January 2012

Catholic Honor Band Performing at CJ

Catholic high school band students from Cincinnati and Dayton combined their exceptional talents to present the 4th Annual Honor Band Concert on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3 p.m.

Students were nominated by their band directors to be a member of the ensemble, which performed four concert band pieces. A crowd of about 300 people filed into CJ's auditorium for the hour-long performance, in celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

According to this year’s event coordinator, Jason Umberg, director of bands for Fenwick High School, the event began as an effort in 2008 to bring the best musicians from each high school together to participate in an over-the-top music ensemble experience that only the combined strengths of each school’s program could offer.

“This event challenges our top musicians to rehearse and perform at their highest ability alongside other students who are playing at the same level,” Umberg said.

“It is also a great opportunity to showcase the growth, talent and the quality of the instrumental music programs that is taking place in our own Catholic schools. It’s pretty fitting that the concert coincides with the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.”

More than 65 students from schools including Alter, Badin, Carroll, Chaminade Julienne, Elder, Fenwick, La Salle, McAuley, McNicholas, Mercy, Moeller, Mt. Notre Dame, Roger Bacon, and Seton High Schools participated. This year’s guest conductor was Bob Bass, Mason High School Director of Bands.

CJ Celebrates Catholic Schools Week

The 2012 celebration of Catholic Schools Week is being observed January 29 through February 5. This year's theme is "Catholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service," and to get in the spirit, members of the CJ community have planned some exciting events throughout the week.

Each day, our morning prayers will be centered around celebrating Catholic schools (read along each day by clicking the 'Daily Prayer' link, located on the right side of the home page). Before praying together in the morning and afternoon, one student and one member of the faculty and staff will share how being in a Catholic school has impacted his or her life.

Students in all religion classes have been writing reflections about the influence of Catholic education in their own lives. Their thoughts will be displayed in our halls throughout the week, and a few will be shared out loud during announcements.

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, members of the CJ community are invited to the chapel at 7:30 a.m. to pray the rosary for area Catholic schools. Over the week, CJ will gift the rosaries, along with a card, to each school. During the school day Tuesday, all students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear a Catholic school t-shirt or sweatshirt (grade school, CJ or college).

Finally, everyone is invited to join in the celebration of Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, Feb. 5 as CJ proudly hosts the 4th annual Southwestern Ohio Catholic Honor Band. The hour-long event, beginning at 3 p.m. in the auditorium, is free and open to the public. Enjoy the combined talents of students representing high schools throughout the Archdiocese as they present four concert pieces.

Ooten Sharing Her Passion for PLTW

Science teacher Amanda Ooten has been selected by Project Lead the Way to become a Core Training Instructor for the organization’s Level 1: Principles of Biomedical Science course.

Core Training Instructors are appointed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to conduct the mandatory professional training and development courses for fellow teachers wishing to become certified PLTW instructors. Ooten, who also serves as co-chair of the CJ science department, will complete a one-year apprenticeship this summer in order to achieve Master Teacher status for the 2012-13 school year.

“I’m really excited by the PLTW curriculum, so I hope to share that enthusiasm and passion with future teachers of the curriculum,” said Ooten, who is certified to teach two of the four biomedical sciences courses offered at CJ including the newly-added fourth year course Biomedical Innovations.

CJ, a PLTW nationally certified school, offers students in grades 9-12 eight year-long elective courses—four in pre-engineering and four in biomedical sciences—taught by four full-time certified instructors. Of the more than 4,200 schools in the United States offering PLTW’s innovative STEM curriculum, CJ is most notably the only Catholic high school to hold dual certification.

“The Project Lead the Way program is growing at CJ. It’s exciting to see that students want to take these courses,” she said. More than 100 students are enrolled in PLTW curriculum at CJ this school year, a 91 percent increase from 2010-11, and Ooten said she expects that number to increase next year.

Ooten, in her fourth year at CJ, has also been chosen to serve as a PLTW field test teacher. She will pilot a revised, updated version of the Principles of Biomedical Sciences curriculum during the 2012-13 school year.

In December 2010, Ooten earned a master’s degree in Education from the University of Dayton along with fellow CJ science department co-chair and PLTW Core Training Instructor Amy O’Loughlin, ’86.


CJ Wrestlers Focused as Feature Team

Eagle grapplers got off to a great start as the feature team of the week Monday, Jan. 23, trouncing opponents National Trail and Fairborn in a Senior Night tri-meet.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to keep its momentum high entering the Eaton Invitational this weekend and through next month’s end-of-season tournaments. Divisional duals begin February 4, with the league and sectional tournaments held during the weekends that follow.

The 2011-12 wrestling team consists of a balanced group of four freshman, three sophomores, five juniors and five seniors, including 10 returners from a season ago. The program continues to build on the success and hard work that second year varsity head coach Tim Begley instilled one season ago, when the Eagles finished as GCL North champions.

“It all starts in practice,” said senior Tyler McBeath (182), who serves as a co-captain with fellow seniors Dominic Genovesi (171) and Patrick McManus (126). Each understands the importance of leading by example and setting the tone at workouts in the Student Conditioning Center.

“We’ve been more focused as a team this year and concentrating more on technique, and every week we’re getting better,” McBeath said.

By measuring team improvement on the mat in both practice and matches, the team's successes have steadily climbed throughout the season. Highlights have included:

Advancing six wrestlers to day two at Elder’s prestigious Catholic Invitational Tournament—up from two last season.

Placing four individuals, including two first place finishers, at the Franklin Invitational Tournament.

Taking second place overall as a team in the Xenia Invitational Tournament.

And, most recently, recording a victory at home on Senior Night.

“Participating in Senior Night is something I’ve always looked forward to,” said McManus, a three-year CJ wrestler. “It made me proud standing out there with my parents and seeing that all my hard work didn’t just go for nothing.”

For the Eagles’ hard work to count this postseason, the team will need a strong showing Friday and Saturday at Eaton High School. According to Genovesi, CJ expects to see some the same 21 teams from Eaton again in the opening rounds of the Division II state tournament February 18.

“A lot of those wrestlers are the same guys who we’ll be facing in sectionals,” Genovesi said, “so this weekend will have a big impact as far as seeding goes."


Making Voices Heard at the March for Life

Twelve Chaminade Julienne students, all girls in grades 9-11, made the conscious decision to forgo their weekend plans this January and rather join thousands of advocates at the 39th annual March for Life.

Missing out on socializing with friends at the big game Friday night and spending quality time with dad at the much-anticipated Father/Daughter dance that followed, the group instead headed to Washington, D.C to serve as “a voice for the voiceless.”

Accompanied by adult chaperones Karen Emmerich and Lisa Colbert, CJ religion teachers, the girls—literally wearing their message on the backs of their matching blue sweatshirts—boarded a school bus on Franklin Street at 11:30 a.m. January 20, with bags packed. After making a short stop at Carroll High School to pick up another group of like-minded young people, the high schoolers from Dayton, Ohio were off on an eight and a half hour pilgrimage across four states to advocate for the right to life.

“I think it is really important for students to understand that we are needed to be advocates,” said Emmerich, who also serves as moderator of CJ’s right-to-life student club known as LifeGuards. She volunteers to organize, chaperone and make the trip available to all students nearly every year.

“Service is really valuable, but there are times when we have to advocate for change,” Emmerich said. The March for Life, held each year in the nation’s capital in observance of the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, is meant as a petition against the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in favor of abortion.

Prior to marching, activities on the group's agenda included a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and to the recently opened Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on Saturday, as well as participation in the Students for Life of America National Conference on Sunday.

Beginning at 1:30 Monday afternoon, the girls will march alongside a crowd of pro-life supporters on Constitution Avenue toward the location of the Supreme Court building. Nearly all twelve from CJ are participating in the march for the first time except for a few, like junior Carly Meixner who chose to make the trip for a second consecutive year in 2012.

“The experience last year was amazing,” Meixner said. “The March was inspiring just knowing that you’re not alone in your beliefs and that it’s ok to stand up for those beliefs in a peaceful way.“

Attendance at the March for Life has ranged anywhere from of 100,000 to 225,000 since 1977, according to marchforlife.org, and this year’s crowd is expected to be just as large. The combined group from Carroll and CJ will depart from Washington, D.C. directly after the march at around 5 p.m. in order to return in time for classes Tuesday.

Reaching Out at Area Service Agency

Every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. a small group of CJ students, led by one senior member of FLIGHT and an adult chaperone, goes out into the surrounding Dayton community to help with a specific need. This service opportunity known as REACH, which stands for Recreating Earth as Christ Hopes, is offered weekly by the office of ministry and service.

After school, volunteers make the short walk from campus down West Washington Street to The Foodbank, where the group works for an hour bagging lunches before returning to CJ. The lunches are packed for grade school students in local school districts. Students in need are identified by their teachers and given lunches to eat on the weekends.

Although REACH is a popular choice for underclassmen, the service activity is not only for freshman according to senior Mitchell Jones.

“I enjoy REACH because I am able to see younger students start on the path of service that I once began,” Jones said.

“It was nice to work with them to help those in need,” he said.

Members of FLIGHT invite everyone to sign up for REACH.  It is a great way to meet new people, connect with the student body, and help those in need. Students should sign up in the office of ministry and service to receive a permission form.


This Community Update was contributed by Teresa Nguyen, a CJ senior and member of FLIGHT.

CJ STEMM Partners with Riverside Research

Chaminade Julienne is partnering with Riverside Research, an area-leading scientific research and education institution, to host an innovative, STEM-based extracurricular event for area grade school and high school students from across the Miami Valley.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at CJ, is aimed at demonstrating how various disciplines in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine are necessary to improve the tools of scientific discovery and application.

Expert professionals from Riverside Research’s Education and Training Directorate Andrew Shepherd, STEM program manager, and Mike Lovingshimer, STEM program developer, will co-facilitate hands-on activities during the Tools of Scientific Discovery interactive learning session organized by Meg Draeger, coordinator of CJ’s STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and—at CJ—medicine) program.

“CJ’s partnership with Riverside Research is a unique one, allowing our students to learn firsthand from local aerospace research and development professionals, and to use state-of-the-art industry software,” Draeger said.

Representatives from Riverside Research, a not-for-profit defense contractor in Beavercreek, previously teamed with CJ during the 2010-11 school year at functions including the CJ STEMM Summer Gateway Academy as well as the monthly, in-school STEMM Idol Speaker Series. Among other STEM educational initiatives, Riverside Research currently offers support to area students in the form of an internship program and through the development of electronic textbooks (e-Texts) and accompanying software.

“Riverside Research’s efforts in STEM have been successful in large part due to the great community partners like those we have in CJ.  We are proud to support those in our community that are doing the important work of educating and exciting the next generations of our nation’s technical workforce,” Shepherd said.

This weekend, more than 20 students in grades 7-9 from 11 different schools will gather in CJ’s computer and science labs for activities that include:

  • tracking satellites and NASA’s International Space Station
  • exploring the force of microgravity—or weightlessness—as experienced in space, and
  • designing a “room positioning system” to understand GPS

Additionally, participants will receive an introduction to the field of remote sensing using Riverside Research’s e-Text titled, Remote Sensing: A View Through Mechanical Eyes, a tool that was incorporated into CJ’s high school curriculum for the 2011-12 school year.


Popularity of Eagle Swim Team Soaring

Since fall 2010 when the Feature Team initiative was first introduced, members of the Spirit Committee have been highlighting CJ sports teams throughout all three athletic seasons, and their efforts to build school-wide support for Eagle student-athletes officially resumed during the week of January 17-21.

The committee has had its hands full hanging locker signs and organizing lunch-time appreciations for members of the men’s and women’s swim team this week due to the growing number of Eagle swimmers in 2012. Participants have increased by 30 percent since last season.

“The participation level for CJ swimming is the highest it has been with more than 60 students combined on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said Scott Pierce, athletic director. That increase in roster size is having a direct impact on the Eagles' performance in the water, he added.

“The program is growing and the accomplishments are growing right along with it,” Pierce said.

After a strong start by the men’s and women’s team, which finished in eighth and first place respectively at the 2011 Trotwood-Greenon Invitational, the two squads have each carried the success into the New Year with a recent victory over Northmont on January 7.

Dan Striebich, a senior captain for the men’s team, attributes the program’s triumphs and popularity to its healthy balance of young athletes, experienced veterans and the general sense of all-around fun it is to be an Eagles swimmer.

“Swimming with the team and hanging out with friends at meets is a lot of fun,” Streibech said. The social aspect, something he said teammates can take away even after the season is over, extends outside of the pool as well.  Among other team-building activities, CJ swimmers host one another for dinner at “pasta parties” every Friday.

The Eagles will take to the starting blocks this Saturday, Jan. 21 in the team’s featured meet beginning at 10 a.m. at Wright State University.


STEMM Idol Speaker John Grismer

Guest speaker John Grismer, ’70, presented to CJ students Tuesday, Jan. 10 as the first STEMM Idol speaker of the New Year; however, the focus of discussion centered not on the present, but rather what the future holds for the world in the coming five years as predicted by IBM’s annual “Next 5 in 5” list.

The Chaminade alumnus, who began his career as a social studies teacher and actually taught some of our CJ faculty and staff, including President Dan Meixner, began by asking students to visualize their future aspirations, then challenged the teens as to what each could do now in high school to achieve their goals.

“All the things you’re learning, and the extracurricular activities you participate, in serve as building blocks for your future,” Grismer explained. He advised students to learn transferable skills in order to be prepared for the ever-changing landscape of the workforce as it is influenced by advances in technology.

Grismer, who currently manages support and training for technologies including radio frequency identification (RFID) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), admitted that as a high school senior 40 years prior he never would have imagined such technology could even exist.

His message to students included keeping an open mind and becoming a lifelong learner, and reflected his personal motto “docendo disciumus,” translated to mean, “we learn by teaching.”

The list encompasses the tech company’s annual predictions of the ways in which the top five innovations will influence people’s lives within the coming five years. According to a release at IBM.com, predictions include advances in harnessing kinetic energy for renewable purposes; replacing the need for password protection with identity recognition systems; utilizing human brainpower to control and manipulate electronic devices; a narrowing of the “digital divide” with more powerful mobile technology; and the end of spam mail.

“The next IBM 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible,” according to the company’s Web site. Watch the video below for in depth explanations of each projection.

John Grismer, ’70 has worked for more than 25 years in the technology industry as a Web developer, training specialist and business analyst with companies including Reynolds & Reynolds and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), his current employer.

Not only does the Chaminade alum have extensive experience building internet-based training systems and working with radio frequency identification (RFID) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology for branches of the military, but Grismer has also served as a Dayton-area middle school teacher for 10 years at both public and private institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Teaching from Wright State University, where he has also served as an adjunct science instructor.

In 1994, John received the CSC’s Award of Excellence in addition to a commendation from the United States Marine Corps. When away from work, he enjoys staying involved with his alma mater as a member of the alumni choir and distinguished alumni selection committee; coaching CYO sports including track, basketball and volleyball; and being a dad. His daughter, an eighth grader, will attend CJ in the fall of 2012.


Through the Eyes of a New Teacher

From the first time I entered Chaminade Julienne High School, I knew it was a special place. On my first visit, I had an opportunity to meet with students who are recipients of the Marianist Scholarship. We had lunch together with other vowed Marianist religious in the school library. I learned about their extracurricular activities, their favorite classes and why they enjoy being a Chaminade Julienne Eagle. They spoke with maturity, good humor, honesty, and respect for the school. I have to admit, I was impressed.

I had a second opportunity to visit and was blessed to speak to each freshman religion class with Bro. Sean Downing, SM (former religion teacher at CJ) and Bro. John Habjan, SM (former administrator at CJ). We spoke with the classes about our Marianist history and charism. Again, I was impressed with the students, but also with the faculty in the religion department. I thought to myself, “I would enjoy working with these people and with the students here.”

Now, here I am back in a high school ministry situation after a seven-year hiatus from teaching during which I worked as a campus minister with college students. Many things are different for me this time around. For one, it has taken me a while to get used to all the technological advances that have happened in teaching and the lives of teenagers since 2004. Previously, I used an overhead projector and transparencies for my classes, took attendance on small slips of paper, and read the announcements out loud to my homeroom. Those days have gone the way of VCRs and cassette tapes.

A second difference is the diverse student population that comprises the CJ community. The last school in which I taught was Central Catholic Marianist High School in San Antonio — an all-boys school. That is perhaps the most obvious difference, but the differences are many. I see the diversity of CJ as one of its greatest gifts. It seems to be a sort of microcosm of our country and that is helpful for maturing students and faculty and staff as well. Lastly, I am different since I left Central Catholic. In the seven years that have transpired, I have become a Marianist Sister.

As a Marianist Sister working in a Marianist and Sisters of Notre Dame school, one might expect that I would bring a certain perspective to the school. Perhaps I do. However, I find that the Marianist and Notre Dame charisms are embodied in the faculty, staff and culture of the school in such a way that my presence does not change or increase it, but supports it. It is a grace for me to work here, and I hope to support the mission of Chaminade Julienne for years to come.


Written by Sr. Nicole Trahan, FMI, and first published in the fall 2011 issue of Vision, CJ's alumni news magazine.