Family Kick-Off Night

Families of seventh and eighth grade summer camp participants descended upon CJ’s campus Saturday , Oct. 9 to enjoy fun activities and a cook out with students and faculty at the new Student Conditioning Center and Blue Green Field.

Eagle Ambassadors greeted guests with handshakes, hello’s, and a special t-shirt as they arrived at Blue Green Field Saturday evening. Families were treated to dinner—including hamburgers, hot dogs, and Spanish-style pastries—while members of the Eagle Pep band performed.  Youngsters played games of football and tag outside before activities got underway in the Student Conditioning Center.

“From when we first got out of the car there were CJ students welcoming us,” said Rachel Collopy, who was in attendance at the newly created Family Kickoff Night with her husband David and son Zachary, an eighth grader at Oakwood Junior High School. “You definitely don’t feel like a stranger here.”

Following dinner, and with the band leading the way, junior high families filed in to the facility for the opportunity to test out all of its accommodations.  Parents, along with their sons and daughters, got in on the action competing in games of soccer, basketball, football, putt-putt, and even crew contests on the team’s indoor rowing machines.

“I think for a high school this is a really fantastic facility, you don’t see this in most high schools,” Mrs. Collopy said. Her husband agreed, commenting, “The weight room is just incredible.”  Along with athletics, guests could take part in Quiz Bowl sports trivia and CJ STEMM-centered activities.

CJ STEMM camper Zachary Collopy came with his parents to check out the new additions to campus after he participated in the Eagle for a Day program, where grade schoolers get to shadow a CJ student. “The Student Conditioning Center is nothing like what any public school I’ve ever seen before has,” he said.

Family Kickoff Night, a brand new event allowing prospective families an on-campus look at CJ, was implemented by first-year Admissions Coordinator Brett Chmiel, ’02, who previously served for three years as the school’s assistant director of ministry and service. The night capped off around 7 p.m. with an informal awards ceremony for the winners of each competition and a prize raffle for all invited families; however, no one left empty handed—kids were given CJ mini-footballs on their way out.

“The more things you can do like this to involve the elementary kids the better, because they look forward to coming to CJ,” said Julieta Phillips, CJ parent and mother of three. Julieta and her husband Steve attended with their daughters, Courtney, a CJ sophomore; Cassie, an eighth grader participating in CJ’s concert band and taking honors algebra at the school; and Suzie, a seventh grader at Our Lady of the Rosary.

“I send my children to CJ because of the big Marianist influence and the sense of community, and I truly believe it is a Catholic school in every sense of the word,” Mrs. Phillips said, although she is not sure where her seventh grader might end up.

“Our youngest keeps saying she wants to go to [a different Dayton-area high school], then she comes to these functions and says, ‘I want to go to CJ,’” she laughed. “It makes a big difference.”