2015 FEB 12
NCIS-NOLA sporting CJ swag — Go Eagles!
— NOLA_Writers (@NOLA_Writers) February 12, 2015
What did you think?
What was your reaction when you heard “Chaminade Julienne High School” mentioned on a primetime CBS television drama at the beginning of the 12th episode of NCIS: New Orleans, first aired Jan. 13, 2015?
Less than a minute into the spin-off of the hit fictional crime series, viewers in the Miami Valley couldn’t believe their ears when the private, Catholic school in downtown Dayton, Ohio surprisingly made it into the script:
Detective: Human smuggling is a federal offense, Julio.
Suspect: I am a fisherman.
Detective: Oh, well that explains why you dumped these guys in the water like they were chum. We confiscated your boat. It's really schmancy (sic). Where'd you get a boat like that, huh? No, I'd like to know -- who's your supplier? You got any names for me? Tus cómplices en Los Estados Unidos. Nombres, por favor.
Suspect: Your Spanish is incredible. Where did you learn?
Detective: Miss Tawney's AP Spanish class, Chaminade Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio.
Watch the full episode, “The Abyss,” at http://bit.ly/1Bt0X7o
After hearing the 11-word line recited by fictional special agent Abigail Borin, played by actress Diane Neal (pictured above), a number of Eagles fans immediately took to social media to share their reactions.
“Our jaws dropped,” commented Kellie Kaskocsak Johnson on the CJ Alumni Facebook page. “I almost fell off the couch,” posted Mike Madden on the CJ School Facebook page. “Great shout out to Chaminade Julienne on NCIS New Orleans tonight,” tweeted Barbara Bruns.
Great shout out to Chaminade Julienne on NCIS New Orleans tonight #@CJEaglesAlumni
— Barbara Bruns (@barbara_bruns) January 14, 2015
You heard it right! But, was the mention just a “made for TV” moment? Well, yes and no.
Social Media Sleuths
Thanks to alumna Nichol Simmons, we now know the reason behind the shout out. The Los Angeles filmmaker had no involvement, but she did use her Hollywood connections and Twitter to track down the details from Jeffrey Lieber, an executive producer and showrunner for NCIS: New Orleans.
"The writer of the episode, Samantha Humphries, had written that Borin's character was from Ohio and that Borin had learned her Spanish in high school," Lieber explained. "When I went to do my pass on the script, I talked to Samantha about making it more specific."
The script makers first decided on a city, Dayton, then happened upon CJ thanks to the results of a Google search, according to Lieber. "How can anyone possibly resist a name like 'Chaminade Julienne'," he said.
CJ fans and followers also used social media to help break the news to WHIO-TV on Facebook.
Fact vs. Fiction
So, what about the teacher mentioned — is she real? No, but the "bad guy" certainly speaks the truth in alluding to the quality and value of a CJ education.
While there is no “Ms. Tawney” teaching Spanish, or any other subject at Chaminade Julienne, CJ does offer a rigorous AP Spanish program. And had agent Borin been a CJ graduate, she likely would have been taught by well-loved and respected veteran teacher, Ms. Peg Regan '73, foreign language department chair.
In fact, most of the CJ faithful on Facebook were savvy enough to pick this fact out after the school's 15 minutes of fictional primetime TV fame. Messages of “Gracias Senora Regan,” congratulating and thanking the beloved teacher peppered the school’s Facebook comments.
Ms. Regan is held in high regard within the CJ community, and for good reason. A 1973 alumna and 2014 CJ Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, she's been teaching Spanish for more than 35 years at her alma mater. She currently teaches AP Spanish as well as Spanish II, III and IV.
In other Regan run-ins with fame, Peg's father Ed Regan ‘40 is a legendary figure in Eagles lore. And he was on staff as a teacher and coach during the time when one of the school’s most famous graduates, actor Martin Sheen (then known as Ramon Estevez), walked the halls and took to the CJ stage -- the same stage, in the same auditorium that has continued to be used by CJ Performing Arts students to this day -- from 1954 to 1958.
More Fun With the News!
At the school's planned LIFT announcement rally on Friday, Jan. 16, Ms. Regan and AP Spanish students kicked things off by introducing the clip from the show. Everyone watched as Agent Borin stated what school she attended, crediting her fluent Spanish speaking skills. "At that point, everyone just erupted," said Teresa Spanel, alumni relations coordinator. "The entire place was filled with Eagle spirit!" And, as a shout-out back to "Agent Borin," Spanel is sending her Eagle spirit wear so that she can show her Eagle pride, too. "She's definitely invited to Reunion Weekend this year!"