September 2019

Students Experience Service Leaders Exchange Day

Sophomores and juniors spent Tuesday, September 24, at the University of Cincinnati sharing ideas with other high school leaders dedicated to service learning.

“I was interested in attending the Student Service Leaders Exchange to find more ways and organizations that I can help,” said Anna Nevius ‘22.

Mikayala Jette ‘21 agreed, “I wanted to go to the Student Service Leaders Exchange because I wanted to learn more about ways to serve my community and be a leader for my peers through this service.”

During the Student Service Leaders Exchange, the students participated in small and large group activities, as well as hearing from local service leaders.

“I learned about the diversity of people, thoughts, and actions,” shared Grace Schaefer ‘22. “I was able to interact with other students from different backgrounds who contributed different perspectives to conversations, which was a very unique experience.”

“Something that really stood out for me was the organization Project Connect,” said AJ Solomon ‘21. “They help serve and give better opportunities to less fortunate kids to get a better education and graduate high school. We watched a video about what they do, and it really made me understand that I shouldn't ever take my situation for granted.”

When reflecting on the educational day experience, Chi Ejinaka ‘21 said, “I think people should know that this experience allows students to discover so many areas in society that need help from the next generation, and it allows kids to get connected to several service agencies in Ohio that are working to better our world. Plus, it offers ways for students to bring back certain activities to their school and teach their classmates about some troubles in society and how to help change that.”

Claire Leingang '21 agreed, "The Student Service Leaders Exchange is an amazing opportunity to learn all about several different issue areas that you are passionate about! It is a great place to foster new ideas and take back what you learned and came up with to CJ!"

Posted September 26, 2019

Solid Measures: Standards Based Grading

Helping students become masters of what they’re learning — that’s one of the main objectives of CJ’s new grading system approach called standards based. The school’s academic assistant principal, Steve Fuchs, broke down the main purposes of this system:

  • to separate the reporting of academic content and non-academic skills;
  • to focus on learning; and,
  • to not penalize students as they navigate new content.

“A standards based system usually includes multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of a standard,” Fuchs said. “This does not mean we are decreasing rigor. Instead, we are pushing students towards mastery since students have the option to demonstrate mastery later if they did not demonstrate it on the first attempt.”

“The biggest impact of standards based grading is the instructional strategy,” principal John Marshall ‘86 added. “This allows students to come back to something they may have missed a couple of weeks prior and now earn credit for mastering that standard.”

“Consider a child who is learning how to tie his shoe,” Fuchs said. “The standard is that the child is able to tie his shoe by himself. Along the way it will take practice and the child will most likely fail many times. However, after enough practice, the child will learn how to do it. When the child is able to demonstrate consistently that he can tie his shoe, he has ‘mastered’ this standard. It does not matter if it took three days or three months to do so, it matters that he has mastered the skill.

“So in a traditional grading system, if a student has an overall grade of 95% in math, it could mean the student knows 92% of the material but earned extra credit and participated in class to earn another 3%,” Fuchs continued. “In a standards based system, a 95% would represent that the student has mastered 95% of the content and has not mastered 5% of the content.”

Many teachers, including science teachers Maura Lemon and Caty Maga, were already using the standards based grading system prior to the 2019-2020 school year. Lemon and Maga spoke about standards based grading at the National Science Teacher Association’s National Conference on Science Education.

“Putting this power into the hands of the students, with the proper guidance and coaching, has the power to change the way students experience learning in a science classroom,” Lemon told her fellow educators. “They are more motivated to seek outside resources, present alternative methods of learning, engage in conversation about their position with the content in terms of mastery, try a second or even a third time to understand challenging concepts, and encourage their classmates to do the same.”

“One of my favorite projects is researching evidence for evolution in two specific species that students choose; however, I warn students that this can be a difficult process as the research is not easy,” Maga shared with the teachers. “Using the standards based approach motivated my students to push themselves and their peers to further delve into new information that I had not seen before.”

Fuchs, who is also a CJ parent, noted, “What I am most excited about is knowing where my child stands in terms of mastering the content standards. I also look forward to the feedback from teachers my child will receive in terms of their learning.”

As first seen in the Spring 2019 Vision — Posted September 18, 2019

"Hanging Out with Jesus" - New Thursday Holy Hour

Students have the opportunity to “hang out with Jesus” after school each Thursday thanks to a new Holy Hour (Eucharistic Adoration).

“For different reasons, kids sometimes hit a spot in their week where they need a little extra Jesus,” shared religion teacher Tim O’Loughlin, who leads the Holy Hour. “The kids need something more than personal prayer and they want to physically spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. So we decided to offer Eucharistic Adoration weekly.

“It's usually a small group and people come and go, as their schedule allows,” O’Loughlin continued. “Sometimes we have live music, sometimes we use a playlist and sometimes it is silent. St. Francis de Sales said, ‘We must visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament a hundred thousand times a day,’ — we're starting with once a week.”

O’Loughlin said students, whether Catholic or not, are invited to attend the Holy Hour.

“Some people think Eucharistic Adoration is only for holy rollers or for the spiritually advanced, whatever that means. Eucharistic Adoration is a fancy name for spending time with Jesus —and it's available for everyone. There are no rules, there is no one best way to adore Jesus. Just show up and you are adoring Him.

“In Adoration, Jesus loves on us. Sitting in front of the Son is like sitting in front of the sun, you can't help but be warmed by it. Your time spent there is between you and the Lord, and, for that reason, it is completely unique and special.”

Posted September 19, 2019

#becauseofCJ: Reflection from Joe '19

Young alumni are continuing to share how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the Annual Fund, you make this happen. When you do, more Eagles can soar! Read Joe’s story below, and consider making your gift today.

Dear CJ Community,

My name is Joe Allaire and I am a graduate of the class of 2019. While at CJ, I ran cross country, swam on the swim team, and played tennis. I was always involved in campus ministry including FLIGHT and Marianist LIFE. Over my time at CJ, I had many chances to develop myself spiritually, mentally, and socially. Today, I am sharing how my transformation socially at CJ has been a huge influence on my life and hopefully influenced others.

When I entered my freshman year, I was pretty reserved. I did not talk much, had a couple people I would say, “Hi,” to, but no real friends. I was just scared to go out of my comfort zone to talk with other people. Once I joined the swim team, I had the opportunity to meet some of the people I would become best of friends with. Once I met them, I was slowly able to start branching out and being more extroverted. Every year since then, I have noticed myself becoming more and more extroverted until sometimes I can be the most talkative person in the room. Something I would never imagine freshman year.

Now, what does this have to do with anything? 

I learned that more than 16 million men and women served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Second World War between 1941-1945 and today, there are roughly only 400,000 service men and women from that war left. I have been really blessed to get to know quite a few of them.

My interest in World War II started soon after I learned that my Grandpa served in that war. Sadly, I was never able to hear anything about his service before he passed away. Nobody in our family really got to hear about where he was or how he served during those years. Having that experience has been an inspiration to hear and record as many stories as I can from who is rightfully called, “The Greatest Generation.” They are called that because they grew up in the Great Depression, were asked to fight and defeated the world powers of German Nazism and Japanese Imperialism, came back, went to college on the GI Bill, started families and then built the country back from the ground up.  Over the last year, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to sit down with and meet at least 15 different World War II vets. What I never expected was that some of these elderly men would become some of my best friends.

That’s right, every weekend I get up and head on over to the Germantown Veterans Memorial Museum to sit at the front desk and hang around with my buddies in their 90’s (I do a little work around the place every once and while)! When they all get together and start talking about the war, it’s like they are 18 again with their arguing and joking around with each other. It is so good for them to have others to talk to about their experiences. The community at the museum is a source of strength and consistency in their lives.

The lessons I have learned through the interviews and general conversations have been so valuable in my understanding of them and my own life.

The first lesson that World War II veterans constantly remind me of is humility. They will not talk about what they did in the war unless you ask them. Many live in small homes and have minimalist possessions.  They focus on you whenever you interact with them. I am always blown away by how they always want to know about how my wisdom teeth came out or when my next tennis match is! Meeting them has been a great reminder to be humble.

The second lesson is that this generation is going to be gone very soon. The youngest World War II veterans are in their 90’s. Many of them are in nursing homes or hospice care. At one of our veteran “get together” brunches, I had a man sit me down, look me straight in the eye and say, “You know son, our generation is taking all the hell we saw to the grave with us and once we are gone, what we witnessed will go with us.” That made me stop and think about what I can do to keep those memories alive, because if we forget our history we are bound to repeat it. I figured I could just talk to one veteran at a time and tell others their stories. I had the chance to speak with a Holocaust Survivor while on my CJ Senior Trip who had the same message for me, she said, “Don’t you forget about us.” I hope that the little I am doing will help someone someday understand what it was like.

The last lesson I learned is that whatever you do, your service can be appreciated. As a kid, I always thought that all veterans must have had a gun and gone to war on the frontlines. Shortly after interviewing a couple people did I realize that there were so many different jobs and roles that these men could have served in to help the war effort. Their service, although less combat and shooting, still remains valiant in that they were called out of their ordinary life to do something extraordinary — and while doing their job, they literally saved the world. Now that I understand that, it makes it much easier to talk to them about their experience.

If it were not for my development at CJ to branch out and be able to talk with others, I would never have had the courage to call up complete strangers and interview them. But now, I’ve been able to interview men who liberated concentration camps in Nazi Germany, stormed beaches in the Pacific, survived Pearl Harbor, and saved countless lives with medicine on the battlefield — all because of the transformation that I undertook while at CJ.

Last month, I moved into Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis and am living with around 40 other men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood. I am also attending Marian University which is right down the street. I am super excited to start this year and have a lot of thanks to Chaminade Julienne for the formation they provided for me within a big time of change in my life.

The last thing I will say is that if you have a living relative who is a World War II veteran, I cannot recommend enough coming down to the Germantown Veterans Memorial Museum (123 South Main Street, Germantown, OH 45327  |  Open Saturdays 12-4 p.m. and Sundays 2-6 p.m.). There are more than 4,000 veterans’ stories on display from every conflict in American History. Everyone there would absolutely love to meet you and let you hear their stories if they wish to share.

The actual last thing is to never forget to be grateful. Thank any veteran when you see them and especially if you see a little old man in a nursing home with a ball cap on.

It really makes their day.

Joe Allaire, Class of 2019

Posted September 11, 2019

Class of 2021 Explores Opportunities at Annual Service Fair

Representatives from dozens of local non-profit organizations set up tables, along with a sign-up sheet, waiting for members of the Class of 2021 to say, “Yes.”

The annual junior service fair on Tuesday, September 10, gave students the opportunity to learn more about those organizations before offering their time and talent.

“The students can see the organization’s representative's face and hear from them first hand,” said Ministry & Service Director Kelli Kinnear. “If we had said, ‘Go find an organization on your own,’ the students might miss out on an opportunity. But here, when they see a representative face-to-face, the students might say, ‘Oh, I never heard of that organization before — I’m going to go talk to them.’

That was the case for Chiamaka Ejinaka ‘21.

“Before coming to the service fair, I was interested in poverty and homelessness — and I’m still leaning towards that. But I was surprised to see that many of the organizations work with kids. It’s nice to see them doing work with the future of the nation and I hope that in my free time during the summer I may have the opportunity to work with one of those organizations.”

Ben Campion ‘21 gravitated towards a subject he was interested in — the outdoors.

“Five River Metro Parks was appealing to me. Having the service fair was a lot easier than trying to research about these organizations on my own.”

Mia Andrews-Pope ‘21 said, “There were a lot of good organizations to choose from and some I didn’t know of before. I’m looking forward to getting a different experience and finding an appreciation so that I might be able to do this more than just for school.”

That is exactly what Kinnear is hoping for the juniors’ futures.

“Overwhelmingly we have had many students who go above their required service hours — some go into their senior year and beyond. I’ve also known some cases where students end up getting hired on as staff at these non-profits because of the connections they made through their service requirements.

“I’m a strong supporter of service requirements because some of these students may not have been exposed to these organizations if not for these requirements. My thought is that by having a service requirement it will inspire students to begin showcasing one of the characteristics of a CJ graduate — someone who is in the process of becoming service-oriented.”

Posted September 11, 2019

Junior Selected for All-State Band

It’s an honor that hasn’t been accomplished in the CJ community for more than a decade. Anna Mussin-Phillips ‘21 (St. Mary of the Assumption, Springboro) was selected as one of ten flautists to perform in the 2020 All-State Band.

“I am very excited,” said Mussin-Phillips.

“Very proud,” is how performing arts director, Debi Schutt, described the honor. “I am proud as a director and proud of our program and school to be recognized and represented at this level.”

The All-State Band will perform in January at the Ohio Music Education Association conference in Cincinnati. Mark Scatterday, a professor of conducting and chair of the Conducting and Ensembles Department at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, will serve as the guest conductor.

“To work with a guest conductor from Eastman and to be immersed in rehearsals and the music making process for three days is pretty incredible,” Schutt noted.

Mussin-Phillips has been playing flute since she was eight years old.

“My first instrument was the piano,” shared Mussin-Phillips. “Then I started playing the cello and flute around the same time.”

Additional recent accolades for Mussin-Phillips includes being named to the 2019-2020 Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and being named a “Rising Star” by Discover Classical radio. Six musicians from the area received that recognition and performed at the Rising Stars Gala in June.

Mussin-Phillips said she intends to pursue music in college, whether that be performing or in education.

Posted September 5, 2019