Benji Chatters Named American Press Male Scholar Athlete of the Year

Benji Chatters Named American Press Male Scholar Athlete of the Year

St. Louis Catholic High School Class of 2019 Salutatorian Benji Chatters was named Male Scholar Athlete of the Year by the Lake Charles American Press this summer.  Read below for the article published June 26, 2019:

Being a Chatters is synonymous with success in the classroom and in athletics.

With three older sisters to look up to, recent St. Louis Catholic graduate Benji Chatters said he was driven to succeed.  He maintained a 4.65-grade point average, ranked No. 2 in his graduating class and scored a 33 on the ACT while excelling in three sports.  For that, he was named the American Press Scholar Athlete of the Year.

“I am a very competitive person,” Chatters said.  “I like competing.  I would always play with (my three sisters) and I started playing baseball and basketball.  From there I started playing football in middle school.  I have always liked to go to school.  I enjoy going to class and being challenged.  I have always wanted to be a good student since I was a kid.”

Two of his sisters, Cydney and Jodi, are in medical school while Drew is in dental school.   Cydney and Drew were standout soccer players and track athletes, while Drew was a three-time Gulf Coast Athletic Conference javelin champion at Xavier University in New Orleans.

“I had good examples of how to do it from my sisters,” Chatters said.  “I didn’t struggle that much with it.  I was able to realize what was really important so when it came to a serious overlap I could always put more emphasis on school.  That was more important.”

Chatters’ parents Benard, a horse trainer, and Rachel, a pediatrician, also helped to mold his academic and athletic success.

“My parents are serious about education and that is something they always instilled in me and my siblings,” Chatters said. “They showed us the importance of education.”

Chatters is headed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City this fall to start a six-year combined undergrad and medical school program.

“It is year-round, no summers,” Chatters said. “(Family) had a lot of influence on that.  I have grown up around them.  I also want to be a doctor for my own reasons.  I feel like that is great and I want to be able to help people with their problems.

“There is a certain level of competitiveness in that, too, that I like about being a doctor.  Being a good doctor is something I always wanted to do since I was a kid.  I looked up to my mom a lot.”

Chatters said a typical day started about 6 a.m. and most days he wouldn’t get home until 5 p.m. or later.

As a 6-foot guard, Chatters helped lead the Saints to the Division II state semifinals in March and he earned a spot on the Class 3A all-academic composite team.  On the gridiron, Chatters’ ability as a wide receiver (27 receptions, 667 yards, 11 touchdowns) helped the Saints to a first-round upset of No. 8 Loyola Prep.  He also ran on the Saints’ 4×100 and 4×200 meter track teams.

“I love sports, so I never really wanted to stop,” Chatters said. “Sometimes I wouldn’t want to go to practice, so I would struggle.  But I love playing the games.  I knew it could be done because all my sisters did that.  I think I will miss basketball the most, but I think I was a better football player.”

2 St. Louis Catholic Teachers Participate in STEM Training at McNeese

2 St. Louis Catholic Teachers Participate in STEM Training at McNeese

St. Louis Catholic Librarian & Technology Coach Melanie LeJeune (middle row, fifth from left) and IBCA/Personal Finance Teacher Ashley Lavine (middle row, second from right) at McNeese State University’s Code.org training in June 2019.

During the week of June 17, McNeese College of Engineering and Computer Science through the McNeese-Code.org partnership held its second Local Summer Workshop at the Calcasieu Parish Technology Training Center in Lake Charles, and St. Louis Catholic faculty members Melanie LeJeune and Ashley Lavine attended in preparation to teach a Computer Science Discoveries class in the 2019-2020 school year.

This workshop prepared Louisiana middle and high school teachers to teach computer science using the Code.org curriculum and philosophy, and the program will continue with four additional Saturday workshops at approximately 7-8 week intervals during the academic school year.

“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is so important because no matter what you end up doing professionally, the STEM skills you learn in school will only help you grow as a problem solver, and learning a little bit of programming will help you grow in whatever profession you choose,” LeJeune said.  “It helps you move from just being a consumer to being a creator!”

Dr. Catherine Anderson, the regional program manager, said this is the first year Louisiana has had a regional parter, whose main responsibility is to organize these workshops and recruit local school districts to not only send their teachers to the workshop but also to offer the computer science classes in their school.

“We welcomed teachers from all across the state – from Caddo Parish in the northwest to Orleans Parish in the southeast, not to mention having eight teachers from right here in Calcasieu Parish,” Anderson said in a press release.  “Some teachers have been waiting for years for these workshops, and the fact that this was the first one held in Louisiana is the reason teachers traveled to Lake Charles from across the state.  In the future, McNeese will take the workshops to different parishes. Later this summer and next year we will be offering workshops in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and New Orleans.”

McNeese-Code.org partnership is the only code.org partnership available for teacher training in Louisiana. The funding for the workshops, teacher training and travel assistance is provided by code.org through a three-year grant received by Anderson, Dr. Seyed Aghili and Dr. Nikos Kiritsis at McNeese.

LeJeune said students enrolled in St. Louis Catholic’s Computer Science Discoveries Class should expect a very hands-on, active class.

“Students will learn the design process, HTML, and JavaScript in order to create interactive e-cards, a personal website, an app, and more,” said LeJeune, St. Louis Catholic’s technology coach and librarian.  “Last year, we had all boys in our classes.  I would love to see girls take this class because girls are creators and problem solvers, too!”

Said Kiritsis, the Executive Director of STEM programs at McNeese: “As more students are exposed to computing, coding and computer science in their primary and secondary education, we will see more students enrolling and majoring in STEM programs here at McNeese and other Louisiana universities, helping to alleviate the shortage of qualified applicants for the growing number of STEM job offered by our local and regional industries.”

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Saints’ Ivan Appleton Wins Calcasieu Parish’s 49th Annual Cagle Award

Saints’ Ivan Appleton Wins Calcasieu Parish’s 49th Annual Cagle Award

Calcasieu Parish’s Cagle Awards have been presented to the area’s top track and field athletes since 1971 and are named for the late Kenneth “Bobby” Cagle, a supporter of track and field and a state legislator and businessman.  St. Louis Catholic’s Ivan Appleton, a sophomore in 2018-19, was the boys’ track winner announced in June.  Here is an excerpt from the Lake Charles American Press on Appleton’s achievements that merited the honor:

After having sitting out his freshman year, Appleton didn’t waste much time making his mark in the distance races in Southwest Louisiana, winning outstanding track honors in his first varsity meet, the Barbe Buc Relays.

Even when the pressure started to mount in the postseason, the underclassman didn’t fold. He won four events (800, 1,600, 3,200, 4×800) at the District 4-3A meet and swept the distance races at the Region II-3A meet.

He saved his best for last with a pair of personal bests to win state 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 3A meet in May at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track and Field Stadium. He placed fifth in the 800 at the state meet.

His time in the 1,600 (4:32.85) and 3,200 (10:07.71) were the area’s top marks.  He also won the Class 3A state cross country championship.

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Appleton and Saints junior Gabriel Meyer competed in the invitation-only Great Southwest Classic at the University of New Mexico in summer 2019.  The meet featured athletes from 20 states – Appleton placed 10th in the 3,200-meter race (10:06.62), and Meyer finished 9th in the javelin throw (165).  Read more from the American Press.

Peloquin, Courville, Derouen Earn 2019 LSWA All-State Honorable Mentions

Peloquin, Courville, Derouen Earn 2019 LSWA All-State Honorable Mentions

J.T. Peloquin

The Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) released its Class 3A All-State baseball and softball teams this past week, and three St. Louis Catholic seniors in the class of 2019 received Honorable Mentions.

Hannah Derouen at her signing

Saints baseball senior J.T. Peloquin and softball seniors Katelyn Courville and Hannah Derouen were named as Honorable Mention selections by the LSWA.

This is just one of the postseason honors Peloquin received, as he was named to the 2019 LBCA All-Region 6 Team (Vernon, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, Cameron & Beauregard) as a utility player.  Peloquin and Derouen also were named to the American Press‘ All-Southwest Louisiana teams in early June.  Peloquin posted a 2.42 ERA on the mound and scored 28 runs this season, and Derouen posted a 1.98 ERA and batted .498.

Katelyn Courville at her signing

Derouen signed with Millsaps College this spring, and Courville, an outfielder/middle infielder, signed with Louisiana College softball in January.

Matt Fontenot Hired as St. Louis Catholic Head Baseball Coach

Matt Fontenot Hired as St. Louis Catholic Head Baseball Coach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 4, 2019 – St. Louis Catholic High School announced the hiring of Matt Fontenot as baseball coach. Fontenot brings instant familiarity with the Saints program after graduating from St. Louis Catholic in 2005 and excelling on the baseball team as a middle infielder.

“It’s exciting to give back to a community that I got so much out of and be able to instill in the student athletes the same characteristics the school gave me,” Fontenot said.  “It’s more about the school itself than the baseball program.  The school community at St. Louis Catholic challenges you to be a better human and a better student.  That’s the experience I want to provide to those kids – challenging them to be the best they can be in the classroom and also on the baseball field of course.”

Fontenot graduated from McNeese State in 2009. He signed with the Cowboys in 2007 out of Bossier Parish Community College, but suffered an elbow injury that required “Tommy John surgery” and forced him to miss the 2008 season. He started as a middle infielder as a junior and senior, and he produced a .343 batting average as a junior to help McNeese set a school record for team batting average (.316). He earned Southland Conference Player of the Week honors multiple times and finished his career with a .301 average, nine home runs and 56 RBI. A good student, Fontenot was named to the McNeese State and Southland Conference Honor Roll.

For the past five years, Fontenot worked in the Football Operations department at Texas A&M, where he earned his master’s degree in sports management in 2013.  He’s also served on the Twelve Baseball Academy staff in College Station, Texas, and he served as an assistant baseball coach and hitting instructor at St. Louis Catholic in 2012.

Saints Athletic Director Pat Neck said he is thrilled to have Fontenot share his passion for baseball and St. Louis Catholic with the players in his program.

“Matt brings a wealth of knowledge of the game of baseball, and as an alumnus he has a passion for St. Louis Catholic that we believe will lead our program to new heights,” Neck said.

St. Louis Catholic’s baseball team has won 13 district championships and three state championships in its history.  In 2019 the Saints finished 15-19 (4-2 District 4-3A) and lost to E.D. White in the first round of the playoffs.  Fontenot said he loves the constant challenge that the sport of baseball brings, and he’s grateful for the opportunity to be a head coach in his hometown of Lake Charles with his wife, Mallory Istre Fontenot, and their 2-year-old son, Beckett.

“The relationships at St. Louis Catholic are lifelong,” Fontenot said.  “The alumni take care of each other and continue to push each other.  The school is the most important part and what the kids gain from that.”