December 2013

'Tis The Season!

During the holidays members of the CJ community, like members of most families, look forward to sharing in special Christmas traditions, many of which are aimed at helping others.

Here are just a few examples of how students, faculty and staff are spreading the Christmas spirit this season.

Students taking second year foreign language classes supplied lots of goodies for the Language Club’s annual holiday bake sale (pictured above). Baked goods sold December 3 during all lunch periods helped raise about $400 to support families through the Hispanic Catholic Ministry. An additional $200 in Mejier gift cards were donated to families said Linda Colas, teacher and club moderator. Club members also created hand-made pinatas to give to the organization’s annual holiday party.

Key Club has generously organized the school’s Giving Tree for 13 years, said club moderator and guidance counselor Susan Eichenauer. Each year students select a different community organization to sponsor, then invite the CJ community to take an ornament off the tree and give a themed gift. Donations of children’s pajamas were collected this year to benefit Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley. About 50 pairs of pajamas had been donated between the first week of December and the last week before break, said Eichenauer, and gifts continued to come in through exam days.


Students enrolled in American Sign Language (ASL) with teacher Judi MacLeod completed a festive component of their final assessments December 13 by using what they had learned to silently perform Christmas carols for faculty and staff. Small groups of students signed the lyrics to Christmas favorites “Feliz Navidad,” “Joy to the World,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for audiences in the Welcome Center and guidance office while MacLeod provided vocals.

In addition to making signing an annual part of her exams, MacLeod is also the director of Hands in Harmony, CJ’s sign language choir. Students in grades 2-8 are invited to join the group on stage at the upcoming Winter Concert this February. Go to the Youth Programs page for more details.

The faculty tradition of adopting families in need continued this year thanks to a longstanding collaboration with Catholic Social Services’ Holiday-Help-A-Family Christmas Project. Spearheaded by Claire Davis, administrative assistant in the office of ministry and service, teachers and staff members pitched in to provide gifts, clothing and toys to children, adults and seniors in the Dayton area. Presents were delivered on December 16.

Marian Library Nativities on Display

Walk from classroom to classroom during the Advent season at CJ and you'll have the opportunity to see how people of differing worldviews visually interpret the birth of Christ.

Eight unique cultural 3-D depictions of the Nativity scene are now on display throughout areas of the CJ school building. Displays are on loan from the University of Dayton’s renowned Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute collection, which holds the largest number of artifacts devoted to Mary including nearly 3,000 Nativities.

The creative crèches (similar to miniature dioramas) show how artists from Germany, Mexico, Switzerland and different parts of the United States perceive the Holy Family on the holiest of nights.

“When I was growing up, the images I would see of the Holy Family looked like me,” said math teacher Nancy Dever. “They were light skinned and blue-eyed. When we see these Nativities from all over the world, we see how people portray the Holy Family as a part of their culture.”

As a member of CJ’s Mission Integration Team (MIT), Dever first began coordinating the Nativity displays at CJ four years ago after learning of the library’s outreach program, which loans crèches to churches, museums and civic centers all over Dayton and the midwest.

Displays at CJ include five large cases located in the Mary, Queen of Apostles Chapel; the St. Barbara Engineering Lab, room 235; and the library. Smaller displays can also be found in the guidance and development offices.

The University of Dayton’s annual exhibit of more than 200 Nativities is now on display for public viewing through Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Roesch Library (1st, 2nd and 7th floors). This year’s theme is At the Manger: And Animals Were There. For more information on UD’s exhibits, guided tours, hours of operation, directions and parking, visit

To browse photos from the Marian Library collection, go to

Now on display in the CJ Chapel, the crèche titled "Sun, Peppers, and Snow" by New Mexico artist Jil Gurule is a colorful clay depiction of the Holy Family in a traditional southwestern Native American village. This photo was re-published with permission from the Marian Library.

CJ Reveals Renovations to Gymnasium

Chaminade Julienne officially pulled back the curtain on its gymnasium renovation December 10 with a dedication ceremony before the men's varsity basketball game against Roger Bacon High School.

“Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, we have been able to outfit the gymnasium with state-of-the-art technology and an updated look-and-feel,” said Daniel J. Meixner, CJ president. “This vibrant multi-purpose space is now better equipped to accommodate our indoor athletic contests, community events, physical education classes and other daily activities.”

Enhancements include:

  • two wall-mounted 11-by-6 foot high-definition (HD) video boards. [1]
  • two scoreboards, including one with 5-player statistic panels.
  • a ceiling mounted camera at center court to record contests.
  • 11 state championship banners for each title team, 13 team championship banners and 18 team pennants representing all Greater Catholic League schools.
  • backboard lights outlining the glass on both main baskets.
  • LED overhead lighting and acoustic foam treatment on the ceiling for improved sound.
  • new aesthetic theme including updated fixtures, paint scheme and customized wall pads.

These improvements come on the heels of the school’s recent investment in extensive renovations to the second floor math and science wing now known as the CJ STEMM Center. The Center was dedicated and opened for use in August for the 2013-14 school year.

“Like our predecessors, we know that facilities must be adapted and improved over time so they can serve the needs of the current and future generation of CJ students and teachers. Our continuing efforts give renewed life to this special place so we can continue to offer the premier Catholic educational experience in the region,” Meixner said.

Construction of the campus building that contains the auditorium, cafeteria, classrooms and the gymnasium -- located at the corner of Washington and Ludlow Streets -- first began on Oct. 17, 1950 and the building was dedicated on May 25, 1952. The original bleachers were replaced in the early 1990's, but the infrastructure of the gym had remained largely unchanged until now.

Other recent athletic upgrades to campus have included the additions of Blue Green Field (opened in spring of 2010), the Student Conditioning Center (dedicated in fall of 2010), and the Eagle Tennis Center (dedicated in fall of 2011).


[1] One video board will be mounted on the south wall of the gym in time for the Dec. 10 game; the second in late January.


CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Mike Ooten

Now is the time for high school students to start applying for summer STEMM programs and this Monday’s STEMM Idol Speaker can help!

All students are invited to attend homeroom presentations in the library December 16 with guest Mike Ooten, an aerospace engineer from the WPAFB Air Force Research Laboratory. He will discuss the benefits of completing summer internships and co-ops like the Wright Scholar Research Assistant program.

The Wright Scholar program is designed to give high school upperclassmen real-world career experience in the fields of engineering and science. Students are employed full time for approximately 9 to 10 weeks during the summer and work on an assigned research project under the guidance of a mentor. There is no cost, but applicants must be high school juniors and seniors (at least 16 years of age) and hold a GPA of 3.5 or higher. All applications must be received no later than Friday, Jan. 10 at 5 p.m.

Mike Ooten is a 2009 graduate of The Ohio State University and a former Wright Scholar himself. His wife Amanda teaches science and PLTW biomedical science courses at CJ.

For more information about the Wright Scholar program and other summer STEMM opportunities, visit the "Summer Programs" and "Internships" pages at or contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator.


CJ STEMM Idol Dr. Ashley Fernandes, MD

As a professional physician and teacher who allows his Catholic faith to inform his practice, you could say that Dr. Ashley Fernandes, M.D., Ph.D, embodies the mission behind the CJ STEMM program. And on Monday, Dec. 9 he will share his philosophies on healthcare with all students during homeroom periods as a guest speaker.

Dr. Fernandes has been a faculty member of the Wright State Physicians group for seven years. His schedule includes working two days per week as a staff pediatrician treating underserved children at Rocking Horse Community Health Center in Springfield and serving three days per week as a bioethics professor and researcher in the WSU School of Medicine. Each year he also sets aside two months to take care of the very sick at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Through all of his duties in the fields of medicine and education, Dr. Fernandes brings a commitment to incorporating Catholic values, ethics and social justice. He has received numerous accolades for his outstanding work including the Award for Teaching Excellence, the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, and the Dayton Children’s Community Pediatrician of the Year Award.

The CJ STEMM Idol holds his M.D. from Ohio State University, his Ph.D. from Georgetown University and three bachelor’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Toledo. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Ohio Right to Life and the national board of the Catholic Medical Association.

Dr. Fernandes is a St. Christopher parent and volunteers as a Cub Scout Den Leader.


Veteran Brings Literary Lesson to Life

Guest speaker Tim Hrastar could have very well come straight from the pages of the novel that students in Mrs. Beth Marshall’s English classes were studying.

In fact, he served in the same military unit as the story’s main character.

Just over a week removed from Veterans Day, the U.S. Army veteran spoke with two junior English classes in hopes of “relating reality to the literature” after students finished reading Tim O’Brien’s lauded semi-autobiographical novel The Things They Carried. The book details what it was like for those who enlisted to serve the United States before, during and after the Vietnam War -- an experience that may seem surreal for high schoolers now, more than 40 years later.

“Before this lesson I had no idea about the Vietnam War,” junior Zach Burneka said. “We read a book about the war, but knowing that Mr. Hrastar was there, in the same troop as the author, and had experienced everything we read about was pretty amazing.”

Himself a graduate of Marianist institutions St. Joseph High School (now Villa Angela-St. Joseph) in Cleveland and the University of Dayton, Mr. Hrastar revealed how he was commissioned the day of his college graduation in May of 1968. He began active duty in June of that year, serving as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corp and in the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) with author Tim O’Brien.

“What [Tim] O’Brien went through and what he talks about in his books is the worst possible thing that could happen,” Mr. Hrastar told students.

His own stories recounted the personal ups and downs of his experience, including action (and inaction) in South Vietnam and the heartbreak of having to notify the next of kin back home in New York as a public information officer. Along with telling, Mr. Hrastar showed the realities of war through photographs he had taken and relics he had collected while serving on the ground as a Photo Unit Commander.

Today, Mr. Hrastar owns and operates a communications consulting firm in Springboro. He also lectures and writes about American history and cultural topics, and is active on the Board of Advisors at the University of Dayton OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute where he teaches several classes.

“It’s important that we connect the past with the present and show why this part of our country’s history still matters today,” he said.