August 14th, 2012Good News from Franceby Joseph Pearce

Although StAR is now published by the St. Augustine's Press, the magazine was founded eleven years ago by Ferdi McDermott of the St. Austin Press in England, which explains how we got our name. Ferdi asked me to edit the new journal and it has been an honour and a labour of love for me to do so ever since.

Shortly after the launching of StAR, Ferdi founded Chavagnes International College. This wonderful English-speaking Catholic school in the heart of rural France is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. In order to share in the celebration, I'm posting the latest Chavagnes Newsletter. As you will see, the school's alumni are already making their mark in the world.  


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Friends Newsletter, Summer 2012.
10th Anniversary Issue August/2012
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Our Teachers

Aux amis français!

Si vous souhaitez nous aider avec un don pour fêter notre 10ème anniversaire, nous vous fournirons un reçu fiscal (don aux œuvres) ce qui vous permet, par exemple de nous verser 1000 euros, sans que cela vous coûte plus que 340 euros.

Ce principe est aussi applicable aux dons en nature ...

(Déduction fiscale 
dans la limite annuelle de 20 % du revenu imposable.)


Chavagnes THE TEMPEST 2012 
Dear friends,

Chavagnes International College has now just finished its tenth school year! What a cause for rejoicing! At the end of our tenth happy year, here is a round-up of news from Chavagnes.
The Tempest
Summer Chakespeare Play, Prize-giving and Annual Ball
Trinculo, Stefano, Caliban and the wine ...
We all enjoyed another stunning summer theatrical production under the direction of Mr Tyldesley, after the success of last year's Much Ado About Nothing. This time, on Friday 6th July, we were treated to The Tempest. The action started off in the theatre where the stage was rigged out as the deck of a ship, before moving to an al frescho stage in the College grounds. Making their stage début, Messrs McDermott and Crawford caused quite a stir, not quite managing, however, to steal the show from Mr Tyldesley (Prospero), Anna Boyles (Ariel), Alexander Zalewski (Trinculo) and Maximilian Micallef-Eynaud as the savage Caliban. Copious photos of the production are online here. 

The day ended with our annual prize-giving, a demonstration of fencing and the annual Summer Ball. Special thanks to our parents, especially Mme de Brosses, Mme de Sorbay and Mme de Bussac and Mme Renoul for their help with organising the refreshments, stands and raffle. We managed to raise over 1,000 euros towards sports equipment from the various fundraising efforts that day.
Summer Sports
The final furlong of a great sporting year


Léonard de Moulins (right) bravely captained a football side of 11-13 year-olds against Collège Saint Marie 12-14 year-olds, and narrowly lost a closely fought match, in the last couple of weeks of term. 


Older boys also participated in a 6-a-side adult soccer tournament and won the day's trophy for 'Fair Play' !


The staff vs boys match, also in the last few days of term resulted in a moral victory for the Masters (that is to say that the boys won the day.)


Inter-House tug of war 

Several records were broken on the Athletic Sports Day and the shot-put was introduced for the first time. The Tug of War was also a first, this year, and the masters were triumphant this time, with the rest of the school leaping to the rescue of the beleaguered boys!


Cricket was fairly low-key this year, with no fixtures except intra-mural ones. Skills have improved, however, foillowing the introduction of some new cricket equipment. The highlight of this year has definitely been the stellar rise in our rugby fortunes, with very creditable participation in a series of tournaments and matches: remarkable for such a small school.


And now we have special Chavagnes rugby shirts and polo shirts. Several teachers and parents have been spotted wearing them over the summer holiday!


All boys will be billed next year for one of each (rugby shirt 25 euros, polo shirt 15 euros) so as to ensure that we all look smart for another great sporting year.

Focus on Academics
Firm foundations for the future
Mr Crawford, with pupils.

Sterling work has been going on in our Junior School, this year, under the direction of Head of Juniors, Mr Leach. Particularly in the basic areas of Maths, French and English we have seen great progress both for gifted boys and those who have difficulties on some areas.


Next year we shall be pushing more stongly the UK Maths Challenge at all levels, and thanks to Mr Crawford's initiative this year, the American National Latin Exam will be fully incorporated into our academic year. This year two pupils (Paul de Guibert and Charles Eric Lorin) were awarded commendations and in Paul's case, a silver medal, for their perfomance in the examination.


Mr Crawford will be assuming responsibility for the teaching of History throughout the College, as History Coordinator, assisted by Messrs Leach and Battye in the Junior School. This year four pupils will be studying History for Advanced Level.


Meanwhile in English, Mr Tyldesley has been working hard to improve our teaching of English as a first language and as a second language; he will now take responsibility for planning the teaching of English at all levels. In Mathematics Father Rowe, who will be teaching Maths to J2 (Yr 8/5ème) and S1 (Yr &10/3ème) will take on a coordinating role across the whole age range.


Next year, for the first time, Physical Education will be offered as a GCSE option at the College.


Next year will also see the largest examination cohort we have had for some time,  with about 10 boys for the Brevet, 9 for GCSE and 6 at AS and A-level. So Mr Usher, as Master in charge of Seniors, will have his work cut out, ensuring all those headstrong teenagers get down to their revision in plenty of time!


Details of the basic structure of our academic programmes are available online at

Chavagnes Scouts
A year of consolidation ... and some farewells
ChavagnesThe Chavagnes Scouts have had another exciting year, with various hikes, a cycle weekend to Noirmoutier, the Annual Promise ceremony with all-night vigil, and at Pentecost, their participation in the gruelling Paris to Chartres pilgrimage (110km over three days.) As you can see, the traditional Baden Powell scout hats are slowly displacing the berets as standard kit; more Chavagnes 'retro' ... but all good fun.
Our chaplain, Fr Rowe, is also now a fully-fledged scout, complete with special hat. His necker ('foulard') is proudly fastened with a handmade woggle given by some of our sister Guides in Rome (we met them in February on our choir trip, at a special fraternal evening with the Scouts et Guides d'Europe of Rome.) You can find pictures of that evening here, plus lots of other pictures from our Rome trip here.
The Scouts bid a fraternal farewell to Paul de Guibert and Laurent Gibelin who over the last three years have done much to build up this aspect of Chavagnes life. It looks like at least six or seven new and existing pupils are going to sign up for the next school year, so the tradition lives on ...
New teaching staff
Two new Masters at the College
Mr Jonathan Battye

We are happy to announce the return of Mr David Senosiain, (Dip. Maestro, Pont. Univ. of Navarre), as Spanish teacher at the College.


Mr David Senosiain

Mr Senosiain taught here from 2007-2009 so he is known to some of our older pupils; one of his younger brothers, Fermin, is joining the GCSE class in September and you can read about his brother José below. 


We also welcome Mr Jonathan Battye who will be teaching Junior Science and Latin. Mr Battye holds degrees from Oxford and Durham universities and is married with three young children. His family will be coming to live in the College. 


With a note of sadness, and much gratitude for all they have contributed to Chavagnes, we announce the departure of Mr and Mrs Asch after ten years of great service to the College. They will be going to help in the creation of a new American Catholic school in Madrid.


Mr Philip Francis has been given an extended leave of absence following the death of his mother, Anne, for whom your prayers are asked.


We keep all these friends in our prayers and wish them well.

Alumni news
A lawyer, a linguist, a political philosopher, a historian and a future priest ..
Daniel Cansick, (OC 2002-2007)
Brian Roxburgh,
(OC 2002-2005)
Daniel Cansick (OC 2002-2007), one of our first pupils in 2002, has just graduated from the University of Portsmouth, while José Senosiain (OC 2004-2008) is now an Advocate at the Spanish Bar, having graduated from the Pontifical University of Navarre, top of his class, we understand ...
Meanwhile, our very first pupil, Brian Roxburgh (OC 2002-2005) has completed his first year on a doctoral scholarship (Politics) at the University of Dallas, having graduated a year ago, summa cum laude, from Thomas Aquinas College, USA. He has also been given a job at the University, teaching young scholars how to improve their essay-writing technique. Well done, Brian!

José Senosiain, OC (2004-2008)
Bro. Stephen Morrison, O.Praem., (OC 2002-2005)
Brian came back to Chavagnes to help out in June and July this year and it was great to catch up on all his news.
We hear that another of the initial intake of 2002, Brother Stephen Morrison (OC 2002-2005) has finished his philosophical studies for the Norbertines and is off to Rome to begin his theology this autumn.

Peter Morrison,
OC (2004-2009).
Brother Stephen's younger brother Peter Morrison (OC 2004-2009) has just graduated in Ancient History from the University of Birmingham. Congratulations, Peter!

Patrick Adams (OC 2004-2007, 2009-2010) is in his final year at the University of Buckingham now, on their intensive 2-year BA Hons in Politics and International Studies. He hopes to finish at Christmas and is planning to study for a Masters degree next year, perhaps in the USA. Keep up the good work, Patrick!

A few other Old Chavagnians must have similar stories to tell, and we hope to hear from them soon. More news of recent graduations, etc, should follow in the autumn.
The Sword of the Spirit!
New soldiers for Christ, confirmed by the Bishop



A fitting ending to our school year, just as exams were drawing to a close, was the celebration of Pontifical Mass in the College Chapel by our Bishop, Monseigneur Alain Castet on 22nd June,  on the occasion of the Confirmation of six of our pupils: Darius de Sorbay, Jacques de la Roche St André, Casimir de Bonneval, Arnaud de Pontbriand, Louis Vadot and Charles-Eric Lorin. Jacques' little sister, Tiphaine de la Roche St André also made her First Holy Communion. Congratulations to all of these young people who have made an important step in their journey of faith.

Choir goes to Germany
Plans are afoot to accept an invitation from Germany to visit Marburg and Haina, near Frankfurt in the April holiday, 2013


The late medieval town of Marburg

Provisional dates are 12-18 April, 2013. We have received an invitation from a German parish, with the possibility of being accommodated in local host families.


It is a beautifully unspoilt part of Germany with plenty to see and do. As well as enjoying German family hospitality, our trip will include singing one or two concerts, singing for church services, sightseeing, meeting with local young people and no doubt a trip to the local swimming pool.


It will also be a great opportunity for those studying German at the College.


More Choir news: In the days before the Christmas holiday, the Choir will again be singing in hospitals and old people's homes and performing in the annual Chavagnes Carol Service (on the evening of Saturday 15th December). This year, for the first time, we will also be participating with other local schools in a Christmas Carol Festival organised by the College.

We are all looking forward to next year and feel strongly that as we begin our second decade as a young school, Chavagnes is now set to grow in size and influence. We need your prayers, we need your financial and practical support and we need you to tell your friends about us!

Spare a thought for me too, on Sunday 2nd September. It will be my 41st birthday and the 10th birthday of the College! Term starts again on the evening of 5th September. Enjoy the rest of the summer break!

God bless you all.

Ferdi McDermott, Principal
Chavagnes International College
Chavagnes International College is a Catholic boarding school for boys, but is also a living Christian community and a work for souls. Our parents make sacrifices to send their sons to Chavagnes, our teachers make big sacrifices too. 

But we still struggle to make ends meet and to invest what is necessary for the maintenance of our buildings and the future development of the school, as we grow in numbers. Please consider helping us with a donation, however large or small.

UK taxpayers may donate to the College through a UK partner charity, the Cardinal Allen Trust, which makes donations eligible for Gift Aid. Please contact us for details.

For French taxpayers, we can provide a RECU FISCAL (DON AUX OEUVRES) which you can use to reduce your income tax bill.

If you are considering leaving a gift to Chavagnes after your death, whether you are resident in the UK, France or any other country, then please contact us to ensure that you include the correct form of words in your will. Thank-you, and God bless you.

Why not wish us HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY with a special gift?


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