.

Learn More

Students Embark on East Coast College Tour

By Laura Cuneo, Director of Counseling

On October 20, Chaminade counselors will be departing on a six-night, seven-day college tour of the East Coast with 30 students. Starting in Boston and traveling amid the picturesque Northeast, a region that has always garnered great appeal among our students, students will visit 12 colleges and universities that vary in size, atmosphere, academic opportunities, and selectivity. From Boston College, Georgetown University, and Syracuse University, to Drexel University and Goucher College—to name a few– our counseling team has purposefully included these schools to address the wide range of interest of our students.

Georgetown University

We invited students in grades 10-12 to on this tour so they can begin to recognize the criteria that are important to them in choosing a college. The tours and information sessions offered on each campus provide each student with valuable insight and perspective wherever they are in their college process. Chaminade Counseling has been providing college tour opportunities for students for over a decade because we know that visiting a college campus is truly a powerful thing.  

Most high school students understand that the college admissions process is wrought with time-consuming tasks, and many start feeling the pressure of the process as early as freshman and sophomore year. With nearly 5,000 college options in the United States, just thinking about where to apply is overwhelming to most. Students feel pressure to build a college list, excel on standardized tests, and be outstanding in their activities. They often get caught up in the minutia of trying to prepare for college; this can, in turn, make them miss out on the individualized and interesting part of the search process, which includes visiting different types of schools and really thinking about finding the college that fits them best. We see the college process as a true process, reflective of how students are ever-changing throughout their high school years. College tours, as a whole, offer students a unique opportunity to understand and approach an otherwise complicated and anxiety-inducing process, bringing the fun back into it!

If a student is not sure whether they prefer a large research institution or a small liberal arts college, a school in a rural environment or a bustling city, or even a school that will bring with it drastically different weather than they are used to, physically experiencing it is invaluable. Many students are influenced by schools they hear about often, those that family members attended, or simply the bumper sticker effect, which is completely normal. Taking advantage of stepping foot on a college campus takes all of these preconceived notions away and helps students form their own feeling and opinion about a school. How did they feel being on campus? Were the students friendly? Did it seem like someplace they could see themselves? How did they feel walking into the Student Union Building or sitting in the university library? Students are choosing a ‘home away from home’ when they are exploring colleges. And nothing tells them more about a school, its opportunities, and what they can expect, than being there themselves.

The added benefit of touring colleges is evident when students begin applying to schools in the fall of their senior year. Students need to research colleges thoroughly to create a balanced college list of schools – all of which they should be happy attending. And when the time comes to submit university-specific supplement essays or have an admissions interview, they will legitimately have something to say. They will also be well-informed about the kind of school they want to attend. As students continue to learn about themselves and their needs and wants, tours enable them to gather information directly from the source. They can see for themselves what sets one school apart from another.

Boston College

Of course, it is not always possible for students to visit every school they might be interested in (and there are alternatives out there to help students still “see” a school), but when it is possible to be there physically, it truly proves to be significant. Chaminade Counseling is proud to be able to plan and offer college tours each year to our students that highlight a wide array of schools in various parts of the country. After our exciting tour of the East Coast this month, we will begin planning a college tour of the Pacific Northwest that will take place in the spring.

We look forward to providing another opportunity for our students to experience a different group of amazing colleges and universities in a very different (and truly beautiful) setting. No matter where we travel, our ultimate goal is to help our students find the college that fits them best. Seeing is really believing!