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.
One of the hallmarks of a Catholic, Marianist education is developing and strengthening our interior spirit by providing time to nurture habits of silence and reflection, especially as we approach the Lenten season, we take time to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
With war devastating our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, this Lent carries an increased heaviness. For this reason, we ask God to turn it around by helping us be intentional in how we enter more deeply into this Lenten season. Chaminade will join Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday (March 2, 2022) to pray and fast for an end to this war and peace in Ukraine. As a Catholic, Marianist school, we follow our tradition of defending peace against aggression, which is an inalienable obligation. Please click here to read the official announcement from the Vatican.
Praying and fasting along with almsgiving are Lenten practices. Fasting, which is practiced in many religions, is one of the highest forms of self-sacrifice, and it becomes even more special when we do it for peace in Ukraine. Fasting is not merely about staying hungry and thirsty, but rather, it invites us to engage more with God and cease activities that separate us from God.
To help us on our Lenten journey, Chaminade’s Office of Campus Ministry will offer many opportunities to reflect on Jesus’ love and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Please click on the links below to learn more about campus-specific opportunities.
Please join us in prayer as a Chaminade family to pray for the people of Ukraine:
God of infinite mercy and goodness, we pray to you for the people of Ukraine who are experiencing conflict and death. To you, we entrust all their families and pray that they may never yield to discouragement and despair but become heralds of new hope to one another in this challenging time. Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Zarvaniza, spread your maternal mantle over all people of goodwill who live in the great nation of Ukraine. We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis, we may all reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need so that peace and justice may become a reality for the people of Ukraine and all over the world. Amen.
Chaminade College Preparatory announces the retirement of high school head football coach Ed Croson.
Coach Croson first began his career at Chaminade in 1989 after coaching at Southern Utah State University, Los Angeles Pierce College, Notre Dame High School, and St. Genevieve High School. He served as Chaminade’s athletic director from 1993-1998 and became head football coach in 1998. Coach Croson left Chaminade in 2000 to coach at Birmingham High School. In 2009, he returned to Chaminade, taking over a program that had only won two games the previous year.
In the 13 years since Coach Croson’s return, the Eagles have earned the MaxPreps designation of All-Decade 2009-2019 and California State Top 20 (ranked #17). They played in the CIF-SS quarterfinals in 2009 (7-5-0) and the semifinals in 2010 (11-3-0) and 2011 (10-3-0). Chaminade won the Mission League title and reached the CIF-SS finals in 2012 (12-2-0). In 2013, the program won the CIF-SS and California State title (14-2-0). Recently, the Eagles qualified for the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs in 2015, 2017, 2018, the Division 1 quarterfinals in 2016, and the Division 2 finals in 2019. They also won Mission League titles in 2017 and 2020.
Every year since 2010, Chaminade has finished in the California State Top 50 (out of 1,100 competing high schools). Los Angeles Daily News has ranked the Eagles in the Top 10 every week since September 2009, including #1 in 2012 and 2013, and #2 in 2016 and 2020. Cal-Hi Sports named Coach Croson the 2013 California State High School Coach of the Year, and on October 1, 2021, he netted his 200th career win with Chaminade against Cathedral High School.
Mindful of Chaminade’s Catholic, Marianist mission, Coach Croson implemented a team Mass and meal before every game. He is proud to have sent 83 Eagles to play for Division 1, 2, 3 schools, as well as Ivy League colleges. “Chaminade is immensely thankful to Coach Croson for his shepherding of hundreds of young players over the years, and indebted to him for putting Eagle football on the map,” said Chaminade high school Principal Luis R. Guerra.
David Machuca, current associate head coach, will take over for Coach Croson. Coach Machuca has enjoyed two stints at Chaminade: between 2009-2011, when he helped the Eagles to back-to-back semifinal appearances; and since 2017, during which the Eagles were CIF-SS Division 2 finalists (2019) and won the Mission League title (2020). Coach Machuca and his wife Kristen have two young sons, Shane and Dylan, and a newborn daughter, Reagan. Mr. Guerra expressed that, “Chaminade is excited and blessed to welcome Coach Machuca into his new role as head coach. His passion for Chaminade football, and desire to build upon Coach Croson’s legacy of developing young players for lives of service, will tremendously benefit our program. With his strong understanding of Chaminade’s mission and culture, and reputation as a relationship-builder, Coach Machuca will work in partnership with his players and their families to advance the tradition of Eagle excellence.”