10 Tips to Help Students Adjust to Online Instruction

By Laura Cuneo, Director of Counseling

Although we are not physically at school right now, the Chaminade counseling team is still here to serve as a resource. Counselors will be available in the coming weeks to answer questions or concerns via email, or if you’d like, via a virtual meeting.  Please feel free to contact your counselor or the school therapist to request a time to meet, and they can help coordinate a confidential online meeting space.  

We understand that, given the global attention that COVID-19 has attracted, students may become anxious about both the virus itself and the new online academic program Chaminade is implementing. Moving to an online environment will have challenges, and it can feel isolating to students used to daily interactions with their peers. It is important to be reminded that countless students around the globe are having a similar experience – including their teachers. We hope that the tips below will help you find success in this new environment.

10 Tips from the Counseling Office to Help in the Adjustment Process as We Move Online Together:

1. Establish a routine.  Your teachers are working hard to keep everyone on a regular schedule. You can help things go smoothly by establishing your own routines for each day.  We suggest keeping a normal wake up and bedtime schedule.  Think of it like you are still “attending’ school even though you are not physically traveling to campus each day. 

2. Remember the importance of sleep for health and emotional well-being.

3. Schedule virtual social interactions.  We’re all in this together. Your classmates are very likely to have many of the same questions and concerns that you have right now.  Lean on one another and share your experiences.

4.  Fight the temptation to allow video games or binge-watching the latest Netflix special to consume hours of each day.  Instead, think about ways you can explore areas of interest (books, arts, new hobbies), delve deeper into your coursework, make time to exercise or spend quality time with loved ones.

5. Be sure to interact with your teacher and classmates even though you’re in a different setting. The key to success as we begin this new way of doing things is to stay informed.  Ask your teacher questions and participate as much as you can. Check your email regularly and remain diligent about updates and course content.

6. Evaluate your study methods now that you’ll be online. Consider getting together with other students in virtual study sessions, or even just in a conversation or chat about the course. The more you feel a part of the online experience, the better you’ll do.  

7. Remember that every unique situation brings with it new opportunities. Change can be good, and it can compel us to challenge ourselves in new ways that, in the end, promote our growth as individuals and as a community.  It is important to remain open, compassionate, and patient. 

8. Self-care and positive mental health are extremely important. Take this opportunity to examine how you currently care for yourself personally and spiritually. Use this time to reflect on ways you can grow in these areas, which, in turn, can make you a stronger and more focused student overall. 

9. Good time management will be crucial to your success as an online student. Take this opportunity to prioritize your work and establish (or re-establish) positive work habits. Distractions abound at home, so take care in recognizing these in advance and making changes as needed. Where will you do your online work?  What is distracting you that can be put away for the time being?  We want to see you set yourself up for success.

10. Reach out if you are in need of support during this time of uncertainty. Counselors, the school therapist, administrators, your teachers, and Campus Ministry are all here to support you!

Sources:   Challenge Success, NBC News

Some additional resources we recommend to support learning at home:
Schools Are Closing for Coronavirus. Now What?  – New York Times https://parenting.nytimes.com/preschooler/coronavirus-schools-lessons

Girls Varsity Soccer Wins CIF Championship

by Abigail Handel ’22, Morgan Walker ’21, Bianca Baguio ’21, Lila Manning ’21
Student Council Public Relations Commissioners

On February 28, 2020, Chaminade’s girls’ soccer team played South Torrence in the CIF Championship. After a long eighty minutes of hard work and passion, Chaminade beat South Torrence 2-1. A championship like this has not occurred for girls’ soccer since 2013. Junior defenders Lilly Pennington and Faith Tillman were responsible for the two goals scored in the first half of the game. Both goals were beautifully netted off corner kicks. Chaminade has played 27 matches this season and has only given up 17 goals. The girl’s team lives by the motto, “defense wins championships.” This is very evident in Chaminade’s defensive backline, where the two center backs have been practically unbeatable. Lilly Pennington, the eleventh-grade captain, and sophomore Sophie Beck are both talented center backs who created immense frustration for other teams. Mike Evans, coach of the girls’ soccer team, stated, “This team is made up of a perfect mix of ingredients that form the perfect recipe.” Chaminade has scored an incredible 75 goals this season with underclassman Abbey Handel and Marissa Hollert scoring most. Sophomore striker, Abbey Handel, and freshman striker, Marissa Hollert, have scored a collective number of 28 goals together. This team has grown tremendously close over the course of the last few months. Junior Emily Barkes perfectly summed up the team’s relationship by saying, “We went from not really knowing each other to being an inseparable family. We are sisters on and off the field, and I know every single girl on this team has my back.” Chaminade girls soccer will hopefully continue to the state championship. Go Eagles!


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.