July 2015

Eagles Attend Rosary Rally

For CJ's football team, being a part of the program is more than running plays on the field. It is also about developing young men as future leaders in school, in their relationship with God, and in the community.

Recently, several Eagle football players attended a SportsLeader Rosary Rally at the University of Dayton. Other football players from area Catholic high schools, including Alter, Bishop Fenwick, Carroll, Sidney Lehman, and Springfield Central Catholic, also attended the event.

According to their website, SportsLeader is "a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches of all ages, youth through professional. It is for boys, girls, young men and young women. It is for schools and teams, whether public or private, who are interested in a structured, intentional and specific method and curriculum to help teach virtue."

Eagle Head Football Coach Marcus Colvin added, "their goal is incorporate more faith formation through sports."

The SportsLeader program was created by former Ohio State football player Joe Lukens and Louisville St. Agnes football coach Paul Passafiume. The organization's website credited the pair for developing the program because "they saw the world of sports drifting away from its original ideals; at the same time, they realized that sports...can play a pivotal role in the virtuous development of young people." The organization is now run by Lou Judd with assistance from Chaminade graduate and former Notre Dame Coach Gerry Faust '53.

"It is always great to interact with Faust," said Colvin.

He also added that attending an event like this helps build the team's bond not only with each other, but with the other Catholic high school players.

"Faith is such a unifying part of life. We prayed alongside Carroll, Alter, and Fenwick, three teams we need to defeat in order to be champions in football this year. Later this season we will compete against each of those teams for 48 minutes, but this opportunity provided us one hour where we were just a unified group of student athletes praying the Rosary; that was pretty special."


Rural Plunge in Solsberry, Indiana

Living simply is not something many high school students are used to in this modern age. But 14 CJ students, along with 14 students from Moeller High School in Cincinnati, chose to do just that for nearly a week as part of a rural plunge experience.

The group traveled to the Solsberry Hill Retreat Center in Solsberry, Indiana to participate in several service projects.

"The retreat center is set on a wooded farm in rural Indiana so we were surrounded by the beauty of nature - a constant reminder of God's goodness," said Kelli Kinnear, Director of Ministry and Service, who was a chaperone on the trip.

The students split into small groups and volunteered at various service sites around Bloomington, Indiana. Some groups painted a grade school, some worked at a build site for Habitat for Humanity, while others spent time in a garden which supplied food for a local food bank.

Clara Mussin Phillips '17 reflected about a large task her group completed. "We moved a 2000 pound rock. This is something that I never thought that I would be able to do. However, through the teamwork of about 15 people, we were able to move it and help build the amphitheater at the retreat center."

While at the center, the students embraced the world around them and could not rely on everyday technology. Some students used the retreat center's solar powered showers, which provided heated water via sunlight. The groups were also responsible for preparing their own food and cleaning up afterwards.

During the evenings, the students enjoyed time swimming in the pond, playing games and fishing. Kinnear said the groups also used this time for prayer and reflection.

"I think all of us left feeling blessed in some way, and being reminded of the true joy we receive when we dedicate our lives to Jesus' call for us to serve others," she explained.

Ellie Cronin '17 echoed that sentiment, saying during the trip, "we came out of our comfort zones and became more a part of the Marianist community." 

Alumni Relations Coordinator Teresa Spanel '10, who also chaperoned the trip, agreed about the experience. "I was incredibly impressed by our students willingness and excitement to embrace the unknown and do service." 

"Amazing Experience" for Young Leaders

"Leaders don't have to get ready, they stay ready.”

That theme was at the heart of a Leadership Development Camp recently held by the American Red Cross. Brianna Gavin ’17 attended this camp and called it an amazing experience.

“Being a leader doesn't mean that you have to have a title,” said Gavin. “To be a leader, all you have to do is take your goals, take your peoples wishes, compromise, and come to quick solutions for the better of most and/or all involved parties.”

The four day Leadership Development Camp was held at Xavier University in Cincinnati. According to the camp website, “youth attending the Leadership Development Camp participate in workshops and sessions on various leadership topics like public speaking, understanding and embracing diversity, leadership styles and volunteerism.”

“There was a woman who came to speak with the group and she told us her life story which contained many aspects of poverty, single-parent households, and mountains of stress,” reflected Gavin. “This speaker was one of the best people who I have ever encountered because she connected with me and my story; to the point where she encouraged me to pursue my dreams of pre-med despite self-confidence issues which all teenagers have.”

Gavin said she also hopes to take this experience to create a Red Cross Club at CJ.  She also encouraged other students to experience Leadership Development Camp if given the opportunity.

“I believe students at CJ should go to Leadership Development Camp in order to raise confidence, meet new people, and most importantly become better leaders for the better of the CJ community.”


K12 Gallery/TEJAS Expanded Partnership

The 2015-2016 school year will be a new, but familiar experience for students who take visual arts courses.

Principal John Marshall '86 recently announced that CJ will enhance its partnership with K12 Gallery/TEJAS this year with all visual art classes being taught by K12 Gallery staff at both CJ and the art center.

"Over the past two years, CJ and K12 Gallery/TEJAS have been in planning discussions on potential partnership programming to enhance the fine arts programming at CJ and in the Dayton area," said Marshall.

In 2012, CJ began using K12 Gallery/TEJAS as a field trip destination and a resource for the visual arts department. During the 2013-2014 school year, students began using the resources at K12's new 37,000 sq. foot studio located on Jefferson Street, which is a .3 mile walk from CJ’s campus. Students used the studio during block days and extended class periods.

"This proved to be a positive experience and the discussions extended to incorporate the other fine arts classes," said Marshall. 

He added that the expanded partnership could provide other opportunities for students outside of the traditional school day.

"We continue to explore potential areas of shared resources as we look into afternoon and evening programming," Marshall explained. "We are also actively looking at Saturday studio time at K12 for those students who wish to deepen their art experience."


CJ Baseball Field Renovations

While Cincinnati Reds fans are looking forward to the upcoming All-Star Game being played at Great American Ball Park, CJ baseball players and fans are excited to play ball again, thanks to major renovations at Howell Field.

The ball park had a significant facelift, with new fencing, infield dirt, dugouts and more, thanks in part to a $5 million commitment from the Reds and Major League Baseball to upgrade nine Greater Cincinnati ball fields.

"Dayton is in the heart of Reds' country and this project was one on the map," said Phil Castellini, COO of the Cincinnati Reds, during a dedication ceremony of Howell Field.

The field's press box also received significant upgrades and was re-named in honor of Dayton sports writer Hal McCoy, who attended the ceremony.

CJ baseball was well represented at the event, with players expressing their excitement about the renovations.

"Everything has really changed," said Stephen Hoendorf '16. "The dugouts, the press box, honestly the whole field is a lot better."

Shawn Steffan '16 agreed, "when you're playing on a big field and everything looks so amazing, it really inspires you to play more baseball."

Coach Mike Barhorst said the team takes pride in calling Howell Field home.

"We feel confident here. Now with the upgrades, we feel like we're playing in a really special place."

You can watch WRGT's coverage of the dedication ceremony below.


Cheerleading Coaches Using New Format

Two familiar faces were recently chosen to coach and lead the CJ cheerleaders this upcoming school year.

Jessica Smith ’08 and Danielle Byrd said they were both excited about the opportunity to give back to the CJ community through the cheerleading program.  Smith cheered during the football and basketball seasons all four years she attended CJ and Byrd is the parent of a CJ student.

“I am most excited to give back to my high school,” Smith said about being back at CJ.

“I love this school as a parent, so this is a great opportunity for me to give back to this school which has given so much to my child,” said Byrd.

The coaches will work together for both the football and basketball seasons. Byrd will be the head coach during the football season and Smith will assist. Their roles will reverse for the basketball season.

“I like the fact that the coaches will be working together consistently throughout the seasons,” interim Athletic Director Jason Unger expressed about the new coaching format.

Cheerleading try-outs for the 2015-2016 school year took place at the end of June, but both coaches encouraged students interested in the program to start thinking ahead for the following year.

“A lot of new girls came out this year,” Byrd said. “It’s a great bonding opportunity and positive role model experience for girls.”

Smith agreed, “if you are thinking about being a cheerleader, do it!”


Building One Progress Report

After several rain delays, the weather finally cooperated on Wednesday for construction crews to place the new air conditioning unit onto the roof of Building One.

"This is a big step forward of progress in this renovation project," said CJ President Dan Meixner '84. "Being able to create a more conducive learning environment for our teachers and our students is really exciting."

The air conditioning unit was delivered to CJ in seven pieces and each piece had to be lifted onto the roof by a crane. The largest piece of the unit weighed 7,000 pounds.

Students who were at the school on Wednesday were excited about the advancement of the Building One construction.

"Having air conditioning on the third floor will make it be easier to focus in class and overall, it will be more comfortable," said Katarina Dranchak '16.

The addition of air conditioning to Building One was one of the many renovations happening in the building thanks to LIFT. Crews began work on the third floor of Building One during Spring Break and began working on the first and second floor as soon as school was let out for summer break.  To date, crews have finished most renovations to the third floor, have added HVAC piping into the gymnasium, and have made significant renovations to the cafeteria.

"It's one thing to add paint and nice finishes," said Meixner about the renovations. "It's another thing to create an environment where learning can occur year round. What Wednesday represented was a big step forward in that goal."


Cleveland Mission Trip

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus talked about being positive agents of change for our world referencing the salt and light. During the week of June 21, a group of CJ students used that teaching as a foundation for their mission trip to Euclid, Ohio, near Cleveland.

Teacher Angela Ruffolo led the group as they volunteered at the Rose-Mary Center, a residential center for children and teenagers with severe disabilities. The Rosemary Center has been in place for more than 90 years. Currently, about 35 young people reside in the facility. Due to new state laws, the Rose-Mary Center residents are required to live in smaller group homes in the next year. To help prepare for the move, the CJ students, along with volunteers from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, helped organize and clear out more than 90 years worth of items.

"Most of our week was spent lifting and moving lots of furniture, cleaning all sorts of areas, shredding hundreds of boxes of old files, collecting lots of items for a future garage sale, and separating items into things to keep, things to throw away, and things for scrap metal collection," said Ruffolo.

The group also had fun with the Rose-Mary Center residents and planned a Hawaiian Luau party for them. Ruffolo said the students made decorations for the event, planned activities and games, and even created a dance to teach the residents.

"This day was definitely one of the highlights of the week because we truly had time to interact with the residents," Ruffolo shared about the experience. "We went outside of our comfort zones and were touched by these wonderful kids!"

Ruffolo said another highlight of the trip was watching the end of a torch run sponsored by the Euclid Police Department.

"The run ended at the Rose-Mary Center, and we, along with some of the residents, were the welcoming committee for the runners," Ruffolo said. The run raised money
and awareness for the Special Olympics.

During the mission trip, the group stayed at Cleveland Central Catholic High School, which brought a sense of familiarity to the students.

"The lobby area of Cleveland Central Catholic was dedicated to St. Julie Billiart and the Sisters of Notre Dame, so we felt a connection with the high school we stayed in," said Ruffolo.

She added that the week overall was a success, with the group doing a lot of praying, singing, laughing and community building during their trip.