March 2014

STEMM Idol Speaker Jodi Allen

If problem solving is your thing, consider learning more about the field of manufacturing and industrial engineering Tuesday, April 8 with this week's STEMM Idol Speaker, Jodi Allen.

Allen works as an equipment services manager at Crown Equipment Corporation in New Bremen, Ohio. She will share more about her job overseeing groups of professionals as they work to support the company's goal of producing quality forklift trucks in a quick and cost effective manner.

Shortly after joining the team at Crown in 2012, Allen was one of 15 professionals (and just four women) from across North America named to the annual "Leaders Under 40" list by Plant Engineering Magazine. She holds her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University.

Students are invited to come learn more during all homeroom periods in the library.


Art, Drama & Elementary Students Team Up

Senior Kaylee Piatt is appearing in her eighth production as a cast member of the 2014 spring musical, Children of Eden, and says the latest show by far incorporates the most special effects she has ever seen on the CJ stage.

“This show would not be nearly as great without the collaboration of the visual arts program and our Special Effects Team,” Piatt said.

New this spring, a group of student crew members known as the Special Effects Team worked after school under the supervision of Janet Lasley, CJ art teacher, to create animal puppets. Puppets were made from mostly donated and household items and include elephants, horses, flying birds and comets, jellyfish, giraffes, turtles, anteaters and more. The puppets will be operated by actors on stage.

“It’s been fun working on the Special Effects Team because you get to spend a lot of extra time with your friends,” said sophomore Orfa Hernandez, who is involved in a performing arts production for the first time this school year. Her favorite piece is the horse mask made of paper mache.

Weeks prior to opening night, a few members of the cast and Special Effects Team had the opportunity to practice with their animals and learn from professional Darren Brown, a puppeteer from the Zoot Theatre Company in Dayton.

“Puppetry is a very selfless way to perform, but that’s what makes it special,” Brown told students. Zoot is a local non-profit organization and a resident company in the Dayton Art Institute’s NCR Renaissance Auditorium.

Children of Eden is a two act musical based on the Book of Genesis. Opening night is Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the CJ auditorium, and the production also runs Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m.

Piatt takes the stage playing a lead role as Eve, but will also play a storyteller and serve as a puppeteer.

“The visual effects combined with the music and biblical themes make Children of Eden a very powerful and emotional show,” she said, and added that there is a little something for everyone -- children included.

In fact, the musical features more than a dozen area elementary school students in grades 5-8 who auditioned for the show in January. On Tuesday, April 1, those performers will get to show off their talents for friends and peers when their classmates from St. Helen, Mother Brunner and Holy Angels fill the auditorium to watch a special sneak preview and take part in a youth workshop.

Tickets for Children of Eden are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and $5 for kids in grades K-8. Doors open approximately a half hour before each show April 4-6.

Eagles Battle at Xtreme Bots Competition

An innovative battle bot design by a team of six CJ Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering students literally and figuratively caught the attention of opponents and onlookers at the 2014 Spring Ohio Robotics XtremeBOTS Competition.

The Eagles placed ninth among a field of about 60 bots built by 19 college and high school teams from Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Their machine, officially named “Blue Eyes, White Dragon,” earned a more fitting nickname after making it to the Sweet 16 round of the competition.

“Our bot became known as the Ghandi bot because of its passive aggressive nature. There was no weapon on the bot,” explained sophomore Evan Skrobot. Instead of smashing other bots, the team’s wedge-shaped design scooped up anything in its path, rendering attacks from competitors useless.

“No one had ever done a scoop idea,” said sophomore team member Tyler Curtis. The design created a need for judges to adjust.

“They had to create a new rule for our bot,” said sophomore teammate Cole Mason (pictured above). “Teams could either tap out after we caught them or we would have to drive their bot around for three minutes to win the match.”

The Eagles design even seemed to impress Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who served as a guest speaker at the March 22 event hosted at the Nutter Center. She tweeted, “This @cjeagles robot was not messing around at the #xtremeBOTS competition @wrightstate today! We make it in #Dayton.”

All six students involved with the robotics team are enrolled in Principles of Engineering, a PLTW course taught by Andy Helms.

“Taking the Principles of Engineering course introduced us to robotics, but it also gave us access to the tools and knowledge we needed to be successful,” said sophomore Jordan Thomasson.

With guidance from Mr. Helms and Dan Reynolds of American Testing Services, the team’s professional mentor, Jordan and his teammates drew designs using AutoCAD software and assembled the bot with tools in the CJ STEMM Center.

The team hopes to compete again this spring in a National Robotics League competition at Baldwin Wallace University coming up May 17.

Video provided courtesy of Jordan Thomasson '16 and photos provided courtesy of Dan Reynolds. 


Capstone Drives Home Value of Literacy

Thanks to the work of a Senior Capstone group and generosity of the CJ community, teachers at one local elementary school now have expanded options when it comes to providing valuable learning tools to their students.

The four group members, Mackenzie Boyer, Mariah Harlow, Leighanne Schwab and Rachel Rogers, focused their research on the life-long consequences of child poverty. Their project culminated in a book drive, held during the week of March 17-21, to benefit Ruskin Elementary in Dayton. The girls hope the drive will work to combat child illiteracy, a challenge that often accompanies child poverty, Harlow said.

“We were playing around with a lot of topics,” Harlow said. “Based on our interests from our junior year service projects, we started looking at poverty, and we decided to narrow it down to focus on children. We considered where they go after school, what they have or don’t have, and what materials they may need.”

Ruskin Elementary, which also collaborates with CJ through the school's Little Sibs program, enrolls many students who are at or below the poverty line, project mentor Erin Ketch said.

The book drive specifically benefited K-3 students, and each English class at CJ was provided a box where students could donate their new or gently used books. As an incentive, students who donated three or more books were entered into a drawing for a Chipotle gift card.

To date, the Senior Capstone group has already collected at least 420 books and, although the drive was intended to end March 21, they expect more books on the way.

Ketch, who is also an English teacher at CJ, reflected on the importance of child literacy and the impact that these donations could have.

“I see the importance of early literacy skills,” she said. “Research has shown time and again how important early reading and writing skills are for young children, and the sooner these skills are nurtured and developed, the better.”

The Capstone students had exposure to conditionsof poverty prior to their project, which was the gateway to exploring this issue further. Boyer is a part of the Little Sibs program and connected with Ruskin to plan the book drive, while Harlow considered her experience in volunteering for Urban Plunge as motivation.

“As part of Urban Plunge, we stayed at St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati and did service work for a weekend,” Harlow said. “Through that I got another eye for poverty, and that helped me put things in perspective for this project.”

The group’s research, their prior exposure to the realities of poverty, and their commitment to their cause leaves Ketch hopeful for the ultimate success for the book drive, she said.

“These students are all excellent readers and writers, and I believe that they see how literacy in their early lives has impacted them as high school students,” she said. “Their desire to give back to their community reflects this. It is our hope these books provide continual reading opportunities for the Ruskin students both at school and at home.”

The books will be delivered to Ruskin Elementary upon conclusion of the drive, and will be used according to their current needs, Ketch said.

Lenten Mission Drive Supports CJ's Orders

The annual Lenten Mission Drive is underway. This donation drive, organized by the office of ministry and service, benefits missions in Africa supported by our school's two founding orders, the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Collections this year will be split equally and donated to both Our Lady of the Nazareth Elementary School, a Marianist mission in Kenya, and the Sisters of Notre Dame Clean Water Project. Students learned more about each of these missions in their religion classes.

You can support the Lenten Mission Drive through any of the following activities taking place in the weeks leading up to Easter:

Men's Volleyball Game
Eagles fans can cheer on the men's volleyball team at home against Alter on Wednesday, March 26 in Mary, Our Lady of Victory Gymnasium. Proceeds from admissions and concessions will be donated. The JV begins at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity at 7 p.m. Fans of both schools are encouraged to wear purple.

Out of Uniform Day
Students can take part in the $2 Out of Uniform Day on Friday, April 4. A dollar from each person who participates will go to both missions.

Faculty & Staff Jeans Day
Faculty and staff can participate in a special adults-only "jeans day" on Tuesday, April 8.

Make a Contribution
Everyone is welcomed to make contributions, small or large, to the donation cans stationed in classrooms around the building.

Thank You!
Thank you for your support of the CJ Lenten Mission Drive. To learn more, view this informational slideshow created by members of F.L.I.G.H.T. (Artwork created by senior F.L.I.G.H.T. member Patrick Zopff.)

2014 Winter Sports Season in Review

A men’s basketball district title and a wrestling state-runner up finish highlighted a successful 2013-14 winter sports season for Eagles student athletes. Take a look back at their accomplishments and find out where the Eagles stand in the hunt for the GCL All Sports Trophy.

Team Highlights

Record: 15-10 (7-3 GCL)

Key Wins: The No. 1 seeded Eagles won the program’s first district championship since 2008 with a 66-50 win over Cincinnati Shroder Paideia. Over the course of its tournament run, CJ won four games by an average of 30 points. During the regular season, the team swept GCL Co-ed North foes Carroll and Alter, and defeated Lima Central Catholic, the No. 2 team in Division III basketball, in late January. The win helped spark a streak of six consecutive victories which included the 65-56 defeat of Beavercreek on the road, and the Eagles finished the regular season as GCL Co-ed North co-champions.

All Stars: Myo Baxter-Bell '15 (AP All-State Third Team, AP All-Southwest District First Team, GCL First Team), C.J. Riazzi ‘14 (AP All-Southwest District Special Mention, *Ohio District 15 All Star, GCL First Team), Alan Vest ‘15 (AP All-Southwest District Special Mention, GCL First Team), Aaron Hammond ‘14 (GCL Second Team), Jacob Harrison ‘16 (GCL Second Team)

*The Ohio District 15 All Star Game is being held Wednesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at Centerville High School (directions). Admission is $5.


Record: 7-16 (4-6 GCL)

Key Wins: The women’s team completed the season sweep of GCL North rival Fenwick and recorded huge wins over Division I opponents. In late December, the Eagles tallied a 10-point road win against Dublin Coffman, an eventual D-I state semifinalist, and the girls also decisively downed Fairborn 58-44.

All Stars: Haleigh Shaw ‘15 (AP All-Southwest District Special Mention, Ohio District 15 All-Underclassman First Team, GCL First Team), Angel Curry ‘14 (GCL Second Team), Tyanna McDowell ‘14 (GCL Second Team).


Records: Men’s 9-9 (5-9 GCL)  |  Women’s 8-5 (5-5 GCL)

Key Wins: The CJ men and women finished fifth and fourth respectively in their first year together in the expanded GCL Co-ed. Neither team lost a regular season match to non-league opponents and both teams swept Fenwick. In postseason play, Eric Handorf ‘14 and Katie Sargent ‘15 each advanced to the Division II district tournament.

All Stars: Eric Handorf ‘14 (GCL First Team), Katie Sargent ‘15 (GCL First Team), Shannon Leik ‘14 (GCL Second Team), Rebecca Mayer '15 (GCL Second Team), Kris Heidenreich '14 (GCL Honorable Mention.


Records: Men's 6-0  |  Women’s 1-5

Key Moments: The men's team went undefeated during the indoor season. The women’s team bounced back from a slow start and recorded its first indoor victory 19-13 over Lebanon on January 26. Women’s lacrosse is now a school sponsored interscholastic varsity sport for the spring season.

Spring Season: The women’s team plays its season opener at Lakota East (directions) on Saturday, March 22 at 1:30 p.m. The men’s lacrosse team opens the spring outdoor season on Friday, March 28 at 6 p.m. against Licking Valley at home (Dog Leg Park; directions).


Key Moments: For a fourth consecutive season, the men’s and women’s indoor track program qualified to compete in the Division II/III Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OATCCC) Indoor Track & Field State Championships at Akron University in early March. Although the team did not place, many individual ran their fastest times of the year. View individual results >

Spring Season: CJ opens the 2014 outdoor season on Saturday, March 29 at the Up and Running Invitational hosted by Troy High School (directions).


Key Moments: The CJ men and women each finished second at the January 25 league championship meet in their first year together in the expanded GCL Co-ed. First place finishes at the league meet were had by Erin Staley ‘15 (500 yard freestyle) and Claire Meyers ‘14 (100 yard butterfly). In the program’s first year hosting the Best of the Nest meet, the women’s team took first place and the men’s team took third. In the postseason, the Eagles sent 17 swimmers and one diver to the district tournament where the women’s 200 yard freestyle relay team missed going to state by three tenths of a second, finishing in 25th place.

All Stars:

Men’s - Coach of the Year Paul Biermann

John Hawthorn ‘15 (GCL Second Team, 500 Yard Freestyle)
Vincent Dang ‘17 (GCL Second Team, 100 Yard Backstroke)
Vincent Dang ‘17, Aarik Fretz ‘15, Gary LaBianco ‘14, John Hawthorn ‘15 (GCL Second Team, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
Christopher McCoy ‘15 (GCL Honorable Mention, 100 Yard Breaststroke)
Vincent Dang ‘17, Christopher McCoy ‘15, Matthew Richard ‘15, John Hawthorn ‘15 (GCL Honorable Mention, 200 Yard Medley Relay)

Claire Meyers ‘14 (GCL First Team, 100 Yard Butterfly; GCL Second Team; 50 Yard Freestyle)
Erin Staley ‘15 (GCL First Team, 500 Yard Freestyle; GCL Second Team, 200 Yard Freestyle)
Claire Meyers ‘15, Georgia Albino ‘15, Erin Staley ‘15, and Abby Arestides ‘17 (GCL Second Team, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay)
Abby Arestides ‘17 (GCL Honorable Mention, 50 Yard Freestyle)
Kaitlin Kearns ‘14 (GCL Honorable Mention, 500 Yard Freestyle)
Kaitlin Kearns ‘14, Natalie Murray ‘16, Samantha Cudney ‘14, Katy Harrington ‘15 (GCL Honorable Mention, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)

Key Moments: In his fourth consecutive trip to Columbus, Lyle Plummer ‘14 finished as the Division III state runner-up in 132-pound class. He was joined at state by teammate and first time qualifier McKinley Screetch ‘15, an alternate in the 120-pound class. The team placed second among all GCL Co-ed schools and sixth overall in the league tournament on February 1. At that meet, which included teams from the GCL South, Mason Kooser ‘14 and Plummer finished third while Screetch finished fifth in their respective classes.

All Stars: Lyle Plummer ‘14 (GCL Athlete of the Year, GCL First Team, March Penn Station Athlete of the Month), Mason Kooser ‘14 (GCL First Team), Deeter Spees ‘16 (GCL Second Team), McKinley Screetch ‘15 (GCL Second Team).


All Sports Trophy
The GCL All Sports Trophy recognizes across-the-board athletic excellence. Teams in each season are awarded points depending upon where they finish in the league. At the end of the school year, all points are totaled and the top school from each division (north and central) wins the trophy. CJ scored 39 points for the winter season and is in third place headed into the spring sports season with 85.5 total points.

Information provided in part by


Capstone Serves Marginalized Population

As part of their Senior Capstone project, two groups are closely collaborating with the special needs community to provide leadership opportunities, build relationships and raise awareness for this often overlooked population.

Students began their project by researching the issues and barriers to inclusion facing those they intended to serve. Both groups decided to partner with the school's Cuvilly special education program and Toward Independence, Inc., a local non-profit agency that serves people with developmental disabilities.

Together with their partner organizations, 11 group members are in the midst of planning and presenting several social events for the younger special needs population to interact with the older special needs population.

A group comprised of seniors Jenny Meier, Bobby Krupa, James Schwendeman, James Moorman, Michael McDonald, Mason Kooser and Joe Hoeft set their project in motion with a Valentine’s Day dance at the Toward Independence facility in Xenia. Students made boutonnieres, corsages and paper airplanes to give to clients. They also served dinner and visited with guests at the dance.

Judi MacLeod, Cuvilly department chair and mentor for the project, said the event was very successful. “It was a great opportunity for interactions on both parts. Toward Independence has dances every year, but we’re trying to build a relationship with them. Our goal is to supplement what is going on already and also get our Cuvilly students working in conjunction with their clients.”

Nancy Justice, event coordinator at Toward Independence, expressed that her organization has enjoyed working with CJ and that the process has helped all parties meet their goals.

"Doing these events is a way for our clients to socialize and meet new friends,” Justice said. “It is an excellent form of social integration, especially with the Chaminade Julienne students.”

While the group continues to fulfill  these goals and brainstorm ideas for their next event, MacLeod said, a second group formed by Marissa Miller, Vaughn Martin, Doug Neff and Ben Landes is working with clients on a variety show that will take place in April. Those students are visiting with clients once a week to practice learning new songs, she said.

MacLeod said she believes that through this ongoing project, each group is getting exposure to new experiences that they would not have had the opportunity to encounter otherwise.

“Our students are learning how to work with people with special needs and getting opportunities to be in leadership positions. The Toward Independence clients are getting the opportunity to work with a group of very energetic and excited young people, and they want to see them succeed,” she said.

MacLeod said that CJ has been in contact with Toward Independence for several years about other events. She saw the Senior Capstone project as an opportunity to branch out even more in order to further spread awareness.

“Our adult special needs population is such a wonderful group of people who often don’t get noticed, or if they are noticed, it is in a negative light,” she said.“So my goal is for the students to understand that there is this group of people who have so much to give. Not only do we need to help, but we need to recognize their unique qualities as well.”

Students Discover Their Science Niche

Students with an interest in STEMM fields don't necessarily need to be enrolled in CJ's nationally certified Project Lead the Way curriculum for exposure to valuable learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.

During the first week in March, a group of students taking environmental and physical science courses with teachers Caty Maga and Jessie Hanley helped younger students from around the Miami Valley learn how to be energy efficient at this year’s Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) and Vectren Energy Fair.

"The topics being discussed at the fair were the same topics that my students are learning about in class," Hanley said. "I wanted them to apply what they had learned and teach it to someone else so that I knew they had mastered the material."

More than 600 students from area schools attended the Energy Fair facilitated at the University of Dayton by the Ohio Energy Project. CJ students helped lead and teach lessons on topics including light and sound, kinetic and potential energy, insulation, electromagnetic waves and efficiency.

“The Energy Fair was a big success,” said DP&L’s Kara McMillen. “It was one of our largest crowds to date and the students and teachers were very engaged and energetic.”

Another group of CJ students has been leading the resurgence of the school's Science Olympiad team, said Hanley. She and fellow science teacher Matt Fuhs stepped in to coach the Eagles this school year. The team, open to all students, practiced together once each week after school to prepare for competition.

"We wanted to give a niche to kids interested in science and expose them to more science topics," Hanley said. A majority had never been involved with a team before high school, she added. Science Olympiad competitions combine knowledge-based questions and performance challenges to test students' smarts across several different disciplines.

This year's 11 members recently placed eighth at the Ohio Science Olympiad Regional Tournament on March 15 at Piqua High School (pictured below). They also participated in an invitational tournament in New Albany, Ohio in late February. Although the season is complete, students interested in joining next year's team can contact Mr. Fuhs or Ms. Hanley.


STEMM Idol Speaker Dr. Jim Olson, PhD

Dr. Jim Olson, Ph.D., of Wright State University returns to CJ to celebrate Brain Awareness Week with students on Tuesday, March 18.

The professor and researcher will discuss topics in neuroscience, emergency medicine and the functions of the human brain with all interested students during homeroom sessions in the library. This year marks Dr. Olson’s third appearance as a STEMM Idol Speaker.

“The students love him because he brings actual human specimens of brain and spinal cord segments, which the students can see and touch,” said Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator. As part of his presentation, Dr. Olson also talks to students about the importance of organ donation for scientific research.

“Jim does an excellent job of explaining that, in discussing and handling such specimens from deceased donors, we are obligated to show utmost respect and care knowing the organs are from human beings.”

Dr. Olson will also be taking his presentation into the classroom for students enrolled in Anatomy and Project Lead the Way biomedical sciences classes with teacher Amy O’Loughlin.

“Jim is awesome because he is totally relatable to the kids,” O’Loughlin said. “The fact that they can see an actual human brain after we’ve talked about it just reinforces what they’re learning.”

According to organizers at The Dana Foundation, a grant-giving company for scientific research, Brain Awareness Week has been celebrated each March since 1996 to raise global awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. The week is officially being recognized March 10-16, 2014. Learn more at


Ministry & Service Broadens Horizons

Opportunities offered through the office of ministry and service have been taking students places this semester to learn about vocations and live out their faith in solidarity with the less fortunate.

FLIGHT Service Project

Fifteen seniors from CJ’s non-credit service leadership class FLIGHT (Faith Leaders in God’s Hands Today) spent a day serving others at the House of Bread. The non-profit community kitchen located on Orth Avenue is open for lunch seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Students worked from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. setting up the dining area, preparing dishes and serving a five-course meal for about 150 people said senior Alyssa Young. She learned that the House of Bread prepares and serves about 200 fresh lunches each day in addition to providing about 100 bag lunches for after school programs at various places throughout Dayton.

“You could tell how grateful guests were to be served a good meal,” she said. FLIGHT members were invited to enjoy a meal as well and concluded their service learning trip by helping with clean-up.

“I love FLIGHT, we are like a little family,” Young said. “I’ve always said that I’m proud to be a member.”

Marianist Retreat at St. Meinrad
Junior Nick Nevius and senior Patrick Zopff explored Marianist brotherhood at an overnight discernment retreat in late February hosted at the St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana.

Among the retreat activities, Nevius said his favorite part was attending Mass and a special prayer service with Benedectine monks from the monastery. “One of the Benedictine charisms is to treat every guest like Christ, and I felt that hospitality,” he said.

Joining CJ students on retreat were Marianist brothers, aspirants and students from fellow Marianist high schools Purcell Marian (Cincinnati), Chaminade College Preparatory (St. Louis), St. Mary’s (St. Louis), and St. John Vianney (St. Louis). The Marianists sponsor 18 high schools and three universities across the United States.

Urban Plunge Retreat
A small group of 10 students (pictured top) spent one weekend living in solidarity with people experiencing poverty and homelessness during Urban Plunge Retreat. The retreat was hosted by St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Center for Service Learning in Cincinnati.

When the group arrived Friday morning, retreatants immediately jumped in to help visitors shop for food and personal care items at the organization’s food pantry from 10 a.m. to noon. Students primarily worked with and met community members living in areas of the city’s poverty-stricken West End and Over The Rhine neighborhoods.

Activities included a poverty simulation, tours of shelters, home visits with members of St. Vincent de Paul, and the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Food Challenge. Junior Jacob Marshall said the challenge, which tasked students with shopping for and preparing a family meal on a budget of just $5.96, opened his eyes to issues people living on assistance face every day.

“I realized how hard it is to live off food stamps,” he said. “The challenge showed me that people living in poverty can be unhealthy because they don’t have access or the means to buy fresh foods.”

Marshall added that his views on homelessness were changed by the urban plunge experience and said he has been inspired to get involved locally with the St. Vincent de Paul Dayton District Council.