September 2016

National Merit Semifinalists Shine In and Out of the Classroom

Update (2/14/17): Congratulations to Christian Hemsath, Noah Meyer, and Marcie Meyers for being named National Merit Finalists!

First Take: Stars in and out of the classroom – four Chaminade Julienne students are among the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists recently named in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Christian Hemsath, Noah Meyer, Marcie Meyers and Michael Zopff will continue on in the competition, vying for a share of the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered in the spring of 2017.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool
of semifinalists – representing less than one percent of United States high school seniors – includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, providing information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance
to the finalist level.

While all of the CJ semifinalists excel in the classroom, they also do so outside the classroom and in the community.

Hemsath, whose has a passion for math, also composes music in his spare time and is a member of the Phoenix A Cappella group. Meyer plays soccer and has done extensive work with refugees – his related work has been displayed at the Dayton Peace Museum.

Meyers is an avid member of the crew team. Her Capstone project work has focused on child poverty and education a perfect fit with the volunteer work she does at the Glen at St. Joseph, a safe haven for women and children. Zopf, whose passion is computer programming, is an active member of the Special Ops Club and is also involved with his church, St. Luke’s.

CJ also had three students recognized this year as National Merit Commended – Lizzy Reutschle, Noah Mussin-Phillips and Cole Wagner.

Living Their Faith

Queen Peters-Thornton '17, Dallas Jones '18 and Patrick Boudinot '18 recently helped lead a junior high retreat at Immaculate Conception School. The Eagles collaborated with students from Carroll and Alter high schools for this faith-filled day. It is the first year CJ students have been invited to participate.

“This is a great opportunity for them to take on a faith leadership role with younger students, and to be positive role models for them,” said Kelli Kinnear, CJ director of Ministry & Service.

The Eagles leaders led a prayer experience for the 7th and 8th graders on retreat. 

“In doing this, they are living out our Profile of a CJ grad by ‘becoming a person of faith’ and ‘a person of compassion and integrity,’” Kinnear said.
CJ students are formed in their faith to become Christ-centered people who live out the Gospel message. Participating in this retreat was one way these CJ students were able to live out the Gospel in their life.

“I learned to be more open to God and to become more accepting to more people,” senior Queen Peters-Thornton said.

“I hold faith as a very important part of my life, and felt that helping others with their faith life is the best thing to do,” junior Patrick Boudinot said.
“Participating in this retreat was important to me because I love helping others,” junior Dallas Jones said. “And it was nice to visit my school again.”

While the retreat leaders enjoyed the experience, the Immaculate Conception students who also inspired by the retreat.

“Hopefully they will be inspired to grow in their faith and to see that if a high school student is open to sharing and living out their faith, it is an okay or ‘cool’ thing for them to do too,” Kinnear said.

For Boudinot, it was his first time participating in a retreat in this capacity.

“My station was all about peace, and my most memorable moment from the retreat was when the youth and I had a prayer circle where we could each voice a peace prayer intention such as peace in the Middle East or peace in our community,” he said. “It was interesting to see what kind of an impact that someone can have on youth.”

Graduate Brings Real World Experience to Campus as STEMM Idol Speaker

In a perfect world, patients would follow her advice and treat her and the hospital staff respectfully, but hospitalist and internal medicine specialist Anne Schoen doesn’t practice medicine in a perfect world.

“But my job is taking care of all God’s people, not just the ones who are easy to care for,” Schoen said. “It’s easy to take care of patients who are nice and appreciative, but I need to provide good care for everyone, despite the fact that some of my patients don’t even care about themselves.”

Schoen, a Chaminade Julienne graduate, recently returned to campus as a STEMM Idol speaker. The ’97 CJ graduate completed her undergraduate degree in biological studies at Ohio University before attending the Ohio State College of Medicine. Schoen completed her residency training in internal medicine at Ohio State University Hospital before the Dayton native returned to the area to take a job as a hospitalist at Miami Valley Hospital in 2008. She spoke to students about her background and shared some firsthand experiences of the use and abuse of narcotics.

“I wanted to give a little taste of the practicality of what I do and share some of the day-to-day examples of what I experience,” Schoen said.

While medicine wasn’t her planned career path when she was at CJ, science was already a passion.

“I absolutely loved my time at CJ,” she said. “It really gave me a love for the sciences and for problem solving.”

That love of science combined with a strong desire to interact with people led her to medicine. In her current position, working predominantly from 7 p.m.-7 a.m., Schoen sees a fair share of drug-related cases. While she addressed the fact that overdose is the No. 1 cause of illicit drug-related death worldwide, she also spoke about the physiology of narcotics, how they work and why they are so dangerous.

Schoen is one of the many professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering, match and medicine who participate in the STEMM Idol Speaker Series. The sessions – numbering about 15 during the school year – are open to all CJ students, faculty and staff.

CJ Community Supports Peace Heroes Walk

Following in the footsteps of those who came before them and honoring them through their actions, members of the Chaminade Julienne community recently participated in the 2nd Annual Miami Valley Peace Heroes Walk Around the World.

The Peace Heroes Walk – held on September 11– was a family-friendly educational event designed to promote peace literacy through the stories of peace heroes. Teams selected a peace hero to honor – in the case of the Chaminade Julienne team it was Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN '49. The CJ team included members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community, alumni, current students and PULSE volunteer Dominic Sanfilippo.

“Hundreds of people from around the Miami Valley gathered to commemorate specific peace heroes that were important to them – whether it was an activist and a peace champion with local roots, like Sister Dorothy Stang, or a cultural icon, like Muhammad Ali – and to raise awareness of the process of peace literacy, peace education, and the breadth and depth of the stories and experiences of the city of Dayton in general,” Sanfilippo said.

Sanfilippo has visited the International Peace Museum and participated in peace-themed celebrations and remembrances, but was greatly impacted by this, his first peace walk. An estimated $87,000 was raised by 654 registered walkers.

“There was such a joyful vibe and energy at the walk, which I think came from the diverse array of people conversing and celebrating,” Sanfilippo said. “I saw people from all walks of life mingling, laughing, and, when the band was playing music before the walk, singing together.

“Events like this are a powerful reminder of one of the guiding tenets of the city of Dayton – to be a diverse, lively city that encourages talk and work around peace and justice – as well as a reminder of why I chose to both become more active with the Marianists and CJ in a lay capacity and to dive into the messy, beautiful work of helping create community in the ordinary moments of life in the Gem City.”

For more information visit link.

CJ Celebrates LIFT Success

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Chaminade Julienne announced the successful completion of LIFT — Leading In Faith Today, the school's $20 million effort to elevate the learning experience for its students.

$20 million was an ambitious goal but one that suited the Chaminade Julienne administration and Board of Trustees just fine.

In 2011, Chaminade Julienne quietly launched a campaign initiative later called LIFT – Leading in Faith Today – with a goal of $20 million to support school operations, strengthen the school’s endowment, improve the campus and the learning and teaching environment, and develop student programming.

Trustee and graduate Antonette Lucente clearly remembers attending the Board meeting where the ambitious campaign was approved. "Although, we knew the CJ community was steadfast and supportive of past endeavors, we had never undertaken a campaign of this magnitude,” Lucente said.

“We knew that our goals for LIFT were ambitious, but we believed the CJ community was ready to make significant investments in the Catholic educational experience at Chaminade Julienne,” said President and CEO Dan Meixner.

Meixner was right. The campaign – announced publicly in 2014 – has exceeded expectations and monetary goals and raised $21.2 million. Members of the community were so inspired by the progress being made possible because of LIFT, they contributed gifts amounting to $7.5 million beyond the priorities outlined in LIFT.  One such project is Roger Glass Stadium, Home of the CJ Eagles, opened in August 2016.

“Together, we dreamed big and have made history,” Meixner told benefactors at the celebratory dinner on Wednesday. “We have celebrated along the way, as each new initiative or project came to fruition, but now we celebrate the conclusion of this journey of faith and hope.”

“As we moved through the phases of the campaign, we began to understand how deeply committed our CJ community really was. At every turn, we conveyed our message and the community responded,” Lucente said. “We heard stories of the strong impact CJ had on past graduates and families of our alumni.”

The results of LIFT are visible and impactful including renovated classrooms, hallways, gym and cafeteria as well as additions like the CJ STEMM Center and Eagle Tennis Center. The campaign has also funded strategic programs and grown the endowment and annual fund, enabling more students to experience all that CJ has to offer.

CJ’s impact on the Dayton community has not gone unnoticed as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley visited school Wednesday to announce that September 14, 2016 was officially declared Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School Day in Dayton.

Honorary LIFT Co-Chairs Brother Ray Fitz SM, Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice, University of Dayton and Sister Carol Lichtenburg, SNDdeN, Provincial Leader of the Ohio Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, share the success of LIFT.

“LIFT has greatly advanced Chaminade Julienne’s capacity to provide an education that will prepare young people to make a difference with their lives,” said Brother Ray Fitz SM, Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice, University of Dayton. “This campaign has provided resources to enhance the excellence of the curriculum, to transform our educational facilities, and most importantly to provide families and students access to a CJ education.”

“LIFT proves that there are so many people in the area and around the country who believe in the mission of Chaminade Julienne,” Sister Carol Lichtenburg, SNDdeN, Provincial Leader of the Ohio Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. “The heart of the educational experience is intangible, but it certainly is enhanced by updated classrooms and facilities. The generosity of innumerable supporters has made it possible to bring an already outstanding school to a new level of excellence.”

Chaminade Julienne LIFT Capital Improvements Completed to Date
* Eagle Tennis Center (2011)
* CJ STEMM Center (2013)
* Mary, Our Lady of Victory gym (2013)
* Building One Classrooms (2015)
* Cafeteria (2015)
* Performing Arts Rehearsal Space (2015)
* Auditorium (2016)

In addition, and inspired by LIFT
* Roger Glass Stadium - Home of the Chaminade Julienne Eagles

The Significance of Remembering

A 9-11 First-Responder’s Perspective by Michael Muhl '87
(First published in the Fall 2011 issue of Vision)

 My wife and I sat in our living room and watched as the events of 9-11 unfolded before us on the television. I had just taken our older children to school, and Kelly and I had settled in to enjoy time with our ten-day-old son, John Michael.

As I saw the smoke billowing from the towers, I feared for the safety of the first responders, many of whom were close personal friends. As the South tower fell to earth, I knew that our rescue team would be sent, and I began retrieving my gear from the garage.  This was an attack, and it was personal. My Task Force was deploying to search for, and rescue survivors, and I had to be there with them. I looked at Kelly holding our newborn and knew the sacrifices we were both about to make.

I went as the Task Force Leader of FEMA Ohio Task Force One. Our team deployed from WPAFB at 5:30 p.m., and arrived in lower Manhattan at 6 a.m. the next day. We were to work with other FEMA US&R Task Forces and members from the FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD to search for, and rescue survivors. This is what we had spent years training for, and I was absolutely confident that we would succeed.

By the second day, we knew that we were not going to find anyone alive. For 11 days, our team discovered and collected evidence that peoples’ lives had ended abruptly and horrifically that September morning. It was the kind of work that we could have never imagined.

I returned home empty and devoid of any feeling of accomplishment. It wasn’t until about a year later, near the anniversary of the collapse, when I began watching interviews with widows and widowers that I began to see things in a different way. One after another, relatives of victims would relay how grateful they were to have closure about their loved ones — a direct result of our efforts at Ground Zero. Though we did not accomplish what we had set out to do, in the fashion we had set out to do it, we did the work that others had needed us to do. We had made a difference.

I believe that many of us go into life with a set of expectations. When we dedicate ourselves to accomplishing them and then don’t, it can be demoralizing and frustrating. Then moments of grace come, causing us to step out of personal assessment and into an understanding of how our actions produce positive outcomes for others, even if we cannot perceive them.

I believe that the 10th anniversary of 9-11 has brought us to a time when events tied to that tragic day have transitioned from being a current event to a pivotal chapter in American history. It is not as fresh in everyone’s mind unless you were directly affected.

When I think back to that time, I remember how survivors, rescuers, and ordinary citizens alike acted out of the same patriotic and human desire: “I am here for you, how can I help?” The concept of service and the desire to be compassionate and tolerant towards one another must remain—and is something that I have personally seen reflected through the students, faculty, and alumni of Chaminade Julienne time and time again. It should not take a tragedy for us to look beyond the issues that divide us, and to live in a way that serves others, so that we can make a difference, even if it’s not in the way we had originally planned.

About the Author
Michael is currently a Lieutenant / Paramedic for the City of Huber Heights Fire Division, and a Rescue Team Manager for DHS/FEMA Ohio Task Force One. He has served as a member of Ohio Task Force One since its inception in 1994, and also works for Spec Rescue International where he travels nationally and internationally to educate and train the military, and other emergency response agencies, in technical rescue. He and his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Nicholas ‘11, Courteney ‘13 and John Michael ‘20 are members of Holy Angels Parish in Dayton.


Michael serves as Keynote Speaker at "Huber Heights Remembers 9/11" at Wayne High School. The Sept. 11, 2016 program that includes a documentary viewing, 21 gun salute and balloon launch begins at 3 p.m. 

SND Summer Experience in Boston

Discovering ways to strengthen the charism and hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Chaminade Julienne community was just one of the many positive outcomes of the recent SND Student Leadership Conference.

Four CJ students along with English teacher Molly Bardine and school counselor Susan Eichenauer gathered in Boston with students and faculty members from six SND schools this summer for this first-time conference.

“After the international gathering of SND educators in Cincinnati and Boston, the idea was born to have students gather together to learn about St. Julie's charism, the SND hallmarks and their role as senior leaders in their schools in carrying out the charism and hallmarks,” Bardine said. “After the conference the seniors mentioned to me how much they learned about the SNDs – their work, mission, and what the hallmarks mean.  Each day, certain hallmarks were emphasized and they learned how to apply them in their lives and in their school.”

The CJ students enjoyed interacting with other seniors from SND schools. They explored leadership issues at their schools, the qualities of being a leader, and what the charism and hallmarks might mean to them as leaders.

Claire Evans '17 was one of the four students who represented CJ at the conference. Her hope was to get a better understanding of CJ co-founder Sr. Julie, but she came away with much more.

“For years, I have been involved with the Marianist community, but I had never felt like the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were a large part of my life, so I wanted to have a better understanding of that major part of my high school career,” Evans said. “My biggest takeaway from the conference was that it’s so easy to make a change or an impact in my community with the support of so many other schools and adults that want to be involved. I love that the wonderful sisters want to be involved with everything students around the country and world do and I would love to bring all our ideas to life. I am so thankful for this experience because it was so humbling to meet so many different types of leaders and to be able to work with them for a week.”

Evans, along with CJ students Danielle Lewis, Spencer Mullins and Bradley Walker, also made an impression on event organizers.

“The kids were absolutely wonderful,” said Sr. Rita Sturwold, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Director of Mission Integration. “They were participative, they were engaged, they were friendly. They enjoyed meeting one another. It was a really wonderful experience.”

And the takeaways may well impact the CJ community in the near future.

“One idea emerging from the conference was an SND Day of Service which we hope all SND schools in the United States will participate in this year,” Bardine said.  “Bradley Walker hopes to formulate his Capstone project around the Day of Service. It will be nice for him to take the lead on this project within our school and also help the other SND schools in their efforts as well.”

Muse Machine Back at CJ

A life skill like listening – demonstrated with a large dose of laughter – is just one way Justin Howard and Trey Stone connect with students.

The Black Box Improv Theater performers recently made a visit to Chaminade Julienne as part of the Muse Machine In-School Performance Series. The presentation/performance emphasized active listening, teamwork, creativity and confidence building through the use of improv and music. Drama teacher Caitlin Bennett, a regular performer at the Black Box Improv Theater, even got in on the act as did a few CJ students who volunteered to be part of the interactive demonstrations. 

While Howard and Stone are regulars at area schools, as they will visit 34 schools this fall alone, their presentation can be geared toward the corporate world as well as the classroom.

“Improv is used in a lot of businesses for training,” Howard said. “It’s a way to learn that’s very engaging.”

“It’s all about collaboration,” Stone added. “It’s about working well together.”

Demonstrating the value of agreement when working in groups, showing the importance of listening, and helping students overcome anxiety were a few of the topics Howard and Stone addressed in what they call the “Madness Behind the Method.”

“We show how it relates to school and life,” Howard said.

The lessons learned aren’t limited to students – they are skills for a lifetime.

“As we become adults, there are more responsibilities all the time and that can make listening and communicating effectively even more difficult,” Stone said. “What we do here is applicable to everybody.”

CJ recently renewed its membership with the Muse Machine. The Black Box Improv Theater performers were the first of four in-school artists who will perform on campus during the 2016-17 school year.

Event: August 31, 2016