The first semester of the 2015-16 school year came to a close, culminating with the annual Parents Weekend. This occasion saw many parents and their families visiting the academy for a weekend of activities. Besides the opportunity to spend time with their sons, there were parent-teacher conferences, a social hour, a conference by Headmaster Fr McMahon, a sung First Saturday Mass, and a basketball game. It was a joyous occasion to have so many of the constituents of the Academy together. The second half of the school year is now underway. Your prayers are humbly requested for a fruitful continuation of a most important work: the formation of men!
On February 6, La Salette played in the Doug Phenicie Tournament, which for the last several years has brought together teams from the East, Central and West conferences of the Central Illinois Chess League. As the highest ranked Eastern team, La Salette would be playing this year in the league championship bracket.
The tournament began well, with the Lions defeating Richwoods of Peoria on the lower five of six boards for a score of 45-13. Meanwhile, our fellow Eastern team Bismarck-Henning lost to Dunlap on all but one board. As Bismarck had handed us one of our only two losses of the regular season, we knew how good they were. It seemed that if the Lions could make it past the next round, we would be facing a very dangerous opponent in Dunlap.
Our second round, against Brimfield, unfolded with a draw on sixth board and wins on fifth and fourth. After a loss on third, La Salette needed a win on either first or second. In the end, both second board Noah Weidig and first board Dominic Carey came through, giving the Lions 44.5 points to Brimfield’s 13.5.
While La Salette was winning this match, Heyworth upset Dunlap’s formidable first board and proceeded to a 30-28 win. La Salette thus faced Heyworth in the final round for the championship—where once again the Lions took all boards but first, and won the match 45-13.
And so La Salette stands first among the 25 high school chess teams of Central Illinois.
This year’s team achieved an overall record of 14-2, the best in school history. Their smooth, confident play against serious opposition at the Doug Phenicie Tournament reflected years of practice and steady improvement, and the dedicated leadership of our four seniors—Dominic Carey (1), Noah Weidig (2), Joseph Syren (3) and Simon Loroña (6)—whose careers could not have had a more brilliant conclusion.
The Saints of Blessed Virgin Mary Academy, Syracuse, NY came marching in to grapple with the Lions for the annual rivalry contests in the historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana. Chess began the afternoon with La Salette winning all boards but one to capture the match 42-11. In basketball, La Salette won the preliminary JV match 61-30 and the main event 70-59 in a hard fought battle. Between games, the speech competition was held with three speakers representing each school. Simon Lorona won, giving the speech of Charles V condemning Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms.
Alumni from around the country, 39 in all, representing every one of the 10 graduating classes, as well as some from the years in Michigan, converged upon the Alma Mater this weekend. The big event kicked off with Compline and a social hour on Friday night where the alums introduced themselves to the current Lions. After a Solemn High Mass of Our Lady of La Salette on Saturday morning and a big and boisterous brunch, Father McMahon gave a spiritual conference, exhorting the grads to resist temptations to settle for mediocrity and to resolve a greater generosity to live as Catholic men. A beautifully catered meal was shared in the dinning room where each alumnus shared a special moment from his years of formation in the hallowed halls. The day ended with a social at the Alumni House on campus with more shared laughter, stories and camaraderie. A great time and great success!
La Salette Forever!