Alumni Return for CJ Eagles Summer Camps

Most students do not return to school during the summertime, but several alumni have taken time out of their busy schedules to stop by many CJ Eagle Summer Camps to share their talents with younger students. Most recently, alumni returned to CJ during the STEMM: Computer Science & Technology camp.

"I thrive on being able to bring local professionals from the community into the classroom especially when they're CJ graduates," shared CJ STEMM Coordinator Meg Draeger. "I'm amazed by the scope and variety of careers our alumni choose."

Hanen Alkhafaji '07 and Matt Mize '98 were just two of the CJ graduates to visit during the camp.

"I really like working with younger students," expressed Alkhafaji. "I think it's fun because I remember how it was when I was learning all of this stuff. To see the kids as they're discovering this is exciting."

Mize agreed, "It's exciting to be here. I enjoy watching kids respond to the programming and maybe later on a few kids will get into this. If this is their temperament, it's a great way to be doing something they love."

Mize shared that his passion for computer programming started in a CJ classroom. 

"I got into computer science at CJ because there was a Marianist teacher, Brother Bob Wiethorn, who had a programming class I was able to take," Mize said. "I had no interest prior to this in computer science. Because of the class, I fell into programming."

Alkhafaji reflected that she too did not think about computer sciences as a career at first.

"My dad enforced that I needed backup plan," noted Alkhafaji. "I always liked computers growing up but I took the chemistry and biology classes because I thought I was going to go into the medical field.  To escape from the chemistry and biology work I would work on computer programming projects."

Both Alkhafaji and Mize assist with other STEMM programming throughout the school year including the Special Ops Club, CJ STEMM Idol, and the Hour of Code.

"I am amazed by the professionalism and expertise of our alumni and how they're willing to share it," Draeger said. "The whole idea of living the faith and wanting to give back to the community and CJ is present."

Alumni have also assisted at other camps this summer including volleyball camp, boys basketball camp, musical theatre camp and performing arts camp.

Posted July 21, 2016