The Value in Choosing Something Different

You have options” is a phrase that is resonating with prospective parents more than ever. Since 2009, the admissions office has used this idea to encourage parents to explore the kinds of excellent services and academic opportunities that CJ offers families in meeting development and educational goals for their child.

“When parents call and say, ‘I want to know more about my child’s options,’ I know two things about them: they want to find out what CJ provides over other options, and they are not limiting their choice to local schools,” said Brett Chmiel ‘02, director of admissions. “These are parents who aren’t willing to follow traditional routes to neighborhood options without at least taking a look at what’s available at CJ.”

Chmiel said that as more Catholic families from public middle schools consider CJ, they are realizing that their child has the option of thriving at a school that fosters their special qualities. “This is why our community has a good number of leader parents and students who are bold in their decision to choose Chaminade Julienne — even when it means making a different choice than their friends.

“Parents understand the value of a different experience in preparing their child to be successful in college and, for some, the chance at a fresh start for their child. This can be a little tough for a few students who end up doing just fine when school starts, but then you have those who are super excited for the change. Many will tell you later that they met their best friends at CJ,” he said.

Chmiel said that once here, students have the latitude to find their way and even discover new interests at their own pace. Programs continue to evolve and options increase as students request them. In recent years, lacrosse, philanthropy club, development chairs, a cappella groups, string ensemble, flag team and other offerings have been added.

“Parents enjoy sharing with me how their child was welcome to be an athlete, a band kid, an honor student, a member of a service club, a person of faith, and in most cases, many of these all at once,” he said.

“A student at CJ has no social restrictions to what is normal because here normality comes in the form of growing into a unique person of Christ. When a family chooses CJ, they are choosing the option for their child to live as they are called by Christ, which for me, as a faculty member, is exciting because we see students become people of compassion and faith with endless possibilities ahead of them.”

Chmiel says that parents of graduates are excited about how well prepared their child was for freshman year of college. Many attribute the ease of transition to the experiences they had at CJ in meeting and growing alongside of other students from different backgrounds.

“Add this to how they developed at CJ through ecumenical dialogues of faith in the context of Catholic social teaching, learning the value of serving others, and immersing themselves in social justice issues, and you can begin to appreciate how Chaminade Julienne uniquely educates students to take on leadership roles as global citizens,” he said.

Chaminade Julienne is in its third year of increased enrollment. Students have attended 75 different institutions — most located in the Miami Valley and dozens from across the nation and around the world. Families come to CJ from over 50 different zip codes and 18 different demographic types known as prisms — a Nielsen Claritas family identifier program which allows CJ to better understand the kinds of families who choose the CJ experience for their child.

According to Catholic school enrollment consultant Stacey Picard of SDG Advisors, “At most high schools, 80 percent of students come from families from four or five lifestyle profiles. At CJ, we are blessed that our students come from families with 18 different lifestyle profiles. This is an indicator of the breadth of diversity at CJ and, more importantly, a representation of the many unique gifts that CJ families bring to its rich community, and the real-world experience it offers its students.”

This story first appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Vision, CJ's alumni news magazine.