They may have attended the high school, or their daughters or granddaughters were graduates or there may have been a connection through teaching. Regardless, approximately 30 families have contributed to Archbishop Chapelle High School’s growing endowment. Many were recognized Nov. 1 on the Metairie campus at an All Saints Mass of Thanksgiving.
“All donors, whether for endowed scholarships or those in-progress were invited to the Mass, and our students who are on scholarship were given the opportunity to see the people who make their scholarships possible and interact with donors,” said Connie Dantagnan, ’88, Chapelle’s director of advancement. “We wanted people to see that the endowment is growing.”
The Mass highlighted the saints among us who are examples of living a virtuous life.
“It is our calling to be one of those saints,” Father David Ducote, parochial vicar at St. Clement of Rome, said at the opening of the Mass he celebrated with Deacon Drea Capaci.
Students were asked, by Deacon Capaci, who gave the homily, if they recognized any saints in their lives today. He wasn’t asking necessarily about “pious” people but those who had touched their “hearts and souls and taught you how to be a better person.”
He wanted them to keep the image of saints in mind as he regaled the virtues of the Catholic Church, saying without the Catholicity of our archdiocese, there wouldn’t be an Archbishop Chapelle High School.
The Gospel of Matthew on the Beatitudes gives us “the way not just to be a saint but how to get to heaven” by how we live our lives, he said.
The Catholic Church is the only faith that has seven sacraments, Deacon Capaci said, each meant to help us live out our Christian lives. He noted that several students would be celebrating the sacrament of confirmation this year. He hoped it would mean more than a day to wear a new dress and attend dinner with family. He hoped the sacrament would “touch your hearts and souls and help you live out what you believe.”
Now over $1.1 million
The endowment, begun in 1987 under the leadership of then president/principal Alvin Murphy (1983-98), has increased to $1,168,000.
Dantagnan said Murphy promised the initial donors that distributions would be paid from the net income and principal of the endowment. “Income over 5 percent of the fund’s year-end balance is to be left in the fund for growth.”
Contributions can be made to any of the scholarships or just the general endowment, Dantagnan said. Every year, 5 percent of the endowment is used to award all scholarships at Chapelle.
“The endowment program defrays the cost of our academic and work scholarships,” Dantagnan said.
Every principal since Murphy has supported the endowment’s growth. In fact, former president-principal Beth Johnson, who participated in the Nov. 1 liturgy, is establishing an endowed scholarship in her parents’ names Amy and Carney Johnson.
Archbishop Chapelle principal Leila Benoit lauds the generous donors who make scholarships possible.
“The endowment helps some of our students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to attend Chapelle to experience a solid, Catholic education,” Benoit said. “Their families would have a financial strain without the endowment.”
Today, there are six fully endowed scholarships – meaning a minimum of $50,000 was raised to name a scholarship after someone – and 23 partially endowed scholarships. Endowed scholarships are in the names of the Michael Calamari Family, Lori Bourgeois family, Stoulig family, James Macaluso family, Patricia and Nel Vezina family and Taylor Friloux.
Twenty-three partially endowed scholarships are from the Boue, Darré, C. J. Leggio and Spadafora families, the Amy and Carney Johnson Memorial Scholarship and the William Johnson Memorial scholarship.
“Know that we pray for our generous donors monthly at school Masses,” Dantagnan told the donors at the Mass.
Judy Golemi Spadafora, a member of the 1966 graduating class, was recognized Nov. 1 as a donor. Her two daughters were Chapelle graduates, and she was a home economics teacher and a counselor here for more than 40 years.
“I have felt a strong allegiance to Chapelle, and I’d like to see it continue,” Spadafora said about the endowment. “Life is expensive nowadays, and high school is such an important time for girls. I think it helps them become who they are capable of being.”
Grew this year
The endowment received a strong boost recently when Raising Cane’s chicken restaurant made a contribution in recognition of shift manager, Taylor Friloux, who was tragically killed this year while working at a Kenner location. Friloux, 21, was a 2013 Chapelle graduate, and had worked for the chain for approximately four years and was poised to return to college to study business management.
When Raising Cane’s informed her mother, Jamie Reavis – a 1988 Chapelle graduate – of a donation, she suggested it go to two of Friloux’s favorite things: Archbishop Chapelle High School and animals. So a part of Cane’s donation went to Chapelle, and the other to Animal Rescue of New Orleans where Taylor had worked to earn service hours while a Chapelle student.
Reavis is working with Chapelle on the application requirements for the scholarship. She desires both a financial need aspect and an academic requirement since Chapelle had worked with her financially as she put her daughter through high school, and Friloux also had a strong grade point average.
“We struggled (financially) to send her here,” Friloux’s mother Reavis said. “I went here, so I wanted her to go here, too, and I figured this scholarship money was a good way to give back. That way here name lives forever.”
The inaugural Taylor Friloux scholarship will be awarded for the 2017-18 school year in February simultaneously with all scholarship awards, Dantagnan said