November 2014

STEMM Idol Speaker Hanen Alkhafaji '07

Alumna Hanen Alkhafaji ‘07 joins students as our next STEMM Idol Speaker during homeroom periods in the Trainor Library on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Ms. Alkhafaji works as a software developer for PQ Systems, which is internationally headquartered in Dayton. The company has helped people in the manufacturing, healthcare, government, and service sectors provide proof of their quality performance for 30 years.

“I work with a team of other software engineers from PQ Systems’ Dayton office, South Carolina, and England,” she said. “The team is currently working on building an application that will be used by manufacturing and healthcare organizations for statistical process control.”

Last spring, the 2007 CJ grad was awarded the Emerging Leader award by Technology First. Ms. Alkhafaji also serves as one of three board members on the Dayton .NET Developers Group and operates her own Web design company to serve small businesses.

“I really enjoy supporting small business owners so I built a lot of these Web sites free of charge to build up my portfolio and help contribute to the small business community,” she said.

Ms. Alkhafaji, who already holds an undergraduate degree in computer science, will return to pursue her master’s degree at her colllege alma mater, Wright State, in January. She is the second CJ alumni presenter to return to her high school roots this school year.

STEMM Idols by the Numbers

  • 12 professionals, college professors and university students from both the public and private sectors have presented to students
  • 6 women in STEMM fields have served as Idol Speakers
  • 2 more speakers remain before Christmas break
  • 1 fellow alumna, Sarah Krug '09, also presented this November

PLTW CEO Visits CJ Students, Staff

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) President and CEO Vince Bertram visited CJ the morning of Nov. 20 to meet biomedical science and engineering students and teachers, chat with school administration, and tour the $3.6 million CJ STEMM Center.

The head of the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs traveled from the non-profit organization’s headquarters in Indianapolis to Dayton to present at the PLTW Ohio Fall Conference at Sinclair.

“Too often you learn math over here, and you learn science over here,” he said. “We try to bring all that together where you apply math and science through our Project Lead the Way curriculum.”

Senior CJ students Margot Duffy ‘15, Julianne Evans ‘15, Monica Rains ‘15 and Jarred Stamper ‘15 sat down for an intimate discussion with Mr. Bertram and PLTW representatives. Students told of the positive and often inspiring experiences they've encountered while enrolled in CJ PLTW courses.

Topics of discussion included current world news and events, the impact of CJ’s upgraded STEMM Center facilities, and the breakthroughs students have made while working and learning in the newly renovated spaces. The seniors also introduced Mr. Bertram to their social justice Capstone project, which is directed at raising awareness for blood and tissue donation.

“We need role models like you,” Bertram told them. “ You’ve had this great experience [as PLTW students] and you’re going to do great things.”

In a humble and frank manner, he asked the teens for direct feedback on ways to improve the national PLTW curriculum, and encouraged them to continue sharing their ideas with him after enrolling in college programs by joining the PLTW Alumni Association — a free networking resource open to anyone who has completed two high school PLTW courses.

Before departing for the conference at Sinclair, Mr. Bertram and company were treated to a tour of the CJ STEMM Center, where he stopped to address teacher Amy O’Loughlin’s Human Body Systems class (pictured above).

Mr. Bertram served as keynote speaker at the PLTW Ohio conference, where CJ teachers joined educators from around the state for breakout sessions and to hear from their peers. Among the presenters, Mrs. O’Loughlin spoke on behalf of the CJ STEMM program.


Student Athlete Signings this November

Beth Stumpf became the first CJ student-athlete of the 2014-15 school year to sign a National Letter of Intent after agreeing to join the volleyball program at Slippery Rock University (Pa.) during the early signing period on Nov. 14.

The outside hitter intends to study education at Slippery Rock, located about 40 miles east of Youngstown, Ohio, where she will receive partial athletic grants. The school's NCAA Division II volleyball program competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

Eagles head coach Megan Smith, in her second year at CJ, called Stumpf one of the most "versatile" players she has ever coached. "I could call a shot, and she could turn around and go hit it. That's very hard to find."

A four-year varsity letterwinner, Stumpf led the team with 55 aces in 22 games during her senior campaign. This season she recorded 353 assists, 192 kills, 34 blocks and 257 digs. She is a two-time recipient of Greater Catholic League (GCL) First Team honors and First Team all district honors. named Beth the Player of the Week for her performance in a Sept. 16 game against league rival Roger Bacon.

CJ varsity volleyball finished the 2014 season with an 11-10 overall record.


STEMM Idol Speaker Jennifer Pennington

A job in paper is waiting for you!

Did you know that students today are pursuing highly sought-after degrees in — of all things — paper, and securing good-paying jobs as a result? It’s true, and people are doing it all right here locally in Ohio!

Take it from someone who has been there and done just that this Tuesday, Nov. 25. STEMM Idol Speaker Jennifer Pennington visits CJ to discuss opportunities in the paper business during all homeroom periods in the library.

Ms. Pennington works as a paper scientist for the Eastman Kodak Company, located off Research Boulevard in Dayton. “I work with paper companies worldwide to develop new papers for high speed inkjet printing,” she said.

Paper science and engineering is offered as a course of study at a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, including Miami University where Ms. Pennington earned her bachelor’s degree before later pursuing her MBA at the University of Dayton. She currently serves as Miami’s Alumni Council President for the school’s Paper Science and Engineering (PS&E) Foundation.

What makes the paper business so great? For starters, Miami’s program places 100 percent of its graduates in a job. Here are a few other things to consider:

  • Paper engineers and scientists are never bored because the industry is constantly changing and evolving.
  • College scholarships and jobs are plentiful for those who work hard.
  • Paper engineers and scientists make paper, figuratively and literally.The average starting salary in 2013 for Miami grads was $66,000 according to USA Today.
  • Believe it or not, the paper industry is eco-friendly. Paper makes use of renewable, recyclable and sustainable resources. For every one tree cut down, three are planted.

Faculty & Staff Setting the Example

Teresa Spanel '10, alumni relations coordinator, had volunteered her time during CJ's Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week (HHAW) in the past, but never in this capacity. It had actually been four years since she last participated.

But on Wednesday morning, the 2010 grad who joined the staff in June, found herself back in the school cafeteria making sandwiches and bagging lunches; no longer as a student, but with her former teachers — now colleagues — as part of the annual HHAW faculty and staff service project.

"These people, who I now know as friends and coworkers, and the work they do every day set the example for me when I was a student at CJ. They inspired myself and many others to work for justice and peace," Spanel said.

As a University of Dayton senior, Spanel was named a recipient of the Maureen E. O'Rourke Marianist Student Award in the spring of 2014.

"Today, it is amazing to see so many familiar faces continue to make service to others a priority in their personal and professional lives. Knowing that I, too, now have the power to set an example for future generations of Eagles is extremely encouraging."

During a morning planning period Nov. 19, CJ faculty and staff volunteered to prepare hot meals to feed students at after school programs supported by Dayton's House of Bread and bagged 150 lunches for those served by St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton.

Thursday, Nov. 20 was an optional fast day. During this day, students are encouraged to follow suit and pack bagged lunches for donation in lieu of eating their own lunch to be in solidarity with the hungry.

HHAW is an annual event celebrated the week before Thanksgiving to raise awareness among members of the school community about hunger and homelessness issues in the local community, nation and world. All members of the school community are encouraged to choose at least one way to become involved in the plight of others who need our help during the week.

2014 Fall Sports Season in Review

A strong fall sports season has landed the Eagles in second place among fellow GCL North opponents for the league’s All Sports Trophy.

The winner of the trophy is decided using a point system that recognizes across-the-board athletic excellence. Teams in each season earn points for their school depending upon where they finish in the league standings.

With one season down, the Eagles have amassed 48.5 points and sit in second place. CJ men's and women's cross country and golf teams combined to each contribute 13 points apiece, the most of any sport. Women’s tennis pitched in nine points, the most of any singular sport with no coed counterpart competing during the same season.

Cross Country

KEY MOMENTS: The men’s cross country team couldn’t have asked for a hotter start to the 2014 season. In their first meet Aug. 22, the Eagles took first place among Division II/III schools at the Moeller Primetime Invitational to win the McCarty Cup Trophy. The guys would go on to win the Brookville Invitational (pictured top) in early September and finished in third place as a team at the end-of-season GCL Championship meet. The Eagles were led by solid performances from their upperclassmen and a strong group of sophomores, including standout Tucker Helms ’17. Tucker finished the season in 27th place at regionals.

Starting the season solo, the women’s team finished 16th at the OHSAA Early Season Invitational and gave a strong performance at the Tiffin Cross Country Carnival, finishing 15th. The Eagles improved with each meet and earned runner-up honors at the GCL Championships. CJ was led by senior Helen Wittman '15 who finished her high school cross country career in 30th place at regionals. As a team, the girls placed fourth in the district meet -- one spot shy of qualifying for regionals together for a third consecutive season.

ALL STARS: Tucker Helms ‘17 (First Team GCL), Helen Wittman ‘15 (First Team GCL), Duncan Burke ‘17 (Second Team GCL), Rachel Coughlin ‘17 (Second Team GCL), Jack Dalton ‘17 (Second Team GCL), Maura Peck ‘17 (Second Team GCL)

RECORD: 5-5 overall (3-4 GCL)

KEY WINS: Winning five of their first six games by an average 30 points, CJ football came on like gangbusters early this fall. The Eagles high-powered offense put up 370 points over 10 games -- second most of all league teams -- behind the tandem of junior quarterback and AP Division V Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year, Jacob Harrison ‘16, and senior wide receiver Zach Burneka ‘15. Harrison threw for 2,471 yards and Burneka had 1,297 receiving yards to finish tops among all area players in their respective categories according to the Dayton Daily News. Kicker Spencer Dufresne ‘16 (48 points) also finished among area leaders with 48 points, converting on 88 percent of all kicks. In the final game of the season, the Eagles and Knights celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the rivalry between Catholic powers CJ and Alter.

ALL STARS: Zach Burneka ‘15 (First Team AP Southwest All District, First Team GCL), Jacob Harrison ‘16 (AP Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year, First Team GCL), Davion McKinney ‘15 (First Team AP Southwest All District, First Team GCL), Danny Meyer ‘15 (First Team AP Southwest All District, First Team GCL), Adam Pendergrass ‘15 (First Team GCL, Second Team AP Southwest All District), Stephen Bizimana ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Spencer Dufresne ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Trey Harper ‘15 (Second Team GCL), Jeffrey Pooler ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Derson Pratt ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Marvin Radford ‘15 (Second Team GCL), Josh Simons ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Antwand Wilson ‘16 (Second Team GCL, Honorable Mention AP Southwest All District).

RECORDS: Men’s 12-26 | Women’s 31-1 (10-0 GCL)

KEY WINS: Men’s golfers welcomed new head coach Ben Davies and a number of fresh faces in 2014. Five freshmen and six sophomores teed it up behind the senior leadership of Matt Boudinot ‘15, with a majority of teammates earning their first varsity experience. Boudinot shot a combined 164 in the two-day GCL Championship tournament, helping his team finish in fifth place.

The question entering the season for the Eagles women’s golfers was not if the team would make it back to the state tournament, but rather how far would they go. CJ returned to the Division II championships for a sixth consecutive season and placed fourth in the state. The team lost one match all regular season and won titles at the GCL championships as well as at the sectional and district tournaments. The girls were led by GCL Player of the Year Ellie Cronin ‘16, senior Sarah Downing ‘15 and Coach of the Year George Menker ‘55. Read full season recap >

ALL STARS: Ellie Cronin '16 (GCL Player of the Year, First Team All District), Sarah Downing ‘15 (First Team GCL, First Team All District), Lizzi Yeazel '16 (First Team GCL, First Team All District), Colleen Wagoner ‘16 (First Team GCL, Second Team All District), Matt Boudinot ‘15 (Second Team GCL)  Sara Sue Bowman ‘17 (Second Team GCL)

RECORDS: Men’s 5-10-2 (1-5-1 GCL) | Women’s 5-5-7 (2-3-2)

KEY WINS: In their second game of the season, the Eagles recorded a shutout victory over area rival Oakwood. The men’s soccer team would go on to also shutout Division I opponents Miamisburg and Sidney, and win 2-1 over Fairborn.

The women’s soccer team fought tooth and nail all season long against stout competition. The Eagles faced both the eventual OHSAA Division II and Division III champs in league rivals McNicholas and Badin. Their never-say-die attitude is reflected in the team’s record, with a total of seven ties. CJ’s defense never allowed more than two goals in a single match all season long. Highlights included wins over Division I opponents Fairmont and Northmont. Head coach Roy Craig was chosen as the Private School Coach of the Year by the Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association (MVSSCA).

ALL STARS: Cierra Stevenson ‘15 (First Team GCL, First Team All District), Will Duffy '15 (First Team GCL, First Team All District South), Jacob Murray ‘16 (First Team GCL, Second Team All District South), Anna Money ‘16 (First Team GCL, Third Team All District South), Jacob Marshall ‘15 (Second Team GCL, Third Team All District South), Thomas Wilimits ‘16 (Second Team GCL, Third Team All District South), Mikayla Kleinhans ‘15 (Second Team All District South), Rachel Stayer ‘15 (Second Team GCL), Grace Saunders '15 (Second Team GCL), Marie Weckesser ‘15 (Second Team All District South)

RECORD: 18-3 (6-0 GCL)

KEY WINS: Following their regular season sweep of all league opponents, the women's tennis team stormed into the state finals of two postseason tournaments. Individual singles qualifiers Kelly Pleiman ‘17 and Natalie Allen ‘16 each made appearances in the OHSAA state finals, and the two-time GCL Coed champion Eagles also played together for an OTCA team championship. Read full season recap >

ALL STARS: Natalie Allen ‘16 (First Team GCL, singles), Kelly Pleiman ‘17 (First Team GCL, singles), Brianna Douglas ‘17 & Alexis Robinson ‘17 (First Team GCL, doubles), Ashley Huffman ‘15 (Second Team GCL, singles), Amanda Draeger ‘16 & Katarina Dranchak ‘16 (Second Team GCL, doubles)

RECORDS: 11-10 (4-5 GCL)

KEY WINS: Women's volleyball showed tremendous improvement as the season progressed in the team’s second year under the leadership of coach Megan Smith. CJ defeated five of the six Division I opponents on its schedule with wins over Springboro, Hamilton, Beavercreek, Butler and Seton. The team finished strong, earning victories in four of their last seven regular season contests and winning two playoff matches.

ALL STARS: Beth Stumpf '15 (First Team GCL, First Team All District 15), Haleigh Shaw '15 (Second Team GCL, First Team All District 15, Senior Academic All Star), Jillian Hammerly ‘16 (Second Team GCL), Brooke Cartone '16 (Honorable Mention All District 15), Emilie Nevius '16 (Honorable Mention All District 15), Kayla Lamantia ‘15 (Senior Academic All Star), Gretchen Theil ‘15 (Senior Academic All Star)

SIGNEES: Beth Stumpf ‘15, Slippery Rock University (Pa.)


CJ Community Serves Hungry, Homeless

THANK YOU to our amazing students, teachers, families, alums and friends who helped us exceed our Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week (HHAW) donation goals.

Once again, the CJ community pulled together to give back and educate others during the week before Thanksgiving. CJ raised a total of $2,943 and contributed 2,832 items for donation during the week of Nov. 17-25.

F.L.I.G.H.T. prepares to distribute collection boxes to Period 1 classrooms before HHAW 2014.

Each school day, students, faculty and staff learned more about the issues of hunger and homelessness affecting people throughout our world. They were also challenged to become involved in caring for the plight of their neighbors.

Collections from the two concurrent donation drives, spearheaded by senior members of F.L.I.G.H.T. (Faith Leaders in God’s Hands Today), will be given to aid those served by the Dayton Foodbank, St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Relief Services & Oxfam.

New this year, students who participated in themed giving days were entered into prize drawings.

“Students may bring in monetary donations, non-perishable items and toiletries any day during the entire week,” said Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry and service. “However, by participating in themed days, students can win tickets to the Christmas Dance and various athletic events.

“Prizes aside, everyone who decides to give back during this week will receive the ultimate gift of knowing that they’ve taken it upon themselves to be servants of Christ and stewards of His word,” Kinnear said.

Also new this year was the fun “Change Challenge.” Four large jars representing each class were placed in the cafeteria and students competed by placing loose change in any jar other than their own class’ during lunch periods. Congratulations to the senior class on finishing with the least amount of money in their jar.

Members of FLIGHT kicked off the week on Friday, Nov. 14 by presenting to their peers in Period 1 classes. Other awareness activities included daily morning music, prayer and reflections, and quotes which were played and/or read aloud over the PA.

Special service activities were made available to students, as well as faculty and staff, including a special a REACH site visit Wednesday and preparation of bagged lunches on Thursday.

Themed Giving Days

Bring in monetary donations.

Bring in toiletry donations such as shampoo, toothbrushes, etc.

Bring in small items such as winter hats, gloves, scarves, etc.

This is an optional all-school fast day. Students can help bag lunches for St. Vincent de Paul during lunch periods.

Bring in food donations for The Foodbank.

Bring in any of above items.

Vocation Awareness Week Roundtable

As a part of National Vocation Awareness Week, senior members of FLIGHT (Faith Leaders in God's Hands Today) heard from a panel of four CJ faculty and staff members and one guest speaker about their path in life and how they chose their vocation.

Educators Caitlin Bennett, Jama Badinghaus, Fr. Matt Robben, and Sr. Nicole Trahan, FMI, each shared their unique story on Nov. 4. Gabby Bibeau, a 2011 University of Dayton graduate, also spoke about her journey pursuing sisterhood with the Marianists.

Bennett, a drama teacher, and Badinghaus, student support coordinator at CJ, told how they were called to live the Marianist charism as laypersons. Meanwhile, Fr. Matt and Sr. Nicole each discussed their somehwhat indirect paths to religious life. All four related their stories in a personal way that allowed students to think about God's role in their own life’s calling.

“I really enjoyed hearing about the variety of ways people felt called to live like Christ in their lives,” said Julianne Evans ’15, a FLIGHT student.

Bennett and Badinghaus both come from a background of Marianist education. It was during their time at the University of Dayton that they both felt a powerful calling to serve as lay Marianists.

“I finally felt a sense of family with the Marianists, a sense of belonging,” Badinghaus said. “I can work here at CJ as a lay person, but I have connections all over the world.”

Fr. Matt’s vocation story is quite different and began when he was a young child. He always knew he wanted to be a priest, but God had unexpected plans in his life. It was not until 2012, after working for a number of years as a restaurant manager, that Fr. Matt became ordained. After attending Mass with a friend and fully opening his heart to the Catholic Church again, he further committed his life to God by becoming a priest.

Sr. Nicole’s vocation came to her unexpectedly after she earned a degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University. She grew up Catholic, but never thought about becoming a sister.

“My passions came from ministering and teaching,” said Sr. Nicole, who eventually professed her first vows in June 2008 and her perpetual vows in August 2013. “The Marianist charism was something that I was living, but I didn’t have a name for it.”

By hearing their teachers' stories, students not only learned about what different vocations entail, but also what it means to really listen to God’s call.

“The most beneficial thing I learned is that part of God's plan for us is to wait for the call He has for us, even when we think we are sure about our life," Julianne said. "Most people want to have some plans for the future, but clearly God has the best plans and they tend to be unexpected.

“Though waiting for God can be a challenge, we also have to remember He is waiting for us to realize our vocation. Everyone who talked about vocation was called to their vocation after waiting and really listening to God's call," the senior said.

To learn more about National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov. 2-8), go to

Fireworks Fly at the Fall Play!

Family can do crazy things to people. And the Sycamore family is a little crazy to begin with.

The CJ Performing Arts department presents the fall play, You Can't Take It With You, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart this weekend.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy runs Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15 at 7:30 p.m., and again Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

The action takes place in the oversized, New York home of Martin Vanderhof (played by Angelo Moore-Knight ‘18) and centers around the interactions of an eccentric clan of families, the Sycamores and the Kirbys.

When Alice Sycamore (Catherine Grady ‘15), the youngest daughter and most sensible of the bunch, brings her wealthy fiancé Tony Kirby (Noah Mussin Phillips '17) and his stuffy parents over for dinner, fireworks start to fly!

“This is a play that has been produced thousands of times since it debuted in 1936. Its timeless humor has lasted for generations,” said teacher Caitlin Bennett, fall play director. “You shouldn't miss it because it is hilarious, and our students have worked very hard to produce it.”

More than 40 students making up the large cast and crew worked for more than two months to put on this exciting and explosive play. A combination of sound effects, elaborate sets, and sidesplitting scenes makes this show a surefire crowd-pleaser.

Come see this classic performed on the CJ stage and support our students this weekend!

STEMM Idol Speaker Sarah Krug '09

CJ welcomes alumna Sarah Krug ‘09 who presents at her alma mater Tuesday as our next STEMM Idol Speaker.

The Notre Dame and University of Dayton grad returns to her roots to talk electro-optics — or the interaction between light and electricity within materials and devices — during all homeroom periods in the Trainor Library.

Lasers, holograms and fiber optics are all components of electro-optics. Come see how the physics of light is present in items you use every day including movies and games, such as laser chess. Hands-on demonstrations will be available for all students to test out.

Currently, Ms. Krug works as a graduate research assistant while she pursues her Ph.D. in electro-optics at UD. She completed her thesis work through Wright-Patterson AFB with Leidos, a Fortune 500 American defense company.

Come learn more and network with a fellow Eagle this Tuesday, Nov. 11!