September 2015

Faculty and Students In Philly During Pope's Visit

"This was the opportunity of a lifetime."

Director of Ministry & Service, Kelli Kinnear, said that was just one of the feelings she had while attending the World Meeting of Families Conference in Philadelphia last week and having the opportunity to be in the presence of Pope Francis.

"I think he is a beacon of light in our world and he brings such a sense of hope, not only to Catholics around the world, but everyone," shared Kinnear.

Four members of the CJ community went to Philadelphia during the Pope's visit. Kinnear attended several sessions during the conference including one facilitated by the Archbishop of the Philippines.

"I really enjoyed his session because he spoke about caring for the wounded of our church and of the world," Kinnear said. 

Sr. Nicole Trahan, FMI, attended the conference as well and was with other Marianists who worked a booth during the meeting. Jose Osnaya '16 went to Philadelphia to take in the experience with his family.

"I really enjoyed seeing the Pope in his Pope mobile smile and wave to everyone there," Osnaya said.

Thomas VanDorpe '16 went to Philadelphia with the Legion of Christ, an order of Catholic priests.

"Two Legionary brothers (Br. David and Br. Thomas) and two Legionary priests (Fr. Daniel and Fr. Ronald) organized a group of about 24 young men from mainly Ohio and Kentucky, but there were a few from Wisconsin as well," said VanDorpe. "I spent one month this summer as a volunteer at their camps and work with the priest who organized this trip."

On Friday and Saturday, VanDorpe said his group, along with more than 300 others, went into Philadelphia to bring the joy of the Gospel to everyone they met.

"We had more than 5,000 rosaries, several hundred copies of Christopher West's book Pope Francis to Go, holy cards, food, water and a lot of other religious articles that we passed out," shared VanDorpe. "We walked all over the city talking to people and taking prayer intentions. It was incredible."

Prior to the Festival of Families on Saturday night, a priest and members of VanDorpe's group also facilitated an impromptu confessional. 

"It was an unforgettable thing, just to see the look on people's faces while they were in confession and just the joy they had afterwards," VanDorpe said. "It really was the high point of my trip, along with seeing Pope Francis of course. But just to help people have the sacrament of confession was a great experience."

The Festival of Families included many entertainers and personal stories from families around the world. Pope Francis concluded the festival and spoke to the attendees in English.

On Sunday, more than one million people gathered along Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Papal Mass on the Parkway.

"During Mass, everyone was so reverent," said Kinnear. "To have more than one million people silent during the consecration and during communion, it was amazing."

Kinnear also shared, "I felt blessed to have this opportunity. I hope to be able to share more, with the CJ community, what I received in my experience." 


STEMM Idol Speaker: Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom may be the name of a fictional comic book character, but the real Dr. Travis Doom spoke to students on Tuesday, September 29 as part of the STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

"We need engineers," Dr. Doom conveyed to students. "By the year 2020, there will be two jobs in the computer science field for every graduate."

Dr. Doom  is a professor and associate chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Wright State University. This is the second year Dr. Doom has spoken to students as part of the STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

Some of Dr. Doom's accomplishments include WSU's Robert J. Kegerris Distinguished Professor of Teaching, the 2014 Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education's (SOCHE) award for Excellence in Teaching, and the WSU College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching award  in 2000 and 2005.

When speaking to the students on Tuesday, Dr. Doom encouraged them to begin looking at colleges now that will help them be skilled in several areas, especially if they are interested in a STEMM career.

"You can't say, 'I'm going to be an science major or I'm going to be a chemistry major.' The way science works now and technology works now, everyone needs to be the master of multiple disciplines."

Dr. Doom also shared that students who study computer science not only need to know how to compute, but how to communicate their findings.

"Communication about computing is key," Dr. Doom said. "How do you communicate to other people to get the answer  you need, and how do you get others to understand the computation?"

Dr. Doom's presentation to students can be found here.

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at


CJ Students Travel To Augsburg

Update: September 30
On Sunday, September 27, students who went to Augsburg over the summer shared their experiences with families and classmates. This presentation is a requirement through the Dayton Sister City Committee. Two students who attended the trip can be seen with their presentation in the picture, below right.



First Look: A CJ tradition continued this summer when students visited Augsburg, Germany as part of an ongoing exchange program. 

Augsburg and Dayton became sister cities in 1964. CJ students began traveling to Augsburg in 2009 through a partnership with the Dayton Sister City Committee and CJ's Junior Council on World Affairs (JCOWA.) Social Studies teacher and CJ's JCOWA moderator Tony Ricciuto organized the trip along with Herr Burkhart, a teacher at Jakob Fugger Gymnasium, a school in Augsburg.

"The German students visit Dayton on the even years and the CJ delegation travels to Germany on the odd years," said Ricciuto. The Augsburg and Dayton exchange program began more than 50 years ago because of  NCR, Ricciuto added.

"Two years ago, we met Chaminade alumnus Paul Campbell '67 in Germany, " Ricciuto said. Campbell was part of the first ever Dayton exchange trip to Augsburg.

During their time in Germany, students met the Augsburg mayor at the Rathaus and took daily trips to Munich, Neuschwanstein and Landsberg.

On Friday, June 26, the students are scheduled to take a weekend trip to Berlin before returning to Dayton on June 29.



(Picture above right: the group visiting the Alps near the castle Neuschwanstein. Picture below right: standing in front of a monument built for the Berlin Airlift in front of the Berlin Tempelhof. Picture below left: in front of Reichstag, the German Parliament.)



Busted Box Provides More Than Laughs

One student is pretending to play drums, while another does air guitar. Another student stands up and joins the make-believe band as a singer. The crowd immediately guesses, "you're in a rock band!"

This skit is just one of the many games the Busted Box Improv Troupe performs. Busted Box was formed in January 2014 after moderator Caitlin Bennett spoke to students who were interested in starting the program.

"This is a place where students come to learn about improv, about it as a craft," explained Bennett..

"I had taken improv classes before and had fallen in love with improv," shared Caroline Delaney '18. "I went to one of Busted Box's practices last year and immediately decided to join."

Members say along with the laughs, being a part of the group also forces them to be spontaneous.

"We learn things, with one of the most obvious being able to think on your feet," said Paul Wittmann '18. "But we also have to understand people, their emotions and speech, and fit into your character or role onstage."

"Improv is 100% a team experience, so seeing how students work together in scenes is really inspiring," shared Bennett.

Students still have the opportunity to join Busted Box. Practices are on Fridays from 3:15 - 4:30 p.m. in Room 101.

"Other students should try Busted Box because it is a great way to get yourself out of your comfort zone and to try new things," noted Delaney.

Busted Box members will perform an Improv Coffeehouse later this fall and participate in a competition this winter Bennett said.

"Our goal is to make your cheeks hurt from laughing, so come to a show!" encouraged Wittmann.


Muse Machine Musician Alters Sounds

The possibility for sound is everywhere.

On Tuesday, September 22, musician Michael Kelsey helped students realize that during an in-school performance.

"Music is accessible to everyone," Kelsey said. "I bring electronic toys with me, but if I didn't have anything, I would be using kitchen utensils or something similar."

During his performance, Kelsey used on-the-spot recording equipment and showed students how he was able to create a band-like sound, with only his guitar and imagination.

"I think in terms of sounds, while others think in visuals or other forms," shared Kelsey. "Music is shaping these things for composition. Somehow that make sense to me, this is my element."

Kelsey was the "kick-off performer" of this year's Muse Machine in-school performance series.

"Muse Machine is an arts organization for young people," explained Carolyn Wheeler, Teacher Professional Development & School Outreach for Muse Machine. "It not only feeds and nourishes the students who are interested in the arts, but it helps kids think differently, be more creative."

Kelsey did not lack creativity in his performance. One of the songs he created was made using a student's index cards, spiral notepad, and a single piece of paper.

"Every time I perform there is a different show, and that's what gets me excited," Kelsey said.

He shared that he hoped after his performance, students would look at the sights and sounds around them in a new light.

"It's like if I sit at a table and you introduce me to new ingredients," Kelsey explained. "From that day forward. I might look at meals differently."

You can see more of Michael Kelsey's performances here. Other Muse Machine performances coming to CJ this year will be Shakespeare Sings! and The Story of Sound.

STEMM Idol Speaker Series

All students, whether they are interested in STEMM-related careers or not, are invited to meet professionals in STEMM fields during the STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

The first speaker of the 2015-2016 school year was Mike Coyle '89. Along with being a CJ grad, Coyle is also a current CJ parent.

"I want to help spread enthusiasm for the sciences and show what is up ahead," Coyle said.

Coyle, an engineer, has 19 years of experience in various industries. After graduating from CJ, he enlisted in the United States Army. It was there, Coyle told students, that he began praying about what God wanted him to do with his future.

"I remember thinking about Nan Davis, a woman who was paralyzed," shared Coyle. "Students at Wright State University built a device to help her walk and receive her diploma. I knew I wanted to help people too."

After the Army, Coyle enrolled at Wright State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Engineering.  He also received an MBA from Bluffton University.

Coyle's first job was at Midmark in Versailles where he earned seven patents. He later worked at Xylem and is now with the Dayton Lamina Corporation as the Senior Director of Product Management and Development.

Coyle said the biggest aspect students may not know about his field is the personal skills needed for any position.

"The technical problems are not the biggest problems in engineering, it's the people problems," Coyle explained. "I am proud of the way we build teams and how we interoperate with each other."

Outside of his career, Coyle said he enjoys creating software, which included writing a progrlam that helped create the Guinness Book of World Records’ World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie in 2005 and 2010. He shared that engineering skills came into play when the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers Association contacted him about cooking the pie.

"We had to build an oven and show that the pie was in fact edible, so we had to make sure it was cooked all the way," said Coyle.

While speaking with students, Coyle shared his enthusiasm about the school renovations and the opportunities students have while attending CJ.

Coyle said, "God designed you for a purpose, and it's far better than anything you could wish for yourselves."

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at



Juniors Learn About Service Opportunities

Volunteering is at the heart of CJ students. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors have to meet service hour requirements through their religion classes, while seniors complete their service requirement through their Senior Capstone Project.

On Friday, September 18, members of the Class of 2017 met with nearly 20 local agencies to discuss potential volunteering opportunities during a Service Fair. During their junior year, a student is required to volunteer at least 25 hours.

"This requirement is to help them connect what they're learning in the classroom to these issues that are going on in our society and in our world," explained Director of Ministry & Service, Kelli Kinnear.

Many students choose to volunteer more than their required service hours. During the 2014-2015 school year, the CJ student body volunteered more than 11,112 hours beyond the religion class requirement, including 24 students who volunteered 100 or more hours beyond the requirement.

"I'm a proponent of required service because I have seen the impact it has," Kinnear said. "If they hadn't had this requirement, they would not have seen or been exposed to some of the people and experiences."

During last year's Service Fair, Tammara Mims '16 reconnected with an organization she was a part of as a child.

"I went to The Clubhouse when I was younger," Mims shared. "I saw them at last year's Service Fair and signed up to complete my service hours there."

As a senior this year, Mims does not have a service hour requirement, but she continues to give her time at The Clubhouse.

"It makes me feel proud," said Emily Cullen, with The Clubhouse. "It's our goal to build leaders and it's powerful to see that happen, just like with Tammara."

While Mims said her Senior Capstone Project does not involve her work with The Clubhouse, some juniors are thinking ahead to how this volunteering opportunity could generate an idea for their Senior Capstone Project.

Nick Osterday '17 said he isn't sure what his Senior Capstone Project will be yet, but he and Alex Kearns '17 signed up to learn more about volunteering with the Boonshoft Museum.

"I have been at the Boonshoft a lot and I volunteered there for my sophomore service hours," Osterday said. "It was fun, so volunteering there again sounds like fun."

"I go to the Boonshoft a lot during the summer and volunteering there seems interesting," agreed Kearns.

"The museum is a static thing," shared Trey Estes, with the Boonshoft Museum. "It's the people who volunteer who make the experience worth it, and that's what we're looking to instill on the students."

McKenzie Camplin '17 said while she has some ideas for her Senior Capstone project, she signed up for potential volunteering at Rebuilding Together Dayton and a Girls Do STEM Program because of her interests.

"I like to paint and I figured it would be fun because I like to be creative," Camplin said. "But I also signed up for the STEM program because hearing how there are so many girls who are interested in STEM but don't choose a career in STEM makes me motivated to make a difference."

Kinnear said it is encouraging to see students take ownership of their volunteering experience and grow from it.

"It excites me when our students experience these things and they become passionate about what they are seeing and experiencing." 

MLC Organizing First Marianist Monday

LIFE  - Living In Faith Experiences, is something many CJ students already embody. New this year, students are invited to experience MLC - Marianist LIFE Community.

"It's a way to build community, to share in fellowship and grow in faith," explained moderator Jama Badinghaus.

Every Marianist school or parish has a LIFE organization to help everyone grow and live out the Marianist charisms. Earlier this summer, six students were chosen to help lead CJ's MLC. They attended LIFE week at the Bergamo Center with other LIFE groups from around the nation. During that week, the CJ students and moderators decided to create Marianist Mondays beginning this year. The first Marianist Monday of the school year will be on September 14.

"Essentially, the Marianist mission is to build communities in faith," shared Badinghaus. "This is an opportunity for students to do that, to witness and experience it."

"MLC helps students create opportunities to live in faith through different experiences," agreed moderator Mike Hoendorf '03.

This year, MLC is planning to hold Marianist Mondays about once a month. Each Marianist Monday will be after school until around 4:30. The Marianist Mondays will include fellowship, snack, and time for prayer. There will also be larger MLC events throughout the year, including a LIFE rally in October.

"That event will get everyone excited about sharing their faith," Hoendorf said. "There will be music and guest speakers. It will be fun to put a lot of energy into the program."

Badinghaus said students can attend one, some, or all MLCs and enjoy the experience.

"We really see this as an extension to grow in family spirit," she shared. "We have that opportunity with sports, clubs and other small groups, but this an intentional way for students to grow in their faith, grow in community, and share together  in a way that is unique to CJ."

Hoendorf echoed that sentiment. “Being a part of MLC shows students how they can live their lives and incorporate faith into their everyday experiences. For example, students could be hanging out with friends in college, and from their MLC experience at CJ, be comfortable inviting others to pray or attend Mass. Or, if they are watching TV with friends, they can relate to something on a show and stir up a conversation about faith."

Capstone Groups Explore Ideas with Their Mentors

Food deserts, the influence of social media on children, gun violence and more are just some of the social justice issues members of the Class of 2016 are researching and exploring how to make a difference with their Senior Capstone Projects.

On Wednesday, September 9, seniors met with their mentors about their projects.

"Often times, students choose mentors because the mentors have worked on this issue before with another group," shared Senior Capstone Coordinator Molly Bardine.  "The purpose of the breakfast was to have the mentors clarify ideas, find out what aspects are important to the group, and give feedback." 

While several capstone mentors are CJ faculty and staff, there are some who work with other agencies or have an expertise in a topic because of their profession.

"Students have the opportunity to create those relationships with people who are outside of the building," said Bardine.

Along with writing a research paper about their topic, each capstone group will take action towards creating change or a discussion about their social justice issue.

"It's not like they are just looking at an issue and taking it simplified, pro-con," Bardine explained. "They are starting to ask questions that go to the heart of policy. Anytime we have our students working towards and recognizing how their faith affects their intellect and their studies, and how they are supposed to study and explore this issue in the eyes of faith, is very exciting."

Bardine said she was also excited to see current seniors taking on topics the Class of 2014 explored, and branching off of their ideas to dig deeper into issues.

"They are really engaged and have a lot of ideas already," shared Bardine. "The students have more questions because they thought about the ideas they wanted to be a part of and how they could do things differently. These seniors have seen this project since their sophomore and junior year, so I think they are more ready than ever to take this on." 

College Representatives Coming to CJ

Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to learn more about colleges that interest them during their school day at CJ.

As in years past and again this year, representatives from colleges throughout the country will come to CJ for in-school visits.

"Generally speaking, the person who is coming from the college is the person who may reading a student's application," explained Charlene Wheeler, director of guidance. "For our students, this is their first direct contact with that admissions office at the school where they are interested in going."

The first in-school college visit of the 2015-2016 school year was on Tuesday, September 8, when a representative from Miami University's Middletown campus came to CJ.

"For students, it's really important to explore the different options that are out there," said Miami University, Middletown campus representative, Ashley Cundiff.  

The in-school visits are scheduled periodically throughout the year. So far, more than 30 universities have signed up to send a representative to CJ, some as far away as Denver and San Diego.

"Having the in-school visits saves time and money," shared Wheeler. "The visits also allow students to ask their own personal questions. You can read the summaries in books, but this is their opportunity to ask questions important to them and have those questions answered."

The list of universities sending representatives to CJ will be updated throughout the year. Students can find the list of in-school college visits on the Family Connection/Naviance website. Students are also asked to sign up on that website at least two days ahead of any visit with a college representative.