January 2011

CJ Grad and NFL Star Gives Back

Chaminade Julienne 2001 graduate and current Baltimore Raven Brandon McKinney spoke with CJ students about life after high school and the importance of getting a college degree Monday afternoon.

The defensive tackle returned to his alma mater as part of the BJ Kids 91 Foundation’s tour visiting Dayton-area youth. The organization, founded by McKinney in 2006 and established locally in 2008, promotes social responsibility, academic enrichment, health and well being, and philanthropy amongst young people.

During the 45 minute session with students in the library, McKinney fielded questions and talked about his experiences balancing athletics and academics. He challenged students to go above and beyond expectations, and emphasized the importance of having a strong foundation of support from family and friends.

“I am moved to give back to Chaminade Julienne because the school provided me with opportunities not everyone is afforded in high school,” he said.

Laferris Wright, a CJ senior and offensive tackle for the Eagles football team in 2010, was one of about 60 students in attendance at the presentation.

"I was impressed by his work ethic," Wright said, adding he felt inspired to keep working hard as he continues on to college.

Along with his stop at CJ, McKinney also visited with students at various other locations, including the Children’s Medical Center, to deliver his message of encouragement for success both on and away from the playing field.

In addition to speaking engagements, McKinney’s foundation also organizes local events each year including the BJ Kids 91 Bike-A-Thon, the annual Barber/Stylist Cut-Off that provides students in grades K-8 with school supplies, and a football clinic hosted at the University of Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.

“This is my way of saying thank you for helping me be successful,” he said.

Seniors Show Solidarity at Former Soldier's Funeral

Five CJ seniors showed their respect and appreciation for an almost forgotten military veteran Friday, Jan. 14, by attending the former soldier’s funeral—whose family could not be identified—on the grounds of the Veteran Administration’s US Dayton National Cemetery.

Not much was known about the man who served from 1971 to 1974 and passed away at the age of 64, but when Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry and service, was contacted by funeral director Terry Deters, she realized the CJ community could do something for the deceased United States serviceman. Kinnear asked Tony Ricciuto, social studies teacher, if he wanted to take a group of students to the military honors funeral ceremony and Ricciuto obliged, choosing five seniors from his American Government class to attend the morning services.

“It is one thing to teach in class, but it’s another thing to go out and participate in something like that,” he said. Together, the six from CJ acted as pallbearers, carrying the veteran to his final resting place.  Representatives from the United States Air Force played “Taps,” performed the traditional flag-folding ceremony, and presented the flag to student April Grierson, who accepted it on behalf of the man’s relatives.

“It was sad that he didn’t have family, but I was glad we could go there to show respect for all he has done,” she said. Grierson and her classmates Breauna Peterson, Alex Boyer, Tony Bishop and LaFerris Wright returned to school with the flag, which will be displayed in Mr. Ricciuto’s classroom.

“I didn’t know this man, but he gave so much for us that this was the least we could do for him.”

Students Serve During the Holiday Season

For most people, family traditions are an important part of what makes the holiday season so special, but for some—including a number of CJ families—an important holiday tradition is making those in need feel as though they are a part of a family.

Upon learning that residents at a local nursing home rarely received visitors during the holidays, CJ sophomore Patrick Raiff decided it was his chance to make a difference. Inspired by hospital visits to see his grandmother who would ask for socks to warm her chilled feet, Patrick petitioned his parents Mike and Mary to ask friends and family to donate gifts at the annual Raiff family Christmas party for the nearly 70 forgotten seniors at the Maria-Joseph Center Nursing Home.

“It was truly something special,” said Mike, a 1979 CJ alumnus. About 40 to 50 families filled gift baskets with socks, robes, blankets, slippers, and lotion. The Raiff’s wrapped the donated presents and, along with a group of fellow members of the CJ community, delivered them on December 23. 

“As we walked down the halls we sang Christmas carols,” freshman Lyle Plummer explained. The group spent about an hour meeting and visiting with residents.

“I’m used to always getting something, but it is a whole different feeling giving something to someone else and seeing the joy in their face.”

Freshman classmate Matt Dudon said he was touched by the overwhelming response the group received for what he considered to be a small gesture of kindness.

“I’d want someone to visit me if I were in a retirement community,” Patrick said of his motivation to help others. Although noted on their report cards, the hours did not count towards the students’ first semester service requirement.

The requirements are part of religion classes and challenge students to complete a different service component at each grade level. Freshman must complete one hour per semester, sophomores must complete 100 minutes per quarter, juniors must complete 25 hours throughout the school year, and seniors participate in a class-wide service project.

During the first semester of the 2010-11 school year, students volunteered 6,833 hours of community service. In addition, in honor of the school’s 160/125 Anniversary Celebration, the CJ community has dedicated nearly 700 service hours.

CJ Community Writing Center

The CJ Community Writing Center opened its doors mid-January to assist, collaborate and motivate student and adult writers of all skill levels with whatever writing task is at hand. English teachers eager to engage writers outside the classroom with an extra helping of support and tutelage are making themselves available so that others can gain confidence in and appreciation for the art of writing.

Implemented by teacher Greg Mueller and fellow members of the English department, the center—located in room 126—is open daily for drop-in visits during school hours as well as Wednesdays after school from 3 to 4 p.m.

“It’s been a passion of mine for a while and we’ve talked about it within the department since last school year,” said Mueller. He encourages students to use the space as a safe environment to build confidence and hone their writing skills.

“This is a place for student-writers to come and have a conversation about improving their writing.”

Tutors will serve students of all levels looking for guidance on writing assignments across all subjects at every step of the process including discovery, prewriting, outlining, drafting and revision. In addition, the Writing Center opens new avenues for dialogue amongst teachers by also providing faculty and staff members help with everything from constructing assignments and creating rubrics to writing letters of recommendation and submitting grants.

A member of the Writing Center staff, English teacher Erin Ketch knows a thing or two about writing, and winning, grants. In November she applied for the Gerald L. Turner Educational Endowment, a $1,000 grant sponsored by the Dayton Foundation. The grant was awarded to CJ in January, and funds have gone towards furnishing room 126 as well as purchasing writing materials, desk equipment and decor.  

The Turner Educational Endowment, according to daytonfoundation.org, was established in 2005 and “provides grants to English teachers at designated high schools for supplies and program expenses not otherwise provided for in their school budget.” In her six years at the school, Ketch has won the grant twice for CJ students.

“It is important to us that students have a writing center they feel welcomed to come to,” she said. “If we can make it somewhere they want to be, they’ll be more likely to stop in.”

Although students are encouraged to take advantage of everything the center offers, Mueller warns it will not be a “fix-it shop” for editing and proofreading, but rather a place to foster continued learning through discussion and collaboration.

“Don’t be shy,” he advised students. “We’re here to help.”

STEMM Idol Speaker and the Sim Man

Students crowded around the lifeless body lying on the basement floor in room 035 Monday, Jan. 10, and watched as Matt Engel ’11, and Rebecca Coe ’11, sprang to action. The pair assessed the situation, called for help and assisted Emergency Medical personnel in reviving the victim known as Sim Man during a fully interactive demonstration at this month’s CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

Sim Man, a high-fidelity, computer-controlled patient simulator, was the main attraction as Drs. Stacey (Brand) Poznanski, ’97, and Ray Ten Eyck presented to about 90 students during all four homeroom periods. Those in attendance took turns in groups working hands-on to resuscitate the life-like dummy, whose functions—including breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and more—are all monitored electronically and can be pre-determined using specialized software.

“We have to create an environment that’s as real as possible without actually creating an emergency or stopping someone’s heart,” Poznaski told students.  The CJ graduate is currently an Academic Fellow in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wright State University where adult, child and baby patient simulators are used in the classroom to train medical students in the school’s Center for Immersive Medical Education and Research (CIMER).

“We try to represent the series of events that you’ll see in real life with a real person experiencing trauma,” Ten Eyck added. Simulation technicians Jeff Adams and Dave Cherolis showed how Sim Man can react either positively or negatively to the care it receives depending upon the manner and timeliness in which that care is administered. Everything from defibrillators and chest compressions to IV’s and bag valve masks can be used effectively during a simulated training session.

“I enjoyed being part of the demonstration,” Coe said after volunteering to participate with her senior classmate. “The Sim Man was really interactive, but I liked how you got to see the Emergency Medical guys react.”

“It was amazing to see how technology can be applied to make the situation so real,” Engel added. After graduation, both plan to attend Ohio colleges and study pre-med.

Feature Team of the Week

Members of the CJ men's and women's swim teams are used to working with one another; they practice together, they take their team photo together, and they compete together at every meet preceding the postseason, so sharing the title of Feature Team of the Week seemed only natural.

“We always practice together,” senior captain Katheryne Austin said. “We don’t do much separately so we’re basically one team.”

Stepping into leading roles this year, Austin along with co-captain Adrianne Marx, ’12, and men’s captain Cody Burke, ’11, have been fostering that togetherness this season by continuing to keep the program’s rich traditions an integral part of what it means to be an Eagles swimmer.

“We pray before and after each practice, and we have a team cheer after warm-ups at our meets,” Burke said. “It’s just something to get us pumped up, and we get pretty loud.” 

As a team, the Eagles hope to make some noise in their feature match against Northmont High School at Kleptz YMCA Saturday, Jan. 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m. With just six senior swimmers between them (pictured below), the two programs have been gaining valuable experience this year in preparation for the last three meets of the regular season, including the Coaches Classic next weekend at Beavercreek YMCA—a two-day event.

“Last year we got to districts so we at least want to get back to districts again,” Burke said of his team’s goals. The camaraderie between Eagles swimmers was evident in the encouragement he offered his fellow teammates as both teams look ahead to competing singly at sectionals in February.

“The girls have a good team, and I think they could be able to get to state if they keep working hard.”

January Member of the Month

As part of Chaminade Julienne's 160/125 Anniversary Celebration, the school is recognizing alumni, faculty/staff members, current students and friends of CJ on a monthly basis. Recipients of the Member of the Month award are true models of the CJ mission who represent the charisms of the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Congratulations to the following winners for the month of January:

Student: Jay Bryant '12
Faculty/Staff: Linda Colas
Alumni/Friend: Debbie Heck

Jay Bryant '12
If  something is taking place at CJ, chances are Jay Bryant is going to be involved, so it was only fitting for the junior to be the first student-recipient of the Member of the Month award in 2011.

As an Eagle, he has volunteered his time in a number of ways: for each of his three years, Bryant has served as the Student Council Class President; during the last two years, he has participated in the Eagle Ambassadors program; he is active in the performing arts department, playing in the band, pep band, and liturgical choir; and, in the spring, Bryant organizes a CJ Relay for Life team.

“It's a great feeling to be the first student recognized for this award,” he said. “I am so grateful for CJ offering many different opportunities for me to get involved. I absolutely love everything that I do, and it is my pleasure and honor to represent the school.”

Linda Colas
Teacher Linda Colas has been serving CJ for 27 years in the foreign language department teaching Spanish and Latin. She is currently the moderator for both the Language Club and the Spanish Trip, but going over and beyond is natural for the veteran faculty member.

“I feel very honored because I don’t think of what I do as being especially extraordinary.  It is just part of who I am, who we are, and what we do,” Colas said of the school and her fellow CJ coworkers. “You never expect to be honored for something you do all the time.”

Debbie Heck
Despite having never attended CJ or one of its predecessor schools, longtime Eagles supporter Debbie Heck said she “bleeds blue and green” for the community that has been so influential to her family.

Her husband, Tom Heck, is a 1970 graduate of Chaminade High School, and sons Chris and Andy each graduated from CJ in 2001 and 2009 respectively. During her time as a CJ parent, Heck was a dedicated member of the Blue Green Club, and today is still recognized for some of the wonderful traditions she implemented, including the addition of the Red Carpet at prom.

“This is such a thrill for me because I love CJ so much,” Heck said, adding she was both honored and surprised to be named Member of the Month. “It has been wonderful to meet so many students, members of the faculty, and families, and to have them as lifelong friends.”

CJ Lands Lacrosse

What started last spring with a child's passion for a unique new sport suddenly turned into a mom's desire to give her son the opportunity to wear his school's jersey while playing the game he loved. Four months later, thousands of dollars worth of donated lacrosse equipment was scheduled to arrive at Chaminade Julienne High School’s doorstep and the birth of two teams for both boys and girls living in the Greater Dayton area was complete—but that’s only the beginning.

Although it may seem like a fairytale, bringing one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States to CJ was no easy task for parent and alumna Mary Reis, ’77. Her son Ben, a freshman, recently began playing for the Dayton Lacrosse Club; one of just a handful of options for lacrosse players living in the northern areas of the Miami Valley.

Reis decided it was time to make the sport more accessible to CJ students and area youth, so, with the blessing of the school's administration, she applied for the 2010 US Lacrosse Equipment Grant. According to Meghan Mulford, sport development associate with US Lacrosse (USL), the grants are awarded annually to selected teams within their first year of operation based on demonstrated financial need with preference given to those located in a developing lacrosse area. In 2010, 100 lacrosse organizations in 31 states received various USL grants; however, only 27 received the full program grant which provides the necessary gear to field two teams.

“I found there was an equipment grant available through US Lacrosse, which is the national umbrella organization for all lacrosse, and it provided complete equipment for men’s and women’s teams, so we applied and we won,” Reis said.

Lacrosse is one of the oldest North American games and originates from variations of stickball played by Native American tribes to settle disputes and prepare for war, among other things. Today, considered “the fastest sport on two feet,” lacrosse combines aspects of other sports including soccer, basketball, and hockey, and is played both indoors and outdoors. 

“The fundamental concepts of men’s and women’s lacrosse are the same—players try to score goals by using a stick, which features a plastic or wooden head with netting at the end, to shoot a ball into the goal,” according to uslacrosse.org. “There are various rules differences between men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s lacrosse, which allows body contact, utilizes more protective equipment.”

For the Eagles boys’ team, the grant includes 20 field player sticks and full protective equipment for 20 players, consisting of gloves, arm guards, shoulder pads and helmets. The girls’ team received 20 field player sticks and 20 eye masks. Each team gets one full set of goalie pads and one goalie stick.

“It is traditionally a pretty expensive sport to play so this takes out the equipment cost for the kids,” Reis said. To purchase all the necessary equipment, a male player can typically expect to spend upwards of $300, with equipment for a female costing around $150 she added.

“This is opening up a spring sports club to an awful lot of kids that aren’t playing a spring sport,” Reis commented. In addition to the roughly 90 CJ students who attended an informational meeting in May 2010, Eagles lacrosse will be open to any high school student whose school does not already offer the sport due the program’s "club" designation.

The teams will begin play in March, and lacrosse has a chance to become one of the few outdoor sports to ever operate entirely on campus with the utilization of Blue Green Field for both practice and home games a possibility. Training began during the winter on the turf of the new Student Conditioning Center and, in preparation for the 2011 season, Reis has arranged for each team to work out with members of UD’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The Eagles lacrosse club will compete in the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association’s Southwest Club division, which includes teams from high schools such as Springboro, Lebanon, and Alter.

In conjunction with the Miami Valley School, CJ will also host a two-day faceoff clinic featuring Major League Lacrosse player Chris Eck in the Student Conditioning Center for players of all ages.  The clinic is just one of many activities Reis hopes will get the community involved with, and introduced to, lacrosse.

“We do have plans this summer to have a lacrosse youth camp as part of the CJ youth camp program, and that is the great thing about this equipment grant,” she said. “Kids can come to our camp, use our equipment, and not have to put out $300-500 just to see if they like the sport.

“My goal is that when people think Dayton; Catholic education; and lacrosse, they think CJ.”