Cover Stories

Serve, Lead: Chaminade

The mission of Chaminade College Preparatory School, an independent Catholic day and resident school in the Marianist tradition, is ultimately to help boys ‘become the men the world needs them to be.’ It’s a big task, but Katie Reed, mother of two students and aunt to three more, says the school is more than up to it.

Reed’s sons—Charlie, 14, and Joe, 16—have attended since seventh grade. “Most special is how the school speaks to the whole boy,” Reed says, citing Chaminade’s motto, esto vir (be a man), which challenges each boy to be the very best person he can be. One of the ways Chaminade does this, she says, is by emphasizing charitable participation. The school community believes service to be an integral part of adulthood, and requires all students to serve their families, churches, school and community. Both of Reed’s sons have taken part in the Chaminade Breakfast Club, which has regularly prepared and served food to homeless men at Father Dempsey’s transitional housing since 2008. Joe also meets the school’s service hour requirement by working at Whole Kids Outreach in rural Missouri in the summer, Reed says.

The academics are challenging as well. “Chaminade offers more college credit courses than most schools in the St. Louis area,” says Tim Sartori, Chaminade counseling department chair. “Currently, more than 200 hours of college credit are available to sophomores, juniors and seniors.” This means that a student can shave time off their university career by taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses or Advanced College Credit (ACC) courses, if they are ready to do so. These are taught in affiliation with universities in the St. Louis area. Chaminade students registering for these classes are given full access to the university libraries at the time of their studies and are awarded their grade (A, B or C) through either Saint Louis University or UMSL. This credit is then transferable to various colleges on application. Reed says the school’s block system (with a different schedule of classes each day) not only prepares the boys for college, but helps with the homework load.

Chaminade’s House System further enhances its mission by developing leadership and mentorship among the students, says Dr. Todd Guidry, middle school principal. There are five different houses, each overseen by two deans and one counselor. Students, both residential and day, belong to the same house for all seven years with the goal of building strong bonds among grade levels. “The dynamics of our house system are special, and they are not something you would get ina typical classroom setting,” Guidry says. “All mentor groups (Chaminade’s version of a homeroom) have senior leaders who take a daily leadership role while interacting with students from other grade levels. These groups also allow more adults to take an interest in the whole development of a student.”

Reed says she has seen her boys respond to the school motto’s call. “I watched them walk in as little kids,” she says, “and now they are these wonderfully mature young men—trustworthy, loyal and accountable.”

Pictured: Conner Travers (’22), Xavier Torres-Apri Pous (’20), and Marin Vrucinic (’17) walk to a house meeting.
Photo: Heidi Drexler Photography

Chaminade College Preparatory Schools is an independent Catholic day and resident school in the Marianist tradition for boys in grades six through 12. Pictured on the cover: Jack Carr (’22) and Owen Piskorowski (’22) work on an engineering project in a middle school STEM class. For more information, call 314.993.4400 or visit chaminade-stl.org

Cover design by Allie Bronsky | Cover photo by Heidi Drexler Photography

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