August 2014

CJ Art Program Partners with K12 Gallery

Thanks to a new partnership with Dayton’s K12 TEJAS Gallery, art students at CJ now have access to a better variety of materials, a bigger studio and local professional artists who they can rub elbows with on a weekly basis.

On foot, it takes CJ students about 5-7 minutes walking with their teacher to get to K12 Gallery for class.

Principal John Marshall began exploring the idea of a collaboration last school year, not long after K12 relocated from its 6,000 sq. foot headquarters on Third Street to a new 37,000 sq. foot location on Jefferson Street -- just a .3 mile, 7 minute walk from CJ’s campus.

“Our partnership with K12 is the result of some very fortunate timing, with the gallery’s move south, combined with our school’s goal to connect kids with resources right here in our own community, downtown Dayton,” Marshall said. “In that regard, it also fit perfectly with the City Connects model of student support that we've embraced over the last five years.”

Teaching the ceramics course partnered with K12 is instructor JoAnn Lieswyn. Lieswyn has served at the organization as a TEJAS (Teen Educational & Joint Adult Studio) teaching artist for about two years. She has also taught at the Dayton Art Institute and presently at Rosewood Gallery in Kettering, where she has spent the last 15 years.

“Ms. Lieswyn is a great teacher. She teaches us about the clay itself, how to use the different tools, how to fire the clay, and she tests and quizzes us over what we learn,” said Deter Spees '16, a first-year ceramics student. He plans to take advanced ceramics second semester.

Deter and his classmates get to spend one block period (about an hour and 30 minutes) per week learning at and working in the studio at K12.

“The place is amazing,” Spees said. “There’s so much art and creative things happening there.”

During their first trip to K12 on August 20-21, students got to meet and speak with artist Phyllis Niemeyer (pictured above). They watched and asked questions as Niemeyer worked on Dayton’s Summer Mural Project on the southern exterior wall of the historic, repurposed building. (The mural project was recenlty the subject of DDN article by Meredith Moss. Watch video below.)

“Phyllis talked about the reasons behind painting the giant mural, the planning process for a project that large, and how various members of the community -- of varying artistic skill levels -- could all be involved,” Lieswyn said.

Throughout the school year, students will be exposed to some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the art world such as the process of planning and hosting an exhibit, according to Lieswyn.

“This collaboration is a way of expanding the art experience that CJ students have."

Students will also get hands-on experience with specialized tools, equipment and different types of clay and ceramic glazes -- items that are not stocked in the art classrooms at CJ. The course is 80 percent studio time and 20 percent lecture.

“I hope students will understand the role ceramics plays in their lives,” Lieswyn said. “My goal is also to inspire a deeper appreciation for art, help them understand how to critique it, and help them develop their own tastes in art,” she said.

Among projects in the works, Lieswyn said she looks forward to collaborating with longtime CJ teacher and art department chair Diana Barr and her art and photography classes on making ceramic bowls to donate to the October Empty Bowls Dinner, which benefits the House of Bread.

Students who would like to get involved, but who are not taking a ceramics course, are encouraged to join the Art Club. For more information, contact one of the art teachers.

Summer Mural Project

Dayton's K12 Gallery

Video courtesy of

Photo (top) courtesy of Michelle A. Jannazo, Education Director, K12 Gallery for Young People/TEJAS.


Challenging Students to Explore Faith

Whether or not class is in session, educators at CJ continue to advance the school’s mission by challenging students to seek out opportunities to deepen and explore their faith. This past summer was no different.

M&S Destination:

A group of a dozen girls spent a week in June working to revitalize an urban community center in a low income area of the city of East St. Louis. The retreat was organized and sponsored by the Young Neighbors in Action program.

Mission trip participants spent their days painting, cleaning and interacting with children at the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center. At night, students stayed with other Catholic youth groups at the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood. The peers shared time for reflection and attended Mass together each morning. Daily liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Matt Robben, chaplain and chaperone.

“The most powerful experience for the kids was working at the site because I don’t think they realized just how good they had it back home,” Fr. Matt said. He chaperoned with fellow faculty members Sr. Nicole Trahan and Karen Emmerich, religion teachers.

Dejah Gilliam '15 decided to participate in the St. Louis summer retreat, her first while a student at CJ, after being encouraged to get involved by her guidance counselor, Susan Eichenauer.

“Getting used to where we worked and where we slept was rocky at first, but by the end of the week I wanted to stay longer,” Gilliam said. She plans to attend Kairos in the fall and is now actively encouraging her friends to give summer retreat a try.

“I learned that it’s ok to go outside of your comfort zone for a few days,” she said.

M&S Destination:

It was familiarity that drew Zak Shrewsbury '15 back to Solsberry, Ind. where he participated in a rural plunge experience for a second year in a row.

“I had a lot of fun, and I felt like I got closer to my faith and closer to those around me,” Shrewsbury said. He, like Dejah, also plans to attend and possibly lead Kairos this fall.

The second summer retreat group from CJ spent the week of July 7-11 volunteering with the local chapters of Habitat for Humanity and the Community Action Program outside of Bloomington. They were joined by students from fellow Marianiast institution Moeller High School (Cincinnati) and chaperoned by teachers Michelle Mize and Caty Maga.

“Every day students broke up into small groups and went to one or two different sites volunteering and working with many different social justice issues,” Maga said. “Students began their day with prayer, volunteered, lived as community and ended in reflection.”

According to Zak, one of the most meaningful experiences of the trip was helping bring a property up to code for one local resident.

“He was really grateful,” Shrewsbury said. “It was heartwarming to know that we helped him keep his house.”

More information about service learning trips at CJ is available from under the Ministry & Service tab.

Extra-curricular Faith Journey:
A third trip, unaffiliated with the school, took more than a dozen members of the CJ community to a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina where an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to appear.

The pilgrimage to Medugorje has been a popular destination for Catholics since 1981 when the apparition was first reported to appear to a group of children. Although yet to be confirmed by the Church, millions of people have traveled to Europe to be part of this faith experience.

While not sponsored by CJ, about half of the roughly 30 pilgrims who made the trip from the Miami Valley were either alumni, CJ parents, current students, faculty and staff, or a combination like Mike Hoendorf ‘03. The grad, now assistant director of ministry and service at his alma mater, said he ultimately decided to attend after “feeling the call.”

“The trip blew my expectations out of the water considering everything I took away from it,” he said. “I felt where God was calling me to become a better Catholic, a better mentor for the youth I work with, and to get closer to Him.”

The 10-day trip across the Atlantic was organized by CJ parents Tim O’Loughlin and Mary Pyper ‘76, who themselves felt called to take a group of youth there, said Hoendorf.

Among a handful of current students who made the journey was Maureen Zopff '16. “Mrs. Pyper was my confirmation sponsor at St. Luke and she’s always talked to me about strengthening my faith,” she said. (Pyper’s call to live out the Gospel was recently the subject of a story in the Spring 2014 issue of Vision, CJ’s alumni magazine.)

Highlights from the trip included climbing Cross Mountain (pictured top), attending a Croatian Mass with 80,000 fellow pilgrims from all over the world (pictured right), and witnessing an apparition of Mary to Marijana on August 2 (watch the video or read the translation).

The experience was eye-opening and helped put priorities into perspective for Zopff, who said she has been talking to God and attending Mass more frequently since returning to the States.

“Once you’ve been to Medjugorje, everything else just kind of disappears and you feel more at peace,” she said.

New Faculty and Staff Join the CJ Family

You could say that welcoming new faculty and staff to CJ this fall has been a bit of a family affair.

Almost a third of the school’s new employees have direct family ties, including husband and wife Eric and A.J. Grimm (pictured above). The couple officially signed their contracts with Principal John Marshall and their two boys Owen (2) and Dominic (10 months) on June 20. They are members of the Roots Lay Marianist community.

Others, like CJ parent Kelly Muhl and alumna Teresa Spanel ‘10, are formally returning to the CJ community as employees this fall after time away. Continue reading to learn more and meet all educators new to the CJ family in 2014-15. 

New Faculty & Staff

Carin Andrews, Development Database Coordinator
Carin joins the alumni and development office, which re-located to the second floor of Marianist Hall (formerly the home of the Brothers). She attended St. Joseph Commercial High School and is a graduate of the University of Dayton. Carin’s husband Bill taught and served as a substitute teacher at CJ for many years. She works as the database manager and replaces Emily Howard.

Mary Ellen Dillon, Long-term Substitute (Biology)
Mary Ellen, a biology professor at the University of Dayton, has agreed to serve as a long-term substitute for Amanda Ooten while she is on maternity leave. Amanda and her husband Michael welcomed their first child, a baby boy, into the world on July 16.
Mary Ellen plans to use a hybrid distance learning approach, making full use of the Chromebooks as part of Connected Classroom, and teach on campus part-time. She and her husband Tim Dillon, longtime CJ teacher and religion department chair, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary over the summer. 

Jenna Freisthler, Performing Arts Teacher
Jenna is a graduate of Anna High School and recently received her degree in music education from Ohio University. She joins the performing arts department part-time to teach Concert Choir and direct CJ’s pop a cappella group, Age V.

Julie Goetz, CPA, Director of Finance and Accounting
Julie replaced Sandy Ervin in the business office as director of finance and accounting in January 2014. She previously served as financial manager at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and has worked in the financial offices at Deloitte, CareSource and Billback Systems. Julie holds her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and her MBA from Wright State.

A.J. Grimm, Student Support Counselor (Guidance)
A.J. joins the guidance office as a student support counselor for students with last names H-O. She is a graduate of Mount de Sales Academy and holds her master’s degree in school counseling from the University of Dayton. A.J. takes over for Nicole Will, who took a full-time counselor position at Fairmont High School.

Eric Grimm, Science Teacher (PLTW)
Eric joins the science department to teach physics and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses. He is a graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School in Indianapolis and holds his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton. Before teaching, Eric worked in the field as an engineer at DRS Technologies in Beavercreek. He replaces Andy Helms, who accepted a coaching position at Carnegie Mellon University, and Bob Young, who will serve full-time as facilities director.

JoAnn Lieswyn, Visual Arts Teacher
JoAnn joins the faculty to teach ceramics. She is currently a resident artist and educator at the K12 TEJAS Gallery. CJ and K12 have entered into a partnership for this school year that will allow students to share resources and work on larger projects at the Jefferson Street studio. JoAnn takes the place of Janet Lasley who retired last school year.

Don MacLeod, Business Teacher
Don joins the faculty part-time and will teach business and accounting. He holds his degree in finance and accounting from the University of Dayton. Don is the husband of teacher and Cuvilly department chair Judi MacLeod ‘88.

Alex May, Network Technician (Netdemics LLC)
Alex, a native of Brookville, comes to CJ through Netdemics and will serve as the school’s on-site network technician. Netdemics LLC began providing technology support to CJ over the summer. Alex holds his associate’s degree from Sinclair, where he previously worked in the IT department, and is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in network management information systems at Wright State.

Kelly Muhl, Admin. Assistant to the Principal
Kelly returns to CJ after one year away working for the Dayton Bar Association. Previously, she served in the guidance office for five years. Kelly now serves as administrative assistant to the principal, taking over for Lois Mann who retired last school year. This fall, Kelly is working as a guard instructor for the Eagle Pride pep band.

Bro. Allen Pacquing, S.M. (Ministry & Service)
Bro. Allen hails from Hawaii and will serve as an intern in the office of ministry and service. He is a second year novice brother with the Society of Mary, the Marianists, and hopes to profess his first vows next May 2015.

Bryan Sharpe, A Cappella Choir Director (Vega)
Bryan is a graduate of Fairmont High School and holds his degree in music from Wright State University. He joins the faculty part-time as director of CJ’s premier pop a cappella group, Vega, replacing Joe Whatley ‘04 who accepted a full-time teaching position at Winton Woods High School outside of Cincinnati.

Teresa Spanel '10, Alumni Relations Coordinator
Teresa returned to her alma mater as the alumni relations coordinator in June 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton this May. While at UD, Teresa was named a 2014 recipient of the Maureen E. O’Rourke Marianist Student Award for living out the Marianist charism. She is also a member of the Ardeo Spiritu Lay Marianist community. Teresa replaces Beau Slater who accepted a position at Wilmington College.

Familiar Faces, New Roles

In addition to welcoming 13 aboard, CJ also transitioned a few faculty and staff into new roles for the 2014-15 school year.

As announced in the June 19 issue of the CJ Parent Weekly, Jason Unger, assistant principal, now also serves as acting athletic director. He replaces Scott Pierce who accepted a position at Kenston High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Greg Mueller, former English teacher and yearbook moderator, moves into the full-time role of administrator. He will provide support to the office of student services.

Teachers Lisa Colbert, religion, and Jordie Orr '05, math, will each pitch in to assist the office of ministry and service. Lisa will spend one period a day in the office in a supervisory role while Jordie inherits the Little Sibs program from Marilyn McCrate, who retired last school year.

Caitlin Bennett, who split time as a drama teacher and development events coordinator last school year, is now primarily teaching acting courses. She will continue her involvement with the school's theatre productions in fall and spring.

And finally, Bennett Davies was introduced as the new men's head golf coach at Meet the Eagles Night on August 7.


Run the Pfander Race at CJ or Anywhere

It’s been six years since he last set foot in the hallways of Chaminade Julienne, but the spirit of Lucas Pfander is alive and well within the building -- just ask former classmate, and now alumni relations coordinator, Ms. Teresa Spanel ‘10.

“To come back four years after graduating and see just how deeply Lucas has and continues to influence members of the CJ community is inspiring,” said Ms. Spanel, who returned to her alma mater to work in the development office this July after graduating from the University of Dayton.

Just one year behind Lucas at CJ, Spanel had planned to join the would-be senior and three-sport athlete on the cross country team in the fall of 2008, but never got the chance. He tragically passed away the summer before his final season in an accident while on vacation.

Today, everyone has the opportunity to join in celebrating Lucas’ memory as part of the school’s annual run/walk held in his honor. The Lucas Pfander Memorial Alumni Race was held Saturday, Aug. 16 on campus. Those who couldn't make it were encouraged to download a race bib and participate in the Virtual Race from anywhere in the world.

“The race and scholarship named in his honor help us remember the wonderful legacy that Lucas and his family have put forth for our current and future Eagles,” she said.

Proceeds from donations and t-shirt sales will benefit the Lucas Pfander Scholarship, which is awarded to a rising senior who best exemplifies the passion for life, dedication to community service, and affinity for fellowship that Lucas displayed. This year’s recipient is Helen Wittman, a senior on the cross country team.

Photo Album

2014 Lucas Pfander Memorial Alumni Race


Opening Week 2014 Comes Early at CJ

Opening Week is here!

The year began with an Opening Faculty & Staff retreat on August 11 followed by New Student Orientation on Wednesday, Aug. 13 and the first day of classes a day later.

Like many area schools, CJ started earlier than normal. Classes began eight days ahead of last year’s schedule. According to Principal John Marshall, the accelerated start and end dates allow the first semester to close before Christmas Break in December. Students also have more days of instruction before state assessments and AP exams are administered.

For some, like junior Cole Mason, it’s a welcome change. “I like starting earlier in the summer and getting out in May,” he said. “It helps break up the school year better.”

Teachers and staff started Monday with a traditional opening retreat, held this year at Aileron in Vandalia. Retreat centered around the history, mission and influence of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, one of the school’s two founding orders along with the Marianists. The Sisters celebrate their 175th anniversary in 2015.

Second year math teacher Mr. Alan Rozanski said it was exciting to get things going early. “I’m looking forward to getting into the normal flow of things and meeting new students,” he said.

Approximately 180 incoming freshmen and transfer students had the opportunity to get to know one another and familiarize themselves with the flow of the school day at Orientation on Wednesday. The day was organized by Mr. Greg Mueller, administrator. Activities included morning prayer, formal introductions, a tour of campus, lunch, and locker assignments. Day one ended with an ice cream social in the cafeteria.

“It was great meeting all of the new students who were willing and eager to embrace the CJ community and all of the exciting new things that come along with starting high school,” Mr. Mueller said. “The day went off without a hitch.”

Students, faculty and staff will prayerfully punctuate Opening Week on Friday, Aug. 15 with the first all-school Mass. All CJ community members are invited to attend liturgy with us at 9:30 a.m. in Emmanuel Church.


CJ Football Moms Reconnect at Camp

Ask a CJ football mom about her favorite part of the fall season and you may be surprised to hear one of the most popular experiences comes in summer, well before the Eagles take their first snap on the gridiron.

It’s Moms’ Camp!

“I always love camp,” said CJ parent Dawn Oppy. Held this year in mid-July, Moms’ Camp provided a welcoming way for all parties to start the season and break the ice.

Mrs. Oppy said she appreciated the opportunity to “reconnect” with other moms before spending Friday nights together in the stands. “It’s also great to spend time with the new, incoming freshman moms,” she continued.

For the third summer in four years as head coach, Marcus Colvin and staff made time one Saturday morning to give parents a chance to meet, learn about the game, and get to know the program. Camp opened with breakfast, organized by CJ football wife Mrs. Amanda Colvin, followed by presentations and “drills” in the Student Conditioning Center.

“We heard speakers on the topics of high school football officiating, health and nutrition for football players, and got to learn more about our sons’ positions and how CJ calls plays,” said Mrs. Oppy, whose son Adam will be a junior defensive back. “We even ran a few ourselves!”

Guest speakers included Mr. Paul Beyerle (pictured right), a CJ parent and tenured football referee, as well as Ms. Mary Brunner of Premier Health, one of the Eagles’ athletic trainers. The experience proved to be equally enjoyable as it was informative.

“Thanks to all the coaches and especially to Mrs. Colvin for organizing,” Mrs. Oppy said, adding that she looks hopes to meet new friends and see familiar faces at football camp next summer.