December 2020

Recognition in a Rocky Year

“This sounds cheesy, but I tell my students, they get to watch me do what I really love every day.”

Libby Harbaugh, Spanish teacher at CJ, received recognition from The Hope Scholarship Corporation through Echo Boutique in Troy, OH for her outstanding work as a teacher and a mentor at CJ.

“Though the recognition is not why we do what we do, every teacher deserves a window like this, especially this year, when doubting ourselves may come more easily,” said Harbaugh. “As I'm sure many teachers and school staff would agree, things like this that come straight from the students — their words, time and energy to say ‘thank you’ or to recognize what we do — mean so much.”

Harbaugh noted how grateful she is to be a part of the CJ community, something that has helped make Dayton her home after moving here and staying after her collegiate career.

“There are not enough words to describe the opportunities, support and affirmation this community provides to me on a daily basis, from the students and their families to my coworkers and beyond,” said Harbaugh. “Thank you to Lauren for this most special reminder of the good and the light in this dark season. And thank you to Echo Boutique and the Hope Scholarship Corp. for taking a moment to recognize teachers! What a wild year to be in this role. What an important year to be in this role. Onward!”

Lauren Sass, a senior this year at CJ, nominated Harbaugh. Through their time together in Spanish II her freshman year and throughout her career at CJ, Sass appreciated the effort Harbaugh put into not only providing a proper education, but developing relationships with her students that go beyond the classroom.

“When you think about a teacher, your first thoughts are always about what they do in the classroom to inspire you and how they motivate you to do better,” said Sass. “What makes Ms. Harbaugh stand out is what she does to impact our lives in and out of the classroom.”

In her nomination, Sass described Harbaugh as a teacher who "continuously goes above and beyond for her students, whether it is with a joke to brighten a gloomy day, making sure things are going well for them at home, mental health check-ins, or countless other acts of kindness.

“Ms. Harbaugh is a young teacher,” said Sass. “She relates to us as students and as young adults. She cares about us as individuals. She understands what it is like to be a high school student and all of the excitement and anxiety that we go through. She is the teacher that puts us before herself to make sure we are primed for success in and out of the classroom.”

One moment truly stood out for Sass as she reflected on how Harbaugh had impacted her life as a CJ student. A family friend of hers had passed away and Harbaugh noticed the emotional toll this was placing on Sass during the school day.

“She saw I was hurting and came to me to offer love and support,” said Sass. “I found out she did other things for my friends too. Her small gestures have made big impacts in my life and others.”

Harbaugh also excels at “showing up” for her students outside of the classroom. At any given CJ event, you can find her cheering her students on from the stands, checking tickets at the gate or assisting her students and the community as a whole.

“Whether she is cheering in the stands, working in the press box, or hanging out with students around the stadium, she is present in our lives,” said Sass. “She interacts with us. She connects with us. We see her at these events and even if we’re not the ones on the field or on the court, it means so much to look up and see a teacher giving up her evening or weekend to support the CJ students.”

One instance of this occurred just a few months ago. As CJ students dealt with the sadness of not being able to attend home sporting events due to COVID-19 restrictions, a school-sponsored watch party for seniors was assembled for the final football home game at Roger Glass Stadium. Harbaugh jumped at the opportunity to chaperone, going above and beyond to help encourage the senior community to attend the event.

Another instance occurred at the most recent senior Kairos retreat. Harbaugh made it a point to sit and interact with students on the retreat during lunches in lieu of sitting with her fellow teachers and chaperones to supplement some of the one-on-one, personal intimacy lost at the retreat due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Ms. Harbaugh is the perfect example of a teacher creating a legacy of love, hope, and community with each student at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School,” said Sass.


-- This story was originally published on Dec. 15.

Support & Guidance

In this season of preparing for our Savior's birth, we share a story of hope from one of our own, Cory Hardin, pictured above with his family: (l-r) Quinn, AKea, Lakin, Cory, Rylann, and Teagan. In his role as guidance counselor, assistant football coach, club moderator for students in action, and previous member of the Cuvilly team, Cory has inspired many young people during his five years at CJ.  In his giving, he has also received much more in return. It's a CJ story of comfort and joy made possible because of this community and you!

Dear CJ community;

You could say that 2020 has tested our resolve and challenged us in many ways. As a guidance counselor, coach, and club moderator, I’ve seen how our young people have adjusted to a new way of living and a new way of learning. Because of your support, CJ has created an atmosphere of hopefulness and opportunity long before this year’s challenges. Two young gentlemen quickly come to mind: Jon Bell ‘18 and Jake Hieatt ’20. Through determination and grit, they overcame adversity and share a story of hope.

About Jon

I met Jon his sophomore year. He had a rough time ― tough living conditions and his parents were no longer part of his life. Because Jon attended CJ, programs were in place to help him succeed and a support team of teachers, counselors, and coaches became his family.

When I was asked to look after Jon, I didn't hesitate. I got to know Jon over the next three years and saw him progress. It truly became a father/son relationship. I remember taking him to a couple of college visits to just see if that was an avenue for him. I was definitely blessed by this young man. He taught me what hopefulness really means. Even though he had everything stacked against him; he was able to fight through it to overcome so much adversity, at such a young age.

Coach Hardin was a big part of me getting through CJ. He did a lot of things that I didn't ever expect from anyone, like walking me across the field on my senior night. He was definitely more than just a coach for me; he was a father figure. He pushed me to be my best every day! He was always someone I could come to with any of my problems when I needed to get away and just talk. He never let me down. Having him as a coach and teacher was a blessing in disguise and made me the man I am today. I owe him so much.” – Jon Bell ‘18, graduate from Hobart School of Welding

It’s because of YOU and support to the CJ Annual Fund, that we can continue to be that light for each other.

About Jake

I met Jake as a freshman on the football team. His home life was not ideal and his attitude prevented him from progressing as a player. Through many long talks at football practice and in the guidance office, I watched an amazing transformation. Jake humbled himself and matured. As a senior, he rejoined football, embraced the team spirit, and kept his grades up. When I presented his diploma last spring, it was a tender moment. Beaming with pride, I watched Jake walk across the stage with a huge smile. He made it and I got to cheer him on every step of the way.

I honestly didn’t like Coach Hardin much at first. I had that ‘freshman mentality’ and I stepped away from football for a couple of years. Coach Hardin convinced me to come back my senior year. It was tough mentally and physically, but that was the best time of my life. The football guys are a family and we really bonded. I know I will have these friendships for life. Coach Hardin helped me persevere through some very tough times. His guidance office became my ‘safe place.’ His style is so comforting when you feel like the world is crashing in on you, he’d say – ‘let’s calm down and see what we can do.’  I wouldn’t have made it without him. I continue to stay in touch and I know Coach Hardin will always be part of my family." – Jake Hieatt ‘20, freshman at Walsh University

My path

Along with Jon and Jake, CJ became a family for me. Over the years, your gifts have sustained a caring community that gives many people hope.

CJ gave me a chance. They hired and promoted me when other applicants were probably better equipped and better prepared. That’s the beauty of this community. You’re nurtured, given an opportunity to grow, and find a path that challenges you as a person. Jon and Jake showed me that there are so many reasons to have hope and continue on, even when life’s circumstances seem overwhelming.

In the midst of this ongoing pandemic, gifts of every size to the CJ Annual Fund bring hope. As part of our CJ alumni family, your support has allowed us to keep the family spirit strong as we’ve all learned to adapt and change to new ways of learning and living.

Let’s continue to stay United Together CJ!

With gratitude,

Cory Hardin,
Assistant Football Coach, Guidance Team, Students in Action Moderator