Bro. Skip Matthews dies at 77: the face of Christ for others, especially for those in need

bro-skipSince 1994, Bro. Francis “Skip” Matthews, S.M. has been a fixture in the Chaminade family. He has graced the school with his infectious smile, boundless energy, and irreplaceable spirit.

Chaminade College Preparatory is deeply saddened to announce Bro. Skip died on December 14, 2016 in Cupertino, California. He was 77 years-old, with 57 years of religious profession. The entire school family will miss his presence on campus, be it through his work in Campus Ministry, supervisory time in the cafeteria, substituting in the classroom, or to discuss social justice, the Dodgers, or the previous night’s Chaminade basketball game. You could always count on a resounding, “Hello,” if you saw an older, white pick-up truck in the parking lot.

“Bro. Skip meant the world to Chaminade’s Chatsworth community,” says Middle School Principal, Mike Valentine, “To the students he was the official greeter,  the one who woke them up and started their day with an encouraging word and a smile. To the faculty and staff he was a true inspiration, mentor, and  confidant. I can’t think of a single adult on campus from the faculty, to the physical plant crew, to the support staff who didn’t have a special relationship with Bro. Skip.”

A native Angeleno, Bro. Skip was raised in Manhattan Beach. He attended grade school at American Martyrs, and later Junipero Serra High School in Gardena. He professed his first vows in 1959, in Santa Cruz. He studied with the Brothers of St. John of God at their Los Angeles hospital, and learned the fundamentals of nursing and caring for the elderly. In 1962, he made perpetual profession in the Society of Mary.

In his early ministry, Bro. Skip served in health care and directed the Marianist Infirmary in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ten years later, he became a paramedic at a remote facility in Zambia. He served there for 18 years, and also assisted with work at Matero Boys Secondary School, a Marianist school in Lusaka.

Chaminade President Rob Webb reflects, “Bro. Skip traveled the world, taking the charism of Fr. Chaminade with him. He lived a very full life bringing some of the most disenfranchised, disconnected people closer to God. He cherished his time at Chaminade as much as his time anywhere else. We are all blessed to have known him.”

In addition to his ministry at Chaminade, Bro. Skip volunteered at hospice and the Good Shepherd Shelter, a safe house for battered women and children. He also visited Skid Row twice a week to help the homeless and spend time with them. For more than 20 years, from December 1 to 24, Bro. Skip set up a table and offered to write cards to family members and friends of people living on Skid Row. This year, Bro. Skip could not do his usual work, but over the summer he collected clothes for to the Good Shepherd Shelter and cards for the Los Angeles Catholic Worker. The items were recently donated to both organizations by the Marianist Community.

Bro. Skip was honored in 2013 at the Annual Brothers Mass and Banquet with the Annual Brotherhood Award. Archbishop Jose Gomez and Bro. Larry Moen, C.M.F., presented him with the award, “Honoring Bro. Skip’s religious commitment to the service of the Lord as a Marianist Religious Brother and his faithful ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles through education and outreach to the poor and the homeless.”

Mussack House Conducts Toy Drive and Donates Items in Honor of Sergeant Steve Owen

Every year, the eight houses at Chaminade College Preparatory’s middle school get in the holiday spirit by decorating a Christmas tree using their house colors and pillars. This year, the Mussack House decided to dedicate their tree to the late Sergeant Steve Owen.

Andrew Jacobson ’21 says, “The Mussack House Christmas tree is decorated in loving memory and true honor of Sergeant Steve Owen.” Adorned with yellow ornaments and decorations, the tree’s theme and house pillar is “respect.”

Each student created a heart, star, or police officer ornament and wrote a prayer to the Owen’s family. The students also decided to hold a toy drive, as Sergeant Owen played a large role in his station’s Christmas toy collection in previous years. Unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages 2 to 16 will be collected through Friday, December 9. On Monday, December 12, the toys will be delivered to the station.

Sherrif Owen’s wife Tania, a detective in the Sheriff’s Department’s arson and explosives detail, and his mother Mildred joined the middle school for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Mass. They were presented with flowers and stayed after Mass to speak with Mussack House students about the late Sergeant Steve Owen.



High School Concerts in December

shutterstock_152792564Next week Chaminade College Preparatory’s high school students invite the Chaminade family to attend two concerts. Both events will be held at the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts (West Hills).

Instrumental Winter Concert
Thursday, December 15
7:00 p.m.

Choral Concert and Sing-along,
A Chaminade Christmas

Saturday, December 17
7:00 p.m.

Chaminade alumni are invited to enjoy the Instrumental Winter Concert music on December 15, and are also welcome to join the band onstage for the last piece of the evening, Sleigh Ride. Attendees who would like more information on music, or need to borrow an instrument for the song may contact High School Band Director, Ken Hoffman. Tickets are $5 per adult, and may be purchased at the door. Children and alumni are free.

The choral concert and sing-along will be performed by the Chaminade Concert Choir, Chorus Class, Lord’s Chords (high school liturgical choir), and the Chaminade Adult Choir. Tickets are $5 per student and $10 per adult, and may be purchased online.


Middle and High School Mock Trial Teams Win Los Angeles County Championship

dual-champsChaminade Mock Trial made history at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday capturing both the 2016 Junior and Senior Division Los Angeles County Championships sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. It is the first time ever that one school has won both.

More than 150 schools and more than 2,500 students argued the People v. Awbrey, a case focused on the issue of human trafficking. During more than a month of competition that spanned seven rounds, the High School Legal Eagles went undefeated on their way to repeating as County Champions. In the final round, Chaminade’s Defense team faced a rematch of last year’s championship against the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. The Defense legal team, led by attorneys Spencer Levitt ’17, Conor Fairtlough ’17, and Rebecca Steinberg ’18, argued their case to Superior Court Judge Ron Rose and six distinguished scoring attorneys from the LA District Attorney’s office, the Public Defender’s office, the California Attorney General’s office, and the US Attorney’s office.

The middle school team also went undefeated throughout the competition facing John Adams Middle School in the finals.  The Prosecution Team led by attorneys Katherine Schultz ’21, Skyelar Takac ’21, and Brendan Teehan ’21 won the verdict, and Katherine Schultz was recognized as the MVP for the round.

Other students receiving individual recognition for their outstanding performances during the competition include Maxwell Newman ’17 as top Pre-trial Attorney and Rebecca Steinberg ’18 as top Defense Attorney. Armen Ajemian ’21 from the middle school team was also recognized as the top Defense Attorney for the junior high competition.

The members of the 2016 High School Championship Team are Maxwell Newman ’17, Conor Fairtlough ’17, Spencer Levitt ’17, Lexi Afradi ’17, Veronica Mansour ’17, Christine Gotthardt ’17, Christopher Azarloza ’17, Bryce Hurless ’17, Kristina Marter ’17, Samantha Bader ’18, Louis Gerny ’18, Rebecca Steinberg ’18, Spencer Delgado ’18, Hannah Sellfors ’18, Bryce Shirley ’18 Isiuwa Omoigui ’19, Claire Fairtlough ’19, Julia Wilson ’19, Brenna Cheney ’20, and Chloe Johnson ’20.

The members of the 2016 Middle School Championship Team are Armen Ajemian ’21, Sophia Canzona ’21, Dario Cardenas ’21, Leroy Freelon III ’21, Izabella Gandara ’21, Serena Gill ’21, Hannah Hayes ’21, Priyanka Khanna ’21, Maddie Marker ’21, Chandler Moutes-Lee ’21, Katherine Schultz ’21, Bailey Sellfors ’21, Skylar Takac ’21, Brendan Teehan ’21, and John Van der Wel ’21.

The championship teams are coached by Jennifer and Bert Bader.

The high school team now moves on to the California State Championship to be held in Riverside March 24-26, 2017.

Annual Food Drive Held by Chaminade’s High School Students

High school students at Chaminade College Preparatory collected and donated nearly 9,000 cans of food for the Guadalupe Center in Canoga Park. An astounding number for sure, but even more significant is knowing this could potentially last the center through to the summer!

Held from November 1 to 22, the food drive was organized by Student Council Campus and Community Relations Commissioners, Nick Sederlin ’17 and Monty Balleweg ’17. Blue Crew helped during D-Block classes, collecting, counting, and boxing cans, as well as packing the 16-foot van rented to transport all the boxes.

A little friendly competition between D-Block classes contributed to the amazing success of the food drive. The first three days were conducted as pool play where classes competed directly against each other to see who brought in the most cans. After three rounds, the class with most wins during pool play were advance to bracket play.

Classes who won their bracket received Jamba Juice, and the top four classes will get a homemade waffle breakfast cooked by high school administration. The top 4 classes were:

  • First Place – Mrs. Melendrez
  • Second Place – Mr. Williamson
  • Third Place – Mrs. Cantwell
  • Fourth Place – Ms. Poole

As a part of Chaminade’s commitment to educate for service, justice, and peace, the food drive is held on an annual basis at the high school, and always benefits the Guadalupe Center.