January 2014

CJ Announces $20 Million LIFT Initiative

During a one-of-a-kind celebration held Thursday evening during Catholic Schools Week, Chaminade Julienne revealed its $20 million comprehensive campaign, LIFT— Leading in Faith Today, and announced that 67 percent of the goal had already been met.

“LIFT continues our recent momentum at CJ, leading us to always ask ‘What’s next?’ for our students and community,'" said Dan Meixner, president. “Our ability to celebrate this milestone, and publicly share the full scope of our priorities, is due to the generosity of more than 70 families, alumni, friends, mission partners and seven foundations who are truly Leading In Faith Today. They believe in what we are accomplishing for students and their leadership commitment has given us an outstanding start to this effort.

“We are encouraged by their support, which has already generated nearly $13.4 million towards that goal, and reaching this milestone calls for celebration. The active involvement of our benefactors in bringing to life such things as the CJ STEMM Center, athletic facilities, and student and teacher support programs will inspire many others to play a critical role in the success of LIFT. And, as you heard this evening, there is still more to do.”

According to the school’s plan, the largest investment goal of LIFT is $10 million to fund capital improvements. The opening of the Eagle Tennis Center in fall 2011 was a direct result of early funding, and the CJ STEMM Center, which opened in August 2013, is indicative of the kind of transformation the school envisions for the entire building at 505 S. Ludlow St.

“Capital improvements are the most critical next phase for LIFT, and represent very tangible incentives for the financial support that we believe will come to fruition through the support of the broader CJ community,” Meixner said.

Additional LIFT capital improvements the school expects to be complete within the next three to four years include:

  • modernizing the school’s 745 seat auditorium and adding rehearsal spaces for the growing performing arts program;
  • redesigning the cafeteria to also function as a student and community gathering space;
  • the addition of gateways and landmarks that will unify the campus and more clearly identify the school’s Catholic, Marianist and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur heritage;
  • the further development of Blue Green Field into a competition venue for soccer and lacrosse;
  • modernizing buildings and heating and cooling systems allowing for year-round learning; and
  • renovating classrooms into bright learning spaces that match today’s innovative style of teaching.

“We are working with Shook Construction and Pinnacle Architects, our planning and construction team, to break each of the larger projects down to subsets of smaller projects that can be funded and accomplished sooner. This steady and constant transformation will allow us to manage projects around student use of the facility and will be exciting for our community, since each project completed will represent increased opportunities for our students,” Meixner said.

The school’s initial goal of $1 million to fund strategic program development and implementation was met early on which elevated student success programs like CJ STEMM and City Connects to premier levels in the region and nation. More than half of the $3 million goal for the school’s endowment has already been committed and fortifies the school’s financial viability. Early success of LIFT also includes the goal of increasing the Annual Fund over five years to raise $6 million in support of annual operations and tuition assistance — a priority that has been generously answered over the last three years, giving the school confidence that the increased levels of participation will continue over the next two.

The endowment growth component of LIFT supports teacher development, tuition assistance and the school’s comprehensive ministry and service program. The goal is to continue to attract and develop excellent teachers, help ensure a wide diversity of talented students, and allow even more students to participate in class retreats and service learning opportunities.

“Part of the initial strategic program investment was in supporting a culture of innovation among our teachers,” Meixner said. “Out of that was born several student success programs and student support programs that allow students to sharpen skills and take fuller advantage of our rigorous academic program,” Meixner said.

For example, CJ’s partnership with Boston College and the Mathile Family Foundation led to the implementation of City Connects at CJ, an optimized student support program that addresses the social and emotional needs of all students. The school attributes the program as a key factor in the school’s improved retention rate, and CJ leadership now plays a lead role in helping other schools adapt the model.

Academic offerings have strengthened, too. Through partnership with the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College students can earn college credit while taking CJ courses. The same applies to nearly 25 percent of the school’s students who have chosen to enroll in Project Lead the Way biomedical and engineering courses. Other skill-building programs include the CJ Writing Center and Connected Classroom which integrates technology into all facets of learning.

One of the school’s newest programs, Senior Capstone, is a way for students to connect faith, meaning and advocacy to affect change in issues about which they have become passionate. After spending junior year volunteering at a community organization for a minimum of 25 hours, students take the next step by researching an issue and then influencing others to become part of the solution.

“Chaminade Julienne does so much to bring out its Catholic mission in the lives of its students, which is reflected in how students interact with each other and those outside of the school,” said Brother Ray Fitz, S.M., Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice at the University of Dayton, Chaminade Julienne Trustee, and one of the honorary chairpersons for LIFT.

“The CJ community brings together students, families, faculty, administrators, Trustees and graduates from all part of the greater Dayton community. As we continue to build a community which honors the many gifts of the diverse people, and build cohesion around the task of providing excellent educational opportunities, we are a prophetic witness — a beacon of hope — to what our greater Dayton community can be.”

The school has experienced increased enrollment over the last three years which is attributed to the increased academic offerings, student support services, new CJ STEMM facilities that allow full implementation of science and engineering curriculum, and commitment to diversity.

“This is an inspired community and we want to share that with families who need to know that we are here to serve them,” said Pete Haley, CJ Trustee and chair of LIFT. “The completion of this effort will help firmly establish Chaminade Julienne as the premier Catholic educational experience in the Dayton region.”

“Through these investments,” Meixner continued, “we know that more students will have access to elevated opportunities and college-level experiences that will help them be successful at CJ, prepared to complete college, and live a faithful and inspired life serving God’s people, as He calls them to do.”

LIFT - Leading in Faith Today


CJ Joins Catholic Library Consortium

In the spirit of Catholic Schools Week, CJ is proud to announce its partnership with the Dayton Deanery Libraries Consortium.

The Dayton Deanery Libraries Consortium consists of a coalition of six local grade schools and two area high schools. The group was formed by eight librarians from each school for the 2013-14 school year to promote collaboration and help better meet the needs of students.

"Our goal is to have one centralized library system and to bring other Catholic schools together to share resources and knowledge," said Gina Harrington, director of library services at CJ. The system uses Follet Software to enable students to access and search all of the school's Web-based databases, catalogs and research services.

The consortium's aim is to reduce duplication of services, help students transition from elementary to high school through their familiarity with common resources, and support teachers by better integrating the kinds of critical thinking and literacy skills found within the Common Core Standards.

Fellow member schools include Ascension, Incarnation, Mother Brunner, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Christopher, St. Helen and Alter High School.

Also new to the library this year is the addition of a mobile Chromebook Lab for students and teachers. The lab includes 28 Google Chromebook laptop computers which help accommodate mixed-grade classes. The devices supplement desktop computers available in the Library and Writing Labs, and also provide extra opportunities for students working before or after school in the Eagles Learning Center.


City Sends Thanks to Softball Volunteers

The CJ softball team is gaining a reputation around town for their charitable spirit and commitment to community service.

In early December, the team once again volunteered to serve children and families at the City of Moraine's Pancakes with Prancer holiday breakfast. Teammates have worked the event, which supports the city's Christmas Smiles gift-giving program, each year since its inception in 2009.

"Thank you and your team for participating in our fundraising event Pancakes with Prancer. I am delighted that your team participated in this program," reads a thank you note from the city manager's office.

"Our fifth Christmas Smiles was a success! We granted 'Smiles' for 152 families which included 357 children by providing gifts and canned goods. We raised enough money to purchase a ham for each family for their Christmas dinner," the note continues.

Head coach Dee Werbrich said her team is always invited back to volunteer and the girls always gladly fulfill the request to give back in a fun way.

"We have, in the past, helped with putting the gift and food boxes together, wrapped gifts, and have always worked the craft tables at the Pancakes with Prancer," Werberich said. "My girls look forward to this event every year!"

In October, the girls also volunteered to assist with training drills for the Moraine Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.).


National Catholic Schools Week 2014

The 2013-14 school year marks the 40th celebration of National Catholic Schools Week, which is being observed Sunday, Jan. 26 through Saturday, Feb. 1. This year's theme is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service.

You are invited to follow along as we mark the celebration at CJ with activities, prayer, reflections, trivia, a donation drive, a Catholic t-shirt day and an all-school Mass.

Daily Activities
Each day will begin with a morning trivia contest question. Special personal reflections will also be read over the morning announcements by a teacher, staff member or student following the day’s question. Contest winners will be announced during afternoon announcements.

Additionally, all first period classes will be given the name of a local Dayton Catholic school to pray for each day.

And throughout the week, CJ will collect donations for Rebuilding Together Dayton, a local nonprofit organization that provides free home repairs to low-income, elderly and/or disabled homeowners living in the City of Dayton and Montgomery County. Please consider donating any of the following items:

  • Window/glass cleaner
  • Multi purpose cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleaner/toilet bowl brush
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Bath tub and tile cleaner

Calendar Activities
Again this year, Catholic Schools Week will kick off with a special Unity Prayer on Monday, Jan. 27. Students, faculty and staff at CJ, Alter, Carroll and Fenwick will recite the same afternoon prayer together at 3 p.m. in the hallways of each respective school.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, everyone is encouraged to wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt (with uniformed-approved bottoms) representing their favorite Catholic school. Apparel can be from a Catholic grade school, CJ, or a Catholic college.

An all-school Liturgy at Emmanuel Catholic Church is planned for Wednesday, Jan. 29. Mass begins at approximately 10 a.m. and all members of the CJ community are invited to join us. In addition, a small group of students will serve as representatives from CJ at an area-wide all Catholic Schools Mass hosted Wednesday at Immaculate Conception. A special appreciation luncheon for faculty, staff and administration will also be hosted at CJ that day by a group of current parents.

Finally on Friday, Jan. 31, we will come together as a whole school to celebrate our student’s achievements during an afternoon winter pep rally in the newly dedicated Mary, Our Lady of Victory gymnasium.

Eagles Brave Cold at 41st Annual March

Nearly 40 Chaminade Julienne students and chaperones braved the snow, ice and bitter cold temperatures to be among thousands of fellow pro-life supporters -- and several other groups from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati -- at the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Again this year, Eagles fittingly joined with a group of Patriots from Carroll High School to make the journey to our nation’s capital and share in the advocacy experience. But before departing Dayton, students were given a special blessing by Fr. Chris Worland and the parishioners of Ascension Church (pictured above).

Altogether approximately 70 high school students and chaperones attended the 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Jan. 19 as the first activity of their journey together to be a "Voice for the Voiceless." The group returned safely at 3 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23.

View photos from the 2014 March for Life trip below. Photos were provided courtesy of March for Life participants Francesca Weizman, Sarah Mason, Kate Schultz, Maureen Zopff, Victoria Metallinos, Faith White, Adebukunola Arowosegbe, Ayreon Wilkinson and parents Tom Zopff and Tina Wagoner.  

2014 March for Life
January 19-22

Students Perform at Downtown Events

Chaminade Julienne performing arts students lent their talents to the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service at Courthouse Square on December 20. The vigil, sponsored locally by the Emergency Housing Coalition, was part of a national event held annually to remember the homeless who have lost their lives as well as raise awareness about homelessness in the community. It’s an issue that students are well aware as they participate in Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week each year in November.

“It’s a great fit, because it’s right in there with CJ’s mission, vision and focus on social justice,” said Kathleen Shanahan, program coordinator for Montgomery County Housing and Homeless Solutions. Shanahan’s daughter, Cassidy Aughe ’15, is a member of the Vega a cappella group and was one 20 performing arts students who participated in the vigil.

A total of 28 Dayton area homeless people were honored at the event. “That number goes up or down a little each year but, no matter what, it’s still too many,” Shanahan said.

This story was first published in the Winter 2014 issue of Vision, CJ's alumni magazine.

Eagles Perform National Anthem 

PICTURED (L to R): CJ performing arts students David Marshall '15, Kaylee Piatt '14 and Addi Helms '15 meet Dayton Mayor-elect Nan Whaley at the Celebrate Dayton! The Next 100 Years event hosted at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center on January 5. The Eagles trio was picked to perform the National Anthem.

Writers Get Creative at Grade Schools

Seniors at Chaminade Julienne spent the school day January 8 showing elementary students at two area Catholic schools that it is never too early to start honing their writing skills.

Ten students taking Mr. Jim Brooks’ fourth year Creative Writing class volunteered to become the teachers during field trips to St. Anthony in Dayton and St. Albert the Great in Kettering. At each school students engaged children in grades 1-3 and 7-8 in writing poetry and stories, Mr. Brooks said.

“It was fun seeing the little kids’ eyes light up when we asked them what they wanted to write about,” said senior Bobby Krupa (pictured above), a graduate of Our Lady of the Rosary. “The day was a really great experience for the students and for me considering I’d like to pursue music education in college.”

Seniors were assigned a small group of grade schoolers to work with in each classroom. After posing a few fun writing prompts, leaders read illustrated children's’ stories aloud to the younger students and shared their own creative writing pieces with older students in a large group.

Fellow English classmate Leighanne Schwab, a graduate of St. Christopher, doesn’t plan to pursue a career in education, but said she has a knack for teaching and enjoyed working with the younger children. She recommends all students take a creative writing course at some point in their years of schooling no matter their plans for the future.

“You’ll use writing at all times throughout the course of your entire life, whether it is for work or school or just for fun, so why not get better,” she said.

Creative Writing at CJ is a single semester course open to seniors through an application process.

Congratulations to three English students who were recognized for their submissions in two area writing contests earlier this school year.

Senior Miranda Fryman took first place in the 16th annual Dayton Metro Library Poetry Contest for her poem titled "Fleetwood Drive." She received a $100 prize at the library’s Poetry Party on November. 10. Learn more and read Miranda's winning entry online at www.dayton.lib.oh.us.

Freshmen Bella Peters and Jacob Troutwine were each recognized for their essays submitted in the 13th annual Families Matter contest. The pair of Eagles took two of three top places in the high school category. A total of 20 student winners were recognized at a special November 23 banquet emceed by WDTN anchor Marsha Bonhart. View event photos and learn more at www.fsadayton.org.


MIT Women's Initiative Workshops at CJ

High school and elementary girls at six area Catholic schools have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the field of engineering thanks to a national STEM youth outreach program brought specially to the Miami Valley by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) School of Engineering.

The MIT Women's Initiative is a unique program designed to inspire young women in grades 6-12 with the confidence to pursue college and career opportunities in STEM fields. Following an application process, Chaminade Julienne and grade schools St. Albert the Great, St. Christopher, St. Luke, Bishop Leibold and Mother Brunner were exclusively selected to host workshops during the week of January 13-17.

Girls work with MIT students (video)

Only 8-10 regions across the country are selected to host week-long presentations each year according to the program's director Brittany Thomas. "We felt Dayton, Ohio offered a diverse student body for us to interact with, as well as strong STEM programs that could help kids realize their goals of pursuing science," she said, citing CJ's involvement with Project Lead the Way and the partner schools' strong STEM offerings on the whole as key factors in the selection.

At CJ, more than 300 girls participated in 90-minute workshops in the new CJ STEMM Center engineering lab (St. Barbara, Room 235) all day Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 14-15. Altogether more than 600 students in the Dayton area are taking part in fun and engaging engineering activities throughout the week.

The purpose of the MIT Women's Initiative is to dispel common misconceptions and stereotypes that have contributed to the disparity that exists between men and women in engineering. To help accomplish this goal, visits are led by MIT women currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees across different engineering disciplines.

Workshops at all six schools were led by MIT students Mary Breton, a senior from New Jersey studying materials science and engineering; and Samantha Harper, a sophomore from Los Angeles studying civil and environmental engineering and international development.

"A lot of girls told us they liked the activity and that they had fun," said Samantha. Each workshop began with a large group presentation followed by break out sessions where girls worked in small teams to solve a challenge involving lasers and the reflective properties of materials.

The undergrads said they were both pleased with the students' inquisitiveness, and they left the girls with a few words of advice. "Keep asking questions, never be afraid to speak up and always keep an open mind."

MIT students Samantha and Mary enjoyed a homestay with Brenda and Tony Ricciuto during their week-long trip to Dayton. Brenda is a science teacher at Mother Brunner School and Tony teaches social studies at CJ.

Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, applied for the MIT Women's Initiative for three years before finally landing the program this winter. She worked with the 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teachers to coordinate the visit and served as the regional contact for MIT.

"By interacting with these visiting MIT students, perhaps a seed can be planted in some young girls' minds and hearts that they can and should aspire to such goals," Draeger said.

According to a 2011 study published by the American Society for Engineering Education, women only accounted for about 13 percent of the engineering workforce and 18 percent of engineering bachelor's degrees obtained that year.

Not to be left out, more than 250 boys at CJ also took part in similar 90-minute presentations January 14-15 led by male STEM professionals from area organizations including the University of Dayton, GE Aviation, Wright-Patterson AFB, and Intel Corporation. The Dayton chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and UD's Minority Engineering Program helped identify and recruit many of the male presenters, Draeger said.

"The objective is to expose all our students to the world of STEM as a potential college program of study and career field," she said.


STEMM Idol Speaker Cameron Ingram '09

Maybe you are curious about taking a Project Lead the Way biomedical sciences or engineering elective course at CJ, or perhaps you'd like to know what your college and career opportunities will be like in those fields after high school. If this sounds like you, consider meeting a fellow Eagle who has been there and done that!

Cameron Ingram '09 returns to his alma mater this Monday, Jan. 13 to share his wisdom as the next CJ STEMM Idol Speaker. All students are invited to attend presentations during homeroom periods in Mary, Our Mother, Room 126.

As a high school senior Cameron proudly participated in the inaugural year of the CJ STEMM program, taking Mrs. O'Loughlin's PLTW principles of biomedical sciences class. He currently studies in the University of Cincinnati's College of Engineering and Applied Science's biomedical engineering program. The fifth year senior will earn his bachelor's degree in April with a minor in medical science from the UC College of Medicine.

Through UC's co-op program, Cameron has been employed at Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a surgical device company based in Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Louis Children's Hospital; and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. For the past four years, he has conducted biomedical research in the areas of biomaterials and tissue engineering, developmental biology, and stem cell therapy.

He is the recipient of the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, for Ohio residents, and the National Science Foundation's STEM Talent Expansion Scholarship Program, for encouraging young students to pursue careers in STEM.

In addition to classroom and work experience, Cameron has served as president of the UC Biomedical Engineering Society and is an associate member of the university's chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. His research has been published and nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national award.

Cameron recently completed a yearlong clinical internship program for pre-medical students at Crossroad Health Center in the Over-the-Rhine community of downtown Cincinnati. He will begin medical school at UC next year and plans to pursue a career in primary healthcare for the underprivileged.


The Value in Choosing Something Different

You have options” is a phrase that is resonating with prospective parents more than ever. Since 2009, the admissions office has used this idea to encourage parents to explore the kinds of excellent services and academic opportunities that CJ offers families in meeting development and educational goals for their child.

“When parents call and say, ‘I want to know more about my child’s options,’ I know two things about them: they want to find out what CJ provides over other options, and they are not limiting their choice to local schools,” said Brett Chmiel ‘02, director of admissions. “These are parents who aren’t willing to follow traditional routes to neighborhood options without at least taking a look at what’s available at CJ.”

Chmiel said that as more Catholic families from public middle schools consider CJ, they are realizing that their child has the option of thriving at a school that fosters their special qualities. “This is why our community has a good number of leader parents and students who are bold in their decision to choose Chaminade Julienne — even when it means making a different choice than their friends.

“Parents understand the value of a different experience in preparing their child to be successful in college and, for some, the chance at a fresh start for their child. This can be a little tough for a few students who end up doing just fine when school starts, but then you have those who are super excited for the change. Many will tell you later that they met their best friends at CJ,” he said.

Chmiel said that once here, students have the latitude to find their way and even discover new interests at their own pace. Programs continue to evolve and options increase as students request them. In recent years, lacrosse, philanthropy club, development chairs, a cappella groups, string ensemble, flag team and other offerings have been added.

“Parents enjoy sharing with me how their child was welcome to be an athlete, a band kid, an honor student, a member of a service club, a person of faith, and in most cases, many of these all at once,” he said.

“A student at CJ has no social restrictions to what is normal because here normality comes in the form of growing into a unique person of Christ. When a family chooses CJ, they are choosing the option for their child to live as they are called by Christ, which for me, as a faculty member, is exciting because we see students become people of compassion and faith with endless possibilities ahead of them.”

Chmiel says that parents of graduates are excited about how well prepared their child was for freshman year of college. Many attribute the ease of transition to the experiences they had at CJ in meeting and growing alongside of other students from different backgrounds.

“Add this to how they developed at CJ through ecumenical dialogues of faith in the context of Catholic social teaching, learning the value of serving others, and immersing themselves in social justice issues, and you can begin to appreciate how Chaminade Julienne uniquely educates students to take on leadership roles as global citizens,” he said.

Chaminade Julienne is in its third year of increased enrollment. Students have attended 75 different institutions — most located in the Miami Valley and dozens from across the nation and around the world. Families come to CJ from over 50 different zip codes and 18 different demographic types known as prisms — a Nielsen Claritas family identifier program which allows CJ to better understand the kinds of families who choose the CJ experience for their child.

According to Catholic school enrollment consultant Stacey Picard of SDG Advisors, “At most high schools, 80 percent of students come from families from four or five lifestyle profiles. At CJ, we are blessed that our students come from families with 18 different lifestyle profiles. This is an indicator of the breadth of diversity at CJ and, more importantly, a representation of the many unique gifts that CJ families bring to its rich community, and the real-world experience it offers its students.”

This story first appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Vision, CJ's alumni news magazine.