January 2010

Catholic School's Week Project

Catholic School's Week at CJ will be spent focusing on the life and mission of Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN. In continuing her work to give voice to the voiceless, students will learn how they will be able to provide educations for two girls living in one of the poorest regions of Belize.

As told by two students, Annie Stoddard and Lauren Porter who attended CJ's mission trip to Belize last summer: This past summer a group of students spent a week outside of Punta Gorda, Belize in a small village called Cuhxlin Ha. Each morning we woke up early to travel down the rocky dirt roads to a school in Conejo, about a 40-minute drive. Most schools in rural Belize, like the one we visited, don’t look anything like schools here in America. The school houses are small cement buildings, consisting of one or two rooms. All grades, k-8, are confined into this one building. Not only is the space limited, but they also lack essential materials such as books and paper.

Most of the children have to travel many miles from their thatched roof homes in the heart of the tropical forests just to get to school. CJ has decided to sponsor two young girls, Senida and Reah, by helping to pay for their high school education in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty bestowed upon most Belizean women. If parents would like to contribute to our cause, they can send in donations to key club.

Senida Bo is a 14 year old girl that lives in Cuhxlin Ha. She has two brothers who attend school. She is very smart and speaks four languages. However, she was unable to go to school last year because her family could not afford to pay the fees ($500) and fears that she will follow in the footsteps of her mother who married at the age of 14 and had a baby, which is usual for girls her age that don’t attend school. Her mother very much wants her to go to school and earn a high school education.

Reah Coc also lives in Cuhxlin Ha and also has two brothers who attend school. She has great responsibilities of house chores and taking care of her siblings because her father could not find a local job so he works hours away from home. He leaves home for ten days straight to work then he returns home for only four days before he leaves again for work. She is a very good student and takes extra classes on Saturdays so she can pass the high school placement test.

We believe with the help and support of the CJ community, we will be able to help sponsor high school educations for both of these girls and help liberate them from a lifetime of certain poverty and oppression. We believe that we can be the change for these two girls and set their lives on a new course.

CJ STEMM Transitions

In order to best prepare students for high school level math and science courses, grade students need to have a solid foundation and be proficient with basic skills, such as mental math, multiplication facts, and fractions. To be successful in science courses, these students should have multiple hands-on inquiry lab sessions, including extensive microscope use. A student’s ability to use various computer technology and software applications, specifically Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, is integral to success in all high school coursework. CJ’s freshman Computer Skills Competency requirement tests and ensures that ability.

In mid-January, Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, J.P. Gregory, admissions coordinator, Charlene Wheeler, guidance director and faculty members of CJ's science and math department hosted 16 math and science teachers from nine area Catholic elementary schools for informational networking session designed to inform them about the academic level options at CJ and the school's math and science course sequences. Participants learned about the preparedness of incoming ninth grade students to CJ and the criteria for placing students in the Advanced Placement and Honors, College Prep, and General levels and about the relevance of standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, and past performance.

Draeger shared numerous teaching resources available from national organizations, and suggested teachers also tap local providers such as the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Educational Outreach Office, and the Dayton Regional STEM Center. Opportunities for CJ current and prospective students, and resources for educators, can be found on the CJ STEMM Web site.

January CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series

  • Clinical Lab Sciences Superheroes
  • Dr. Cheryl Conley, WSU (above), and
  • Rosalie Koesel, Kettering Medical Center—chemistry hematology, immunology and microbiology, were January's CJ STEMM Idol guest speakers. They gave students a peek into the career of Clinical lab scientists who perform accurate and timely testing to assist physicians in patient diagnosis and treatment and help monitor and prevent disease.

Archbishop Visits CJ

As a kick-off to the school's celebration of Catholic Schools Week, Chaminade Julienne welcomed Cincinnati Archbishop Schnurr to campus on Wednesday, January 27 to celebrate Mass with faculty and staff members, visit a few classrooms and join an open discussion with students involved with the peer ministry group, FLIGHT (Faith Leaders In God’s Hands Today).

He called on students to take what they learn at CJ and carry it out to others beyond the school's four walls... to be light in our world to others. After spending time with members of FLIGHT and learning more about the students' dedication to service, he said that it was evident that CJ students are already learning and living out this mission.

“When Archbishop Schnurr first arrived in Cincinnati, we asked him to consider visiting CJ to meet our teachers and students,” said Daniel Meixner, CJ president. “I am grateful that he chose this opportunity to join us, lead us in liturgy, and to see first-hand what makes CJ truly special among all Catholic schools.”

In addition to the Archbishop’s visit, CJ students will spend Catholic Schools Week focusing on the life and mission of Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, a missionary who was murdered on February 12, 2005 for her pursuit of social justice for the poor farmers of Brazil. Students will learn how Sister Stang’s decision to follow God’s call remains a bright and meaningful example of servant leadership in their lives today.

CJ Performing Arts Takes Center Stage

The Chaminade Julienne Performing Arts Department has taken on a new look this year with many new faces and talents comprising its cast. One of the department’s several new members is artistic advisor, Natalie Houliston. “It’s been a privilege to work with students and teachers in a variety of capacities,” she announced from the stage of this year’s fall play—Neil Simon’s “Fools.” “I appreciate everyone’s help and support as we blaze a new trail for the arts at CJ.”

Houliston joins Debi Schutt, CJ music veteran, and newly appointed director of bands and choir in the department’s revitalization effort. John Marshall, CJ principal, hired Houliston to direct the fall play and spring musical and help plan and implement programs that would create excitement and increase participation in the performing arts. Her work includes providing vocal lessons, movement workshops and practicing scene work.

“Natalie’s work is cross-curricular and provides ready-made resources to teachers in several departments,” Marshall said. “She’s building connections and opportunities for our students in and outside of the building.”

“This year has brought a time of transition and change to performing arts at CJ,” said Schutt. “The change is bringing renewed energy and a focused effort to improve many aspects of the department—and auditorium. A greater effort is also being made to increase appearances of CJ ensembles in the community.”

Along with Houliston, others who play vital supporting roles in the department include Judi MacLeod, Cuvilly director, who directs the liturgical choir; Karen Rinn, an English teacher hired this fall who instructs theater; Chris Johnson, a University of Dayton graduate who serves as school band director at Holy Angels; Anthony Houston, a Junior Music Education Major at the University of Dayton who serves as a percussion instructor; and Tami Whalen, piano accompanist for the choir.

“Everyone is excited about the prospects of taking performing arts to a new level,” Schutt said. “The amount of commitment and talent in this team is sure to energize our students and community and attract students who seek to excel in music and theater in high school and in college.”

CJ Science Teacher Returns to Grade School Alma Mater

Honors chemistry students stepped into teacher’s shoes for a day as they performed lab experiments with eighth grade classes at Incarnation School in Centerville. The day’s lesson plan included teaching interactively about factors that affect chemical reactions rates: temperature, concentration, surface area, and catalysts. 

“The 8th graders got great hands-on lab experience and also learned about high school and honors classes,” said Amanda Reeber, CJ science teacher. “CJ students really enjoyed the experience and want to teach again another grade school.”

Reeber enjoyed the opportunity to travel to her grade school alma mater and introduce her students to her former science teacher, Linda Bruns. Bruns said she appreciated the enthusiasm and encouragement that CJ students showed the 8th graders concerning the science topic as well as “the insights they provided about high school life. “It was a great experience.”

Other Visits Scheduled for This Month

  • Latin 3 and 4 students to visit Mary Queen of Peace
  • Creative writing students to conduct writing workshops with junior high students

CJ Expands Campus

Chaminade Julienne's downtown footprint is growing a size larger as the school’s campus expands north to include a new student conditioning center scheduled to open this summer. The $1.1 million renovation project will result in CJ’s first new building in 25 years transforming a warehouse currently located on Eaker Street into an indoor physical activity center for students and athletes.

In addition to an expanded weight room, the 25,000 square foot building will house an outdoor sport training area floored with synthetic turf, an indoor multi-sport area suited for volleyball, basketball and tennis conditioning, and a wrestling venue.

“We expect that the center will be one of the best such facilities in our boys and girls athletic leagues, and will rival those in some small colleges,” said Mike Raiff, CJ athletic director. “Our coaches, students, gym teachers, and athletic trainers are very excited about the possibilities.”

“The addition of a student conditioning center is the most visible step we have made toward realizing our Campus Master Plan,” said Daniel J. Meixner, CJ president. “This is an important investment in our goal of creating a comprehensive downtown campus that will serve the needs of all of our students, attract new families to the CJ community, and improve, in a small way, the south end of downtown, which has been our home since 1886.”

In the last ten years, CJ has acquired six nearby parcels of land and, last fall, made several improvements including the opening of Blue and Green Field on the site of the former DP&L steam plant (adjacent to the new student conditioning center), and the closing of portions of Perry and Franklin Streets which had cut through campus. “We have been blessed with great support from our alumni, parents, and the Dayton community in this effort,” said Meixner, highlighting the gift of the steam plant from Dayton Power and Light in 2005 as one of the critical successes of the campus development effort.

The new center will replace the converted bus garage on Perry Street currently being used for student conditioning. That building is slated to be demolished for the extension of Blue and Green Field opening up possibilities for a soccer and football stadium in the future, according to Meixner.

Financing for the student conditioning center project was approved by the school’s Board of Trustees in November following a year of analysis of students’ needs; consideration of the financing arrangement; and efforts of many volunteers who helped the school’s leadership plan the project. The project will be funded initially by financial commitments from several alumni and current and former parents, and through the support of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame Committee and parent organization, Blue Green Club.

With financing approved in November, the school interviewed several architectural firms and chose Brown & Bills Architects as the design-build firm for the project. The firm delivered an initial design to administrators, coaches and Board members to review in December and plans to begin renovation work in February. The center’s doors are scheduled to open this summer.

“This can impact the health of all of our students, the performance of our athletes, and the competitiveness of our teams,” said Raiff. “More importantly, the expansion of our fields and facilities means that more students will remain on campus for after-school practices and will be arriving home sooner with more time for study and family activities.”