October 2019

Top Three Reasons to Attend a Parent Reception

Parents preparing for their child’s high school education can hear first hand what makes Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School an excellent option. The CJ admissions office hosts parent receptions for those wishing to learn more about the school, the community, and how a faith-filled education is preparing the world’s future leaders.

Parents should attend a CJ parent reception for three reasons:

1. The receptions are held in person at CJ and virtually
Parents are invited to visit us on campus or have the flexibility to attend a reception virtually.

2. Receptions are held in a casual atmosphere.
No suit and tie required! These receptions are for parents to feel comfortable asking questions about the school, the community, and what students will gain from being an Eagle.

3. Parents will talk to those who are already part of the CJ community.
Parents who have a child at CJ were once in the same positions as parents interested in learning more about the school. Those who attend a parent reception will hear why parents chose CJ for their child and how they are a part of the CJ Community.

If you would like to learn more about parent receptions, contact Jeanne Spitzig, administrative assistant, at 937-461-3740 x249 or jspitzig@cjeagles.org

Hear from a current parent about the CJ experience:


Students Honored for Their Peace Plans

Students wanting to create peace for all, especially in the Dayton area, took part and were recognized for their peace plans as part of an initiative inspired by the Dayton Peace Festival.

Chris Borland, a Dayton-area native, started the Dayton Peace Festival in response to the Oregon District shooting in August. Along with activities to bring self-peace and community-peace, he encouraged students to propose peace plans and peace poems. CJ students participated in this contest, with a Senior Capstone group being recognized as the winner.

Human-to-Human, the Senior Capstone group created by Madison Meixner (Montessori School of Dayton), Kaitlin Stewart (St. Peter/Riverside), and Mia Tillar (St. Albert the Great/Kettering) aims to focus on racial stereotypes and try to erase them through educating people and start conversations about race. 

“Conversation is important because it allows people to share their opinions and thoughts on certain issues, topics, and interests,” the seniors said. “When people converse, they are often opened to different perspectives, opportunities, and communities. Through conversing, it allows people from various backgrounds, whether it’s religious, ethnic, racial, or sexual to really understand one another in how they are similar and diverse.

“With this peace plan, our goal is to push the boundaries of talking about race and open conversation up to the CJ and Dayton communities. In the past, race has been a big issue and something sensitive, but we want to show that when you have conversations, it can be something so special and insightful. We want to be models for our school and the Dayton community by starting good dialogue about race, people’s experiences, and how we can impact those around us. This project can make an impact on this issue because it will help make connections and break down barriers to allow all people to be treated with dignity and come together as a community of diversity.”

Also recognized for a peace plan was Lyndsey Carter ‘20 (St. Albert the Great).

“I developed a plan to help with the mental health epidemic in the Dayton community to help foster a more peaceful and safe environment,” Carter said. “This plan will offer more accessible mental health resources so that a tragedy like the shooting in the Oregon District  could be prevented in the future.”

Cyrus Good ‘21 (St. Anthony) was also recognized for submitting a peace plan.

“I wrote about a plan for better transportation in Old North Dayton,” Good shared. “Overall, writing it was thrilling because it caused me to formulate a plan for the betterment of other people, and it got me thinking about how I could make Dayton a better place. It has reminded me to be creative in coming up with solutions to problems I can see in my community.”

For the group Human-to-Human, they predict they’ll be putting their plan into action sooner than later.

“We plan on creating a podcast and releasing our first one in November,” the seniors said. “We are discussing how we want to create conversation by inviting people from the CJ community and Dayton area to come onto our podcast and have a conversation with some guided questions about race and how they’ve dealt with discrimination. We also hope to dabble in a couple other topics such as mental health, religion, sexuality, etc. Some of these topics can be hard to talk about, but they are important to talk about.

“Taking these first steps with our podcast will open the doors to creating good connections and maybe changing opinions.”

Posted October 31, 2019

Senior Capstone Group Organizes Ocean Cleanup

What does 50 pounds of trash look like? It may not seem like a large amount, especially if the trash is in a large landfill. But for two seniors, it was 50 pounds of trash that was picked up in less than two hours along a Rhode Island beach that reinforced their Senior Capstone topic — to focus more on recycling and throwing away less trash.

Sydney Jackson ‘20 and Lia-Sophie Keller ‘20 said they became interested in this topic through their love of animals.

“Animals were a big part of our interest in this project. We both love animals and when we saw how much sea-life is affected by ocean pollution, we felt like we needed to try to do something about it. We also started noticing litter around us and the amount of items that could be recycled, but were not.”

As part of the implementation of their project, the group gathered volunteers and spent part of a Saturday collecting trash off a beach in Rhode Island (where Keller is studying this school year).

“The clean up went really well,” the group shared. “Everyone who took part of the clean up was so happy to be there and was shocked with the amount of trash they were able to pick up. While cleaning, we felt like we were truly making a difference. Even though this clean up took place on one of the many hundreds of beaches around the world, we felt like we made an impact on ocean pollution. It was awesome to see everyone come together for one cause.”

“The group was well organized and did a great job promoting this cleanup,” said Capstone mentor Tony Ricciuto ‘74.

Part of the group’s capstone project also included speaking to elementary students about the importance of recycling.

“This Capstone project has attracted people from different generations,” Ricciuto reflected.

“We hope that this project and experience will allow others to see just how important taking care of the environment is,” the group added. “We hope that others learn the importance of the saying, “reduce, reuse, recycle,’ and the fact that by taking part in those three things, ocean pollution can be prevented. With that in mind, we hope that after others see our project and hear about our experience, that they decide to make simple daily-life changes. Some of these changes may include using reusable bags at the grocery store, using paper straws or no straws, and making an effort to recycle when possible.”

The capstone group also created an Instagram page to highlight their efforts.

Posted October 24, 2019

CJ Community Participating in Make a Difference Day

Each year students, faculty and staff at Chaminade Julienne participate in National Make a Difference Day. This annual community service event is being held Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26, 2019 at dozens of sites across the Miami Valley and the nation.

The CJ community has participated in Make a Difference Day for more than 20 years. The event was previously known as Join Hands Miami Valley and is sponsored by the United Way.

This year, CJ groups will be giving their time and talents at sites including:

  • 4 Paws for Ability
  • Catholic Social Services
  • Dayton Right to Life
  • Five Rivers Metroparks
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Marianist Environmental Education Center
  • Rebuilding Together Dayton
  • Wesley Community Center

Some CJ volunteers are participating with a specific club or team. Groups including student council, FLIGHT, Eagles for Life, Cuvilly, and several athletic teams are participating in one or more of the 16 CJ service sites.

Earlier in the month, members of Eagle Pride provided their Make a Difference Day service at the 7th annual Brunner Literacy Center 5K Run/Walk. The group provided great cheer, spirit and encouragement to all those who came out for the event.

You can see where the Eagles will be in action for National Make a Difference Day by following the CJ Ministry & Service Twitter page.

Posted October 24, 2019

New Coaches Making Strides and Waves with Eagles

This school year, three new coaches were introduced to lead two athletic teams. The men’s cross country team was under new leadership this season with co-head coaches Lonnie Adkins and Paul Beyerle. In their first season as co-head coaches, the men’s cross country team led the way at several meets.

In September, the team placed 4th out of 30 teams at the Cedarville Invitational. Four Eagles placed in the top 50 and received medals — Sean Gideon ‘20 (12th), Ian Cormier ‘20 (27th), Luke Mitchell ‘23 (31st) and Trey Myers ‘20 (44th). At the Firebird Invitational, the Eagles finished 1st in the Blue Division. Those in the top 20 received medals and included six Eagles — Gideon (5th), Cormier (6th), Myers (10th), Mitchell (12th), Eric Meyer ‘21 (13th) and CJ Greek ‘20 (17th).

At the GCL Conference Meet on October 12, the Eagles placed third overall. Placing in the top 20 included Gideon (9th), Myers (10th), Cormier (15th) and Mitchell (16th). The top five runners for the Eagles had an average time of 17 minutes and 14 seconds. The Eagles will race next in the district competition on October 19.

On Tuesday, October 15, the Eagles new men’s and women’s swimming head coach was introduced. Kevin Van Buskirk replaces Kate Corrado Whistler ‘90 who sadly passed away in July. Joining Van Buskirk is a familiar face for the Eagles — Ellen Brown was an assistant coach last year and is assisting again this season.

Van Buskirk was a scholarship swimmer with West Virginia University. He has previous coaching experience with Shelby High School from 2015-2016 and is on the board at the Dayton Raiders Swim Club.

“I am most looking forward to this community,” said Van Buskirk. “We have swimmers with all varying levels of talent and I’m looking forward to this season.”

Students interested in swimming this season with the Eagles are asked to contact Van Buskirk at kvanbuskirk@cjeagles.org.

Posted October 17, 2019

Reflecting on Hispanic Heritage Month

As Hispanic Heritage month came to a close, those with Hispanic lineage gathered together for a picture outside of the CJ Welcome Center. Included in that picture was English teacher Dan Eiser. He shared the following reflection about what his Hispanic heritage, and the Chaminade Julienne community, means to him.


“But you aren’t like really Mexican.”

That was the turn of phrase I would hear over and over again in high school from kids often not realizing exactly what they were saying — as if there is some checklist of things you need to really be considered Mexican by everyone. I would always just smile and let the comments be. This was despite my insides exploding. I would often think it was just my fair skin which stood in stark contrast to my mother’s. Or the fact that I didn’t grow up bilingual and was having to sit in the same Spanish class as them.

Unfortunately it took time for me to find my voice and speak up for myself. Ultimately that confidence has guided me in my career at CJ. This isn’t as much a knock on those students or the school community I had (I loved my high school experience) but rather an observation on how a lack of exposure to different cultures manifested in my peers. For a lot of my friends through grade school and into high school I was only one of a few Latinos, or in some cases THE only, they had ever been in class with. And it is those interactions with other types of people that was needed to help my classmates grow in order to provide a better learning environment for all.

At CJ I have been blessed. From the first day I found out I would be teaching here, the student body’s diversity appealed to me. I wasn’t used to a student body like this. I had never spent a school day in a high school with girls (I went to an all boys high school) let alone one with students from so many different backgrounds. What I was really intrigued by though, were some of the names on my student rosters, names of Latinx students.

I remember that feeling well. I called my mom and said, “Ma, listen to some of these names. I can’t wait.” And as the students got to know me and my story, I learned for a lot of them, that representation on the teaching staff excited them too. Because for groups that aren’t used to seeing someone like them in certain roles, representation really does make a difference. And one of the things I have loved seeing is the growth of our Latinx community here at CJ. My first year I would typically have 2-3 students in a class with Latinx heritage. Some classes none.

Now CJ, through a conscious effort, has a much larger Latinx community. And this is important because as Dayton’s Latinx community continues to grow, we want the school to grow with it. And also as a result, I have noticed that the students from Latinx backgrounds are more willing to share their gifts and culture with other students. For this year’s freshmen, it is just normal to also have other Latinx students in class around them. They feel comfortable to display that pride that it took me until the end of my college years to really put out for everyone to see. In my freshman classes, it’s normal to have multiple students holding a conversation in Spanish with one student then English with another. This offers something unique to our students.

CJ shaped my mission as a teacher. I look back on my own experience and around our school building and think about how I can be that similar role model for Latinx students here at school. What is my role in providing a more comfortable environment for them to learn? How can I make sure I don’t fail in my mission?

I didn’t have a Latinx teacher growing up or in high school. I didn’t have an adult with a similar background in the building who I could go to get advice from or look to for an example. I don’t want that to be the case for my students. Whether they take advantage of that or not, I want them to have the option because I didn’t. I want them to know I have pride in who I am. I display pictures of my family, I will talk about my family and I want my students to also have no fear of telling us about their family. I want them to feel comfortable to be themselves without fear of other students, the way that I wish I was in high school.

If we can do that then all the other students will gain knowledge and a respect for all cultures. So that they aren’t in a classroom telling a kid that they aren’t really Mexican, or Salvadoran, or Honduran, or Puerto Rican, or Cuban, or Guatalamen, or any of the other distinct Latino cultures our students come from and the gifts they bring to our community.

Posted October 15, 2019

Celebrating 20 Years of Cuvilly

For 20 years, Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School has offered a program providing direct support to students with varying levels of needs and a specific focus on the whole person, academics, social and post secondary experiences.

The Cuvilly program, named in honor of the birthplace of St. Julie Billiart, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, is the only in-depth special education program in Catholic high schools in the Dayton area.

“We serve students who range from low-functioning to high-functioning and everything in-between,” director of Cuvilly, Judi MacLeod ‘88, said. “Students in Cuvilly take all types of courses — general through AP, and are involved in sports, ministry & service, and clubs just like all other CJ students. You really can not tell a difference from a Cuvilly and Non-Cuvilly student.”

On Friday, October 11, current students, alumni of Cuvilly and their families will celebrate the anniversary of Cuvilly prior to the home football game. The following day, the group will attend Mass at Emmanuel Catholic Church and then enjoy dinner in the CJ cafeteria.

Throughout all 20 years, MacLeod has led the program and more recently, has been assisted with intervention specialists. John Gutendorf ‘00 and Gretchen Wolfe have been with MacLeod for the last few years.

“These 20 years have flown by,” MacLeod said. “It’s great to see so many of my students grow up to be productive citizens of our community makes me so proud of all of them.”

Posted October 10, 2019

#becauseofCJ: Reflection from Brianna '17

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 Brianna’s story below, and consider making your gift today.

Dear CJ Community,

When I look back on my time at CJ, my heart is filled with both love and fond memories, folded in with a lot of hard work and late nights that were eventually worth all of their pain. I think back on the times I walked the halls that were once filled with green and blue lockers and now, two and a half years after graduating, I am beyond grateful.

I first walked through the side door on Washington Street in the Fall of 2013. With nothing but a few grade school friends and my siblings’ reputations preceding me, I was scared to death of being forever known as “Little Gavin”, a trouble-maker, and a “problem” that couldn’t be erased. Nevertheless, I sat myself in my honors classes, kept myself closed off for months, and buried myself deeply in the sense of achievement and the hope that I would be overlooked by those around me. But no one at CJ let me slip through the cracks.

My time at CJ went on and as my home life grew more and more tumultuous, I relied more heavily on the family I built for myself at CJ. Within a matter of weeks into my sophomore year, I found myself in a single parent, low-income household where I had to be a leader and care for my two younger siblings. With this being my home life, I began treasuring my time at CJ more and more every day by coming to school an hour early and leaving an hour after school ended. Chaminade Julienne, without exaggeration, became my home.

In my home built of classrooms and desks were dozens of supportive, loving, caring adult mentors who carried me to and through some of my toughest trials and tribulations. Mornings and afternoons spent having conversations with Ms. Ketch, an encouraging word from Mrs. O’, a detour on my way back to class with Mrs. Saunders, a joke from Mrs. DeLong, a “Hi best friend” to Mrs. Mason, a hug from Mrs. Bonner, and a smile and hopeful conversation from Ms. Ruffolo is what got me through much of my time there. I am forever grateful for those and many more caring adults who impacted me. I will never forget planning dances through Student Council, creating and leading the Red Cross Club, being an Eagle Ambassador, calling alumni through my Student Development Chair role, spirit weeks, football games, Solsberry mission trips, dances, early mornings for Liturgical Choir, snowball fights in the senior lot, and learning the words to the Alma Mater at the pep rallies.

When I wanted to give up on myself and on my dreams, no one at CJ let me. When I didn’t believe in myself, they believed in me. When my tuition was overdue and I couldn’t pay it, CJ did everything they could to help me. When I couldn’t pay for a NHS stole, one of my fellow classmates stepped in and paid for it. When I didn’t want to complete assignments and I thought I was never going to cross the stage at graduation (mostly because of a missing gym credit…), everyone at CJ came together and helped me not only get to graduation, but do so with almost a full ride to the University of Dayton waiting before me.

From the moment I started thinking about what my life would be like after leaving my home, CJ, I thought no further than a typical minimum wage job and no schooling. I did not believe I had any potential to get into any college. Despite my course load of honors and AP classes, high ACT scores, and heavy involvement and leadership, I had no belief in myself.

I will never forget the day in the fall of 2016 when I walked into the Guidance Office and was handed a manila folder with my name written across the top of it. Inside this folder, my guidance counselor had college flyers and scholarship information and she explained to me that no matter what, I was going to make it. That day she handed me a flyer and explained a new scholarship program called “Flyer Promise” at the University of Dayton. After talking me into interviewing and applying, on February 22, 2017, I received a red drawstring bag and acceptance into a program that has altered my life forever. I felt so much gratitude as I sat across from two strangers with my eyes watering and a smile that said it all. This, all because of CJ.

Because of CJ, I made it to college. Because of CJ, I lead on campus. Because of CJ, I am instilled with a deeply rooted respect for those of diverse backgrounds, races, religions, cultures, genders, socioeconomic status, and other assorted identities. I am the person I am because of CJ.

At the age of 20, I have grown from my experiences at CJ. I am now pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology. I have served as a PEER Mentor in the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center, a Tutor-Counselor for UD’s Upward Bound, Researcher in the Psychology Department, Active Minds Co-President, and Chair of UD’s Student Government Association Mental Health Committee. If I had not begun this leadership while at CJ, I would not have the capacity to do it now.

The skills, faith, and family that CJ gifted me with did not leave me when I crossed the graduation stage in May of 2017. I am blessed to go to college with three of my fellow Kairos leaders, to be in a scholarship program with more than 20 of my fellow high school classmates, and to be roommates and live with my best friend from grade school and high school. I am reminded daily of the blessings afforded to me through the deeply rooted love of green and blue.

Gifts and donations made to Chaminade Julienne are what saved and changed the course of my life. If I had gone to another high school, I don’t believe I would have received as much care from teachers as I did from the ones I had at CJ and I wholeheartedly believe I would not be where I am now without them. I am only one of thousands of lives that have been forever changed from walking the halls of CJ and I am forever grateful that I got to be a part of the family. Thank you for helping me, encouraging me, and guiding me to where I am today.

With much love and gratitude,

Brianna Gavin, Class of 2017

Posted October 7, 2019

Three Seniors Honored by the National Merit Scholarship Program

Update: Congratulations to Jack Huffman '20 for being named a finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Program!

First Report: It’s an elite honor to be recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the more than 1.5 million entrants each year, only 50,000 are recognized as high scorers based upon their PSAT score. Of the 50,000, two-thirds are recognized as commended students, and one-third is recognized as semi-finalists.

In the Class of 2020, Jack Huffman was named a semi-finalist and Madison Meixner and Libby Kohls were named commended students.

Jack Huffman
Huffman (St. Christopher, Tipp City) is interested in studying biochemistry after high school.

“I have always been intrigued by science in general and the medical world.”

During his time at CJ, he has been involved in multiple activities including mock trial, football, baseball, Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador Board, and National Honor Society.

When reflecting on his time at CJ, Huffman said, “CJ has developed me in a holistic way through my faith and education. CJ has allowed me to thrive in unique environments and with a diverse community of learners.

“I am proud to represent CJ as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. It goes to show the dedication and care the teachers and community at CJ emphasizes in growing each student as a student and a person.”

Libby Kohls
Kohls (St. Albert the Great, Dayton) is interested in studying industrial design in college. She is a member of the colorguard and Busted Box Improv.

“I feel like CJ has really challenged me to try my hardest and grow to become a more self-proficient student. Classes are really challenging and the material is interesting so that helps. CJ has also given me a wide range of options to explore in-class options and in extracurriculars. I felt like I could really explore who I wanted to be and that helped a lot figuring out what I wanted to do in college.”

Madison Meixner
Meixner (Montessori School of Dayton, Bellbrook) is wanting to study international diplomacy and medicine in college. Her favorite subjects at CJ include biology and psychology.

“I love the way that the mind and the body works. The way that everything works together in our body and the way that we think and come to the conclusions that we do is amazing.”

Meixner is a member of the cross country and track teams and is also a member of the school’s a cappella group, Vega.

“I feel like CJ really works on giving us tools to manage ourselves and gain independence. CJ does a good job of emphasizing the whole person — not just academics but also getting involved which I think is important for college.”

Congratulations to these members of the Class of 2020!

Posted October 2, 2019; Updated February 24, 2020

Meteorologist Discusses Climate Change with Students

“I can make a difference and I want to go out and make that difference.”

Mikayla Jette ‘21 is one of the several juniors and seniors studying Modern Topics in Science: The Environment taught by science teacher Caty Maga. On Tuesday, October 1, Maga invited WDTN-TV Meteorologist Carly Smith to her class to discuss climate change and trends in catastrophic weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.

Among the several topics, Smith spoke particularly about the record breaking number of tornadoes that broke out in March across the nation and the Memorial Day tornadoes that struck the Miami Valley.

“Overall the number of days where we are seeing tornadoes is going down, but the number of days where we are seeing outbreaks, which is 25 or more EF1 or greater tornadoes, is going up,” Smith said. “That’s concerning because that is going to lead to more widespread damage.”

Smith also discussed carbon in the atmosphere and how that has an impact on climate.

“There are natural rises and falls of carbon that relate to temperature. While we have seen more carbon in the atmosphere in recent decades, scientists still aren’t completely sure of its direct effects.”

For Jette, learning more about the climate has sparked ideas for the future.

“I didn’t know a lot about the changes in climate before this class and I’m starting to learn a lot. This topic is starting to light a fire in me because I know I can make changes in my carbon footprint such as carpooling or walking instead of driving.

“As I look ahead to my senior year and Senior Capstone Project, even if I don’t work on a project pertaining to the environment, other people may, and I will help them create that change.”

Additional Coverage:
Watch the WDTN-TV report of Meteorologist Carly Smith’s visit here.

Posted October 1, 2019