Celebrating CMCP History: Belanger Hall
A new school year means new changes, and we’ve seen more than a few since school started in August! We changed our instructional model and uniform requirements, welcomed new students and staff, outfitted a new Wellness Center, and the list goes on. In a broader sense, we have new technological capabilities than ever before: synchronous instruction, e-textbooks, and even this newsletter!
So, imagine for a moment, a time without these advances. When instant downloads were a dream and having a rush of information accessible through mere fingertips was more of a trickle. Technology has improved tremendously over the years, and no one on campus has seen the impacts of that change more than Mr. Belanger, current Media Specialist at CMCP. His career at Chaminade started in 1966, and since then he’s held many different titles over his 50 years here. Ask him about a specific title-- head of the Social Studies Department for instance-- he’ll say, “Oh, yes, but that was before the library.”
The “library” of Mr. Belanger’s heyday was, in fact, a library. When the building was first constructed, it housed Mr. Belanger (who has been in the same office since 1973!!), an equipment room, rows and rows of bookshelves, and a file room. The equipment? Projectors. The file room? Storage for the card catalog. Are you asking yourself right now, “What words did I just read?” talk to your parents. Better yet, talk to Mr. Belanger.
He’ll take you through our history and tell you we started with reel to reel tapes and rows of bookshelves. “When we became Chaminade-Madonna, we had over 30,000 volumes to catalog,” he explains when asked about the beginnings of the library. We’re moving quickly through time here, but he went from tracking these books through a card catalog to a digital catalog before digital catalogs were available. That’s right: Mr. Belanger wrote a program to run the library. Then, when technology caught up to Mr. B., he spent hours copying the data from his program to the “official” purchased database.
But, “This is going to be the way things are,” he said to himself when throwing away the reel to reels replaced by the VHS tapes, while finding new homes for the VHS tapes replaced by the DVDs, and when donating the DVDs replaced by digital technology. This readiness to accept change, to embrace whole-heartedly the “new” perfectly embodies the Marianist Characteristic of education for adaptation and change.
Mr. Belanger started his career in education at Chaminade in 1966. He has seen uniforms go out of style, buildings take shape, and technology advance. He’s witnessed the library change to the media center change to Belanger Hall. We know you’ll be in and out of Belanger Hall during your time here, and we hope that you stop in and say hello to the man who continues to have such an important impact, Mr. Belanger.