Debate Team Co-Champions

The Chaminade Debate team participated in the Peninsula Invitational over the weekend of January 12 at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. The Peninsula Invitational is one of the fastest growing tournaments on the West Coast, with 87 schools, 669 individuals, and five states represented.

This year, two teams from Chaminade competed in the varsity policy debate division, widely considered to be the tournament’s most competitive. Two Chaminade teams consisting of Dhruv Ahuja ’21 and Dylan Barsoumian ’21 (Chaminade AB) and Azadeh Hormozdiari ’21 and Ellya Kim ’22 (Chaminade HK) finished the tournament as co-champions. Such an accomplishment has not been achieved by Chaminade Debate in any division at any tournament since 2011.

The judges awarded all four Chaminade students “best speaker awards” for excellence in debating and research: Azadeh (2nd), Dhruv (7th), Ellya (12th), and Dylan (18th).

This year the team has been researching the merits of United States immigration policy. They have been debating the topic, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.” 

Next, the team heads to the UNLV Golden Desert Debate Tournament, February 2-4, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Chaminade Celebrates and Supports Students at Annual Gala

Emerald Isle is March 2, 2019, at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills. All are welcome to attend. Guests will enjoy an evening filled with auctions, dinner, dancing and a special performance by the senior class.

Gala chairs Karen Valentine P ’92 ’95 and Carrin Torres P ’11 have strong ties to the Chaminade community and are excited about this annual event.

Karen retiredin 2014 after 35 years on the faculty. For 11 of those years, she was directorof guidance and counseling. Karen is a member of the Chaminade board of directors and serves on the planning and policycommittee. She continues to serve and philanthropically support Chaminade becauseshe believes in its mission. She says, “my favorite thing aboutChaminade is the family spirit and the way people open their hearts.” Honored as a founder in 2004, Karenis also a member of Les Dames de Chaminade.She and her husband Gary have two sons, Scott ’92 and Rick ’95.

Carrin worked at Chaminade for 11 years, most recently in the office of advancement.As director of parent giving, Carrin focused on relationship building andensuring the gala’s impact as a meaningful and cherished event. Carrin looksforward to co-chairing the gala because “it’s rewarding tosee our community rally together and make a collective impact that our students can benefit from immediately.” Carrin isalso a Les Dames de Chaminade. She has five children: JD, Nikoll, Olivia, Sophia ’11 and Carmen.

All proceeds raised through the Chaminade gala provide resources for middle school and high school programs. Past gala events have raised funds for classroom equipment, performing arts and athletic programs, as well as special initiatives such as the Bro. Skip Matthews Apostolic Works Endowment Fund, campus ministry facility enhancements, and the creation of a student wellness program.

For more information regarding ticket sales and sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact Suzanne Dumas at sdumas@chaminade.orgor call 818.360.0615.

Gift Card Bingo is ON!

Chaminade Gala Benefit and Auction proudly sponsors Gift Card Bingo for all middle school students. Playing is easy and fun! Donate gift cards to win amazing prizes, earn free dress and get house points. 

Prizes include:
» Front-of-the-line lunch pass for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year
» Principal-for-a-Day
» Camera, headphones, Razor scooter and more…

Additionally, the X-Block with the highest dollar amount collected will win an In-N-Out Burger lunch on February 7, 2019. BINGO cards were distributed on January 8, 2019.  If you lost or misplaced your bingo card, CLICK HERE for a copy. Gift cards and cash donations will be used to raise money for the Chaminade Gala online and silent auctions. All proceeds benefit Chaminade. Any questions, please call Suzanne Dumas at 818.360.0615 or email


High School Mock Trial Team Takes Home Championship

The courtroom was quiet as Judge Ron Rose made the announcement. Then, the celebration began. For the third time in four years, the Chaminade High School Mock Trial Team took home the Los Angeles County Championship on Wednesday night at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. After months of preparation and six rounds of competition, Chaminade met Diamond Bar High School in the finals. The defense team, led by attorneys Chris Collins ’19, Serena Gill ’21, and Armen Ajemian ’21, argued their case in front of Judge Rose and a panel of legal professionals. The team set the tone with outstanding performances including MVP of the round Claire Fairtlough ’19 as the defendant.

The middle school team reached the finals for the third straight year facing Hollenbeck Middle School. In a closely contested round, Chaminade finished as LA County Runner Up of the junior division. Eighth-grader Samantha Pofsky ’23 received the outstanding witness award for her portrayal of the defendant Reagan Klein.

More than 2,500 students on 143 teams competed in this year’s competition making it the largest in the entire country. This year’s case, People v. Klein, involved a college student charged with making a criminal threat and false report of an emergency.

The high school team will now represent Los Angeles at the State Championship in Sacramento at the end of March.

The members of the 2018-19 high school team are Armen Ajemian ’21, Sophia Canzona ’21 , Dario Cardenas ’21, Madison Cheramie ’22, Chris Collins ’19, Matthew Delgado ’19, Claire Fairtlough ’19, Hannah Hayes ’21, Emma Heafner ’22, Violet Josephson ’21, Priyanka Khanna ’21, Isabella Koujakian ’22, Andrew Langrudi ’21, Rachel Lee ’22, Madison Marker ’21, Luke McNulty ’22, Michaela Nam ’20, Victoria Parks ’21, Katherine Schultz ’21, Sammy Shahinian ’21, Skylar Takac ’21, Brendan Teehan ’21, and John Van der Wel ’21. The team is coached by Jennifer and Bert Bader.

The members of the middle school team are Owen Cappelletti ’23, William Cerreta ’23, Ethan Croutch ’23, Hallie Egan ’23, Gia Frank ’23, Jesse Goldman ’23, Alex Grenn ’23, Joseph Hernandez ’23, Eliana McIlvery ’23, Mikayla Nazarian ’23, Gabia Paliulis ’23, Sam Palmeri ’23, Samantha Pofsky ’23, Kameron Rabizadeh ’23, and Ryann Schaffer ’23. The team is coached by Jill Teehan.

Two Chaminade Students Head to Sydney Opera House

Imagine being one of 300 students, out of 12,000 international applicants, selected to perform at the Sydney Opera House. For two talented Chaminade students, Kristin McGinnis ’20 and Nicholas Amenta-Shin ’20, that dream became a reality. Both were accepted as finalists in the High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House. McGinnis and Amenta-Shin were nominated at the beginning of the school year by chorus teacher, Danielle Duckett. “I thought it would be a tremendous opportunity and decided to nominate two of my students who are both part of the Concert Choir leadership team,” says Duckett. “They were emailed shortly after with an invitation to apply which included a resume and an audition to be submitted – they needed to select an Italian aria. I coached them through pronunciation, expression and the music, and they both came in to record, which they both ultimately submitted. From there, it was a waiting game.”

“To be accepted is a dream in itself!” says McGinnis, “I honestly wasn’t expecting to get in, but on Halloween, when I got an email saying that I’ve been accepted, as cliché as it is, I felt like the world around me stopped for a second.” The High School Honors Performance Series is an honor reserved for elite high school musicians to perform at one of the world’s most recognized and revered performance institutions, the Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House. Selected finalists will spend six days in Sydney, where they will study under master conductors, experience the highlights of the “Harbour City,” and get to know accomplished musicians from around the world.

“I had to learn an Italian aria which was difficult – as I’ve never sung in Italian,” says Amenta-Shin. “The whole process was very rewarding for me as I was introduced to something I’ve never done before, and being accepted into the program allows me to become part of something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.”