By Sean Keane ‘23
Chaminade High School’s campus has seen a number of expansion projects in recent years. What started as a modest school on Jackson Avenue is now an extensive campus that reaches back to Jericho Turnpike. The newest additions to Chaminade—the Activity-Athletic Center (AAC), the Physical Fitness Center (PFC), and the Science, Technology, and Research Center (STRC)—are very familiar to students, as they have always had these buildings and the resources they provide at their disposal. However, this was not always the case, and prospective students, alumni, and parents may wonder: What are these buildings even used for?
One of the first major expansions of Chaminade’s campus came with the completion of the AAC. Construction on the center finished in 2006, and it is now used for student body Masses, athletics, and other events.
The main area of the AAC is wood flooring that serves as a basketball court for the winter sports season, and then a volleyball court in the spring. On the west side of the building, meanwhile, is the Wrestling Room and the Pietà Lobby.
Among Chaminade’s most popular sports is basketball. The freshman, junior varsity, and varsity basketball teams all make use of the AAC to practice and hold games. The AAC has the capacity for six basketball hoops that can be configured into two small courts for practicing, or one full-sized court for games. The teams are highly competitive, so those who make them are among the best at what they do. When they play home games, all of the CHS basketball teams attract a sizable crowd and pack the AAC bleachers.
One of the most dedicated and hardworking teams at Chaminade is the wrestling team. About 80 athletes are on the team in a given season, and they span across about a dozen weight classes. The AAC’s state-of-the-art Wrestling Room gives the team significantly more space to practice than the old room in the main school building. The season starts in November and lasts until March, but the athletes of the Chaminade wrestling team stay active and conditioned year-round. All eight coaches of the wrestling team strive to teach their athletes one mission: work hard and win.
“We are a wrestling team full of young men of character,” Coach Scott Cole ’95 explains, “who will embrace adversity, not run from it. It truly is a way of life and once you have wrestled everything else seems to be easier. We build that character and our boys learn honor, integrity, discipline, commitment and dedication. And hopefully have some fun along the way…training like madmen.”
Finally, Chaminade’s varsity volleyball team is comprised of a select group of players who are at the top of their game. Volleyball is played in the spring season, so the team gets to utilize the entire court since they do not need to share it with basketball. The AAC gives the team ample space to practice with its two volleyball courts, which is an advantage when compared to the single court in the school’s old gym.
The AAC is not just used for sporting events, though. On the eastern side of the complex is Hearst Auditorium, where many extracurricular and spiritual gatherings are held. During the school week, Catholics for Life, the Chaminade Business Club, and the freshman Social Studies Club meet in Hearst Auditorium. Along with these regularly scheduled meetings, there are other, less frequent events that utilize Hearst Auditorium, such as each division’s prayerful night of recollection.
Catholics for Life is a religious association at Chaminade that advocates for the protection of all life from conception to natural death. They meet in Hearst every Monday after Sodality to discuss Catholic topics and current events where human life is threatened. The Catholics for Life also holds evenings of adoration, retreats, and service projects. The highlight of the year for the club is the March for Life in Washington D.C. The club will be sending about 50 students to the March to stand up for what we, as Catholics, believe in.
One of the most popular clubs at Chaminade, the Business Club, meets in Hearst Auditorium every week on Wednesdays. They discuss a range of topics from the world of finance, including stocks and bonds, credit, and how to properly invest money. Students will also occasionally give presentations on current and historical events such as the 2008 financial crisis and the emergence of cryptocurrencies. The AAC and, more specifically, Hearst Auditorium has allowed the Chaminade Business Club to grow and inform more students about following a financially sound lifestyle.
Finally, the freshman Social Studies Club uses Hearst Auditorium for their weekly meetings due to its large number of members. They meet on Thursdays and analyze all topics of history and its relevance in today’s society. They also hear from several guest speakers throughout the school year who talk about life experiences relating to American or world history.
The AAC is an important landmark on Chaminade’s campus. It hosts many activities that are open not only to students, but also to parents and alumni. From events sponsored by the Chaminade Alumni Parents Association (CAPA) to sports games throughout the year, there is something for everyone at the AAC on Jericho Turnpike.