Roy ‘trades’ careers, finds contentment at ND

Tom Batters

On the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, as numbers flashed across the ticker and brokers with loosened ties and tired eyes scurried to make market with cutthroat, do-or-die ferocity, Charlie Roy felt a dull pain of discontent tug at his heart.

Roy, the principal at Peoria Notre Dame High School, worked at the CBOT first as a high school intern, then full-time right out of college.

His competitiveness and knowledge of market trends made him successful (and rich), but he said he was never truly happy.

“I enjoyed that job, but I always felt like I was wasting away my true talents and aspirations,” he said. “So, I sent out some teaching applications, and I was very blessed to get hired at Notre Dame. It was the best move I ever made.”

Aspirations...

Roy, 32, grew up near Ft. Wayne, Ind. His family moved to the Chicago area before he entered high school.

His father, uncle and other family members were involved in commodities trading at the CBOT, so Roy learned the ropes and worked there during the summer throughout high school.

But, after graduating from high school, he said he really wanted to become a doctor, so he enrolled at Wabash College with the intention of going all the way through the premed program.

“Biochemistry, freshman year, ended that dream,” he said, smiling. “I changed my major (to religious studies) in a hurry.”

He said the religious studies major allowed him to take a serious look at his life.

“It helped me answer questions like, ‘Why do I believe in this faith?’ Answering those questions deepened my faith and cultivated my interest in teaching the faith to others.”

Roy grew up in a Catholic community and went to Catholic schools, so college was the first time he became friends with people of other religions.

“Having conversations with people from different faith persuasions was another way that I was deepening my own faith,” he said.

Roy credits Wabash professors such as the late Bill Placher for inspiring him and opening his mind on a variety of religious topics.

Roy also played baseball and football his first two years at Wabash College.

“Played is a pretty strong verb for my contributions,” he said, laughing. “You won’t find my name in the record books.”

He served as a student manager and assistant coach for the baseball team in his last two years there.

Taking stock...

Roy graduated from Wabash College with a religious studies degree, a deeper faith and an enlightened understanding of his future aspirations, but the competitive spirt still burned inside him.

He went back to the CBOT and worked alongside many of the people he worked with during his summer internships.

In the same way an athlete gets better as he gains more confidence and skill, Roy improved his “game” on the CBOT floor. He developed a solid career as a commodities trader and could have stayed there for a long time if it was not for that inner desire to do something more meaningful with his life.

In 2001, the same year he married his wife, Aimeé, he got a job at Peoria Notre Dame High School. He taught freshman and sophomore religious studies and coached the freshman baseball team.

“That was a special time for me. I really miss that,” he said. “Seeing the kids grow was so rewarding. And, my colleagues were great. They helped me become a better teacher and young man. I was only in my 20’s. They taught me a lot about life.”

Roy earned his master’s degree from Bradley University and served as principal at St. Mark’s for two years before being named principal at Notre Dame in 2007.

It has been a busy year for Roy as the high school embarks on a new trimester schedule, 1:1 laptop computer program, preliminary talks about major facilities improvements, etc.

“It keeps me busy,” he said. “But, the great thing is that we have such a strong group of people here — the faculty, the board, the parents and students. Everybody is on the same page.”

‘Free’ time ...

Roy and his wife have twin 8-year-old sons, Jacob and Gabriel.

He said he tries to balance his schedule so that he is home for his family.

“I like to go to the sports events and other activities at the high school,” he said. “But, I also want to have a family life when my day is over.”

In his limited free time, Roy said he enjoys reading, blogging (his blog, “Souly Catholic,” is a forum for fellow Catholic school administrators), gardening, working out and dabbling in the commodities trade.

“As you can tell by looking at me, the working out isn’t something I’m all that serious about,” he said, smiling. “I tried gardening last year, and I found it to be peaceful. I made a few mistakes, though, so I’m looking forward to my second go-around this summer. I wish I had a really interesting hobby, but I’m pretty much just an average guy.”