On Aug. 7, 2014, Elise Angelette, daughter of St. Paul’s School’s own theater instructor Denny Charbonnet, was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Through this tragedy, however, came a saving grace, as the entire St. Paul’s and Covington communities have joined together to support them through this tough time.
“To see the wolf pack come together to support me and my family right now leaves me speechless,”Angelette said in a statement. “I have always felt like I was part of the pack, blue and gold in my veins.”
In her statement, Angelette talks about how she’s been on the St. Paul’s campus all her life and how she’s been a part of the school’s culture since she was little.
“I’ve been there barefoot, running the campus and keeping guard up in the tree in front of the theater as a kid. I grew up behind the scenes and on the stage, or sleeping in the light booth in my sleeping bag,” said Angelette. Growing up backstage, she became a cast member of many of the school’s productions in high school and now works as the theater department’s costume designer and choreographer, as well as a co-director of drama camp during the summer.
According to Charbonnet, since Angelette’s diagnosis, she has received incredible amounts of prayers and support from students at St. Paul’s. Student Council and Lasallian Youth Leaders have organized various fundraisers, donations, and other forms of aid which are being given to her and her family.
“Everyone has been so supportive and helpful. People even sign up to bring food to help ease the load,” Charbonnet said.
Along with these various school fundraising events, one of the Angelette children opened a lemonade stand on Aug. 19 that raised over $2,000 towards Elise’s medical expenses. Students, faculty, and people in the Covington area all came to help raise money for her. Student Council members even promoted the event at school and helped man the event.
“It was an overwhelming success. None of us had any idea that so much money would be raised from just a lemonade stand,” Charbonnet said.
According to Charbonnet, Angelette is taking her illness with a positive attitude, assuming Bob Marley lyrics as her mantra of “every little thing’s gonna be alright.” The former SPS homecoming queen and head cheerleader now has the entire school and community cheering for her recovering.
“Because of all of the support that we’ve been receiving, she doesn’t worry about it hardly at all. Her treatment is going well and we all pray for her, so we’re confident that she will be okay,” Charbonnet said.
Angelette has recently started her second round of chemo treatment at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Because she is focusing on taking care of her daughter and grandchildren during this time, Charbonnet has cancelled the school’s fall play, “The Outsiders,” but said that the spring show, “Godspell,” is still on.