April 2018

Capstone Collects Items for Kitten Care Kits

A senior capstone group passionate about helping animals took their mission to the lacrosse field earlier this month. The group consisting of Dallas Jones, Megan Schultz and Tim Sprowl held a collection to make Kitten Care Kits benefiting the Humane Society of Greater Dayton on Saturday, April 21.

“I have always been passionate about animals,” Schultz said. “In fact I have adopted two dogs from SISCA and intend to adopt more when I become an adult.”  

“I have grown up surrounded by rescue animals so I wanted to participate in a project where I was going to be making an even greater impact on the homeless animal population in the Miami Valley,” Sprowl noted.

Group members were collecting bottles of original Dawn dish soap, small bags of non-clumping litter, small washcloths, aluminum roaster oven pans, any brand of kitten formula, and wet or dry food for the kitten care kits.

“The Humane Society of Greater Dayton is seeing an increase in community kittens being born this year over years past,” Sprowl noted. “At this time the increase in unquantifiable but substantial. This year is better than any in the past to start creating these kits. Caring for kittens can be very expensive and volunteers are caring for these animals because they want to. These kits allow them to provide the best care possible for the kittens while also making the process more easy and streamlined.”

The Capstone members said they are continuing to collect contributions through mid-May.

Posted April 30, 2018

JCOWA Goes to Washington, D.C. for National Competition

Update: Congratulations to the JCOWA members on their participation in the Academic Worldquest! The group finished in the top 30 of the competition.

Road to Nationals: Four members of the JCOWA (Junior Council on World Affairs) club are returning to Washington, D.C. to compete in the World Affairs Councils of America's Academic Worldquest in Washington, D.C. from April 27-28.

Jake Jagels ‘18, Emery Monnig ‘18, and Connor Trick ‘18 represented CJ at the national competition in 2016.

“It’s nice to represent CJ on the national level,” Trick said.

Jagels agreed, “Getting to compete nationally is an honor and we are able to show off our school.”

Monnig added, “It’s fun to have a unique high school experience that not many people are able to get.”

Jacob Ely ‘18 also qualified as part of the group in 2016, but was unable to attend the national competition due to another commitment.

“I’m excited for the experience and to see how we compete on the national scale,” Ely said.

CJ’s club is monitored by teacher Tony Ricciuto ‘74.

“It’s nice to be in Washington, D.C. and have them experience it again,” Ricciuto noted.

The group qualified for the national tournament after winning the annual Quiz Bowl held by the Dayton Council on World Affairs in January. 

To prepare for the national competition, the seniors have reviewed study materials and have each taken certain current and world topics to focus on as a speciality subject.

The group will compete with around 50 teams from across the world.

Good luck, Eagles!

Updated April 30, 2018; Posted April 26, 2018


Jones Signs to Run Track with Morehead State University

A current senior is on the fast track to success in college as Dallas Jones ‘18 signed to run track for Morehead State University on Friday, April 20.

“I chose the school because it fit me as a person and I can see myself succeeding well,” Jones said. “It is the best for me academically and athletically.”

Jones has been a member of the CJ track and field team for four years. In 2017, she earned a trip to the state track and field competition as a member of the 4x200 relay team.

“She works hard,” noted head coach Jerry Puckett. “She worked her way up and she’s had success - this is the culmination of it. I’m proud of her.”

In addition to her talent on the track, Jones has been a key contributor to the women’s basketball team. During her senior season, she was named the GCL athlete of the year, named to the All-GCL First Team and represented CJ during the District 15 All-Star Game. In 2016, Jones was named to the All-GCL Second Team.

“I’m going to miss the people of CJ,” Jones reflected as her senior year comes to an end. “I’ll miss my classmates because they helped me through my whole process.”

Jones intends to study English and film studies in college.

Posted April 30, 2018


Honoring the Class of 2018 Distinguished Alumni

While the academic rigor was a cornerstone for future success, it was the faith, faculty and the Chaminade Julienne family that left a lasting impression on the Class of 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. While their paths after leaving CJ varied greatly, the recipients' dedication to the values instilled in them remains constant.

Sr. Nancy Gnau, SNDdeN, ’48 – Professional Achievement
Sr. Nancy Gnau believed in Chaminade Julienne High School even before there was a Chaminade Julienne High School.

Sr. Nancy, who entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur after graduation from Julienne High School in 1948, was a driving force behind the merger of her alma mater and Chaminade High School as she was principal of Julienne when the conversation first began. It was in that role that she reached out to the Chaminade principal to discuss the future of both schools. It was her foresight that led to the formation of a committee that, after two years, merged the two schools into Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School where she served as its first executive director.

“If another Sister had been principal at the time, who knows if they would have started that dialogue,” said Sr. Kim Dalgran, SNDdeN.

While her life as a Sister of Notre Dame took her away from Dayton for several years, her heart was always at CJ.

“We joked that her blood ran blue and green,” Sr. Kim said with a smile. “She had generations of nieces and nephews who attended CJ and she was always interested in what was happening there.”

Sr. Nancy – a proud third generation graduate of Notre Dame education in Dayton – returned to CJ in the early 1990s as a teacher and administrator.

“Part of the joy in that for her was seeing how the school had developed,” Sr. Kim said. “She saw how well it worked.”

Sr. Nancy passed away in January 2017 and is being recognized posthumously by the school that always had a special place in her heart.

Todd Walker, ’95 – Professional Achievement
While Todd Walker left the Chaminade Julienne campus in 1995, education has remained a priority to him throughout his career.

Todd – who received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in English education and a doctorate in education from Ohio State University – began his educational career with Columbus Public Schools before becoming the Director of the Columbus Africentric Early College Campus (CAEC). The vision for CAEC is high achievement and early college for each student while affirming positive leadership of African Americans to benefit the global community. He successfully planned and executed the first recognition of emerging African American leadership “Sankofa,” which was created to bring attention to the mission and goals of his school while highlighting music, fine arts, literary excellence, and dance. Todd credits Chaminade Julienne for creating the foundation for his professional success.

“Chaminade Julienne played a critical role in providing foundational academic knowledge, social skills and faith awareness that I have carried with me into my adult life, so to be recognized as a distinguished alumni by this institution means a great deal,” he said. “CJ impacted my life because its faculty and coaches demanded the best of me and the school provided a milieu that cultivated, for me, significant relationships and key life long friendships.”

Coach Jim Place was among those who left a lifelong impression on him.

“Coach Place had a profound impact on my life and those in my cohort,” he said. “The class of '95, which included his son, Jim, Chris Anderson and Barrett Robinson – to name just a few – was a special group indeed.”

Dieter Krewedl ’61 – Professional Achievement
Dieter Krewedl and his parents came to the United States from their native Yugoslavia in 1949 with little more than the clothes on their backs. But they had something much more valuable than worldly possessions.

“My parents constantly stressed the importance of education,” Dieter said. “They would tell me, ‘No one can take from you what is inside your head.’”

It was a message that Dieter took to heart with a strong work ethic that he maintained throughout his academic and professional career.

After he graduated from Chaminade, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Dayton, a master’s degree in geology from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate in mineral exploration from the University of Arizona. During his career as a geologist, Dieter was instrumental in gold, silver and uranium exploration and development worldwide. His successful career took him across the country and around the world, to more than 30 countries.

“Much of any success I’ve had can be traced back to Chaminade Julienne,” he said.

It was more than academic rigor that he looks back on fondly.

“Having brothers and priests as teachers was really a blessing,” he said. “They gave me a good spiritual education but they were more than teachers and mentors, they were also friends.”

Living “basic Christian values” has been important to Dieter and his wife Beth as they raise their four children. Those same values were a resounding theme in his nomination, which focused on his concern for his family, friends, colleagues and church.

“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life and receiving the distinguished alumni award is another one of those times.”

John Zaidain, ’68 – Chaminade Julienne Community Award
To say John Zaidain is a Chaminade Julienne mainstay is no exaggeration. For more than half a century, John has been a part of the CJ family as a student, teacher or coach.

He wears many hats at CJ as a social studies and physical education teacher and a football and men's volleyball assistant coach. He is the epitome of what it means to be part of the CJ community. But those are roles he plays, not who he is. Those who work with him describe him as a man of integrity. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone on campus who doesn’t smile when you mention his name. He treats everyone – students, faculty and staff alike – with respect and compassion and goes out of his way to make them feel loved and secure.

John lives his life based on Catholic teachings and has been active in his parish, along with his wife, Kathy and their children. He is kind, generous, humble and loyal – the perfect Chaminade Julienne ambassador.

“It is humbling to be recognized as a distinguished alumni considering the quality of the thousands of graduates of Chaminade, Julienne and Chaminade Julienne,” he said. “In reality, I feel that I am just one of thousands of graduates who used my education at Chaminade as a foundation to become a dedicated teacher, coach, a loving husband and father. So, I feel like my accomplishments are nothing special, just what a person is supposed to do.”

Deger Family – Legacy Award
It all began with family matriarch Agnes Hochwalt Deger, who graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 1906. In the century that followed, there seemed to rarely be a time when a member of the Deger family wasn’t attending Chaminade, Julienne or, more recently, CJ.

Agnes’ sons, Thomas and Robert, graduated from Chaminade in 1929 and 1930, respectively, and Robert and his wife, Winifred, had seven children graduate from CJ or one of its predecessor institutions – Dr. Grant Deger, ‘57, Ronald Deger, ‘59, Dr. Robert Deger, ‘61, Christine Deger O’Brien, ‘63, Elizabeth Deger, ‘68, Philip Deger, ‘74 and Douglas Deger, ‘75. Paula Deger Cooper attended Julienne but graduated from Ursuline Academy. Philip also had three stepdaughters graduate from CJ between 1993-99.

“Our family was very fortunate to have been filtered into life through the prism of Catholic education and CJ in particular,” Grant said. “I am the eldest of eight children who attended CJ. All of us graduated from college and five have advanced degrees.

Chaminade helped me develop a moral compass and introduced me to wholesome men who became lifelong friends. I was so well taught in the sciences at Chaminade that premedical education at the University of Dayton almost seemed easy.”

Ron shares Grant’s assessment of Chaminade’s academic rigor and credits the school with his success in the Marine Corp and, later, in a lengthy career in executive management.

“Wilber Wright once commented that the secret of achieving success is to ‘pick good parents and be born in Ohio,’ I would add ‘and attend a school like Chaminade Julienne High School,’” Ron said.

The Distinguished Alumni Class of 2018 were honored at a dinner at CJ on Thursday, April 26. Congratulations to all recipients!

Posted April 26, 2018

STEMM Idol: Nicole Weckesser '12

Nicole Weckesser ‘12 always had a passion for science.

“I was in AP Bio here and fully enjoyed the science classes while I was at CJ.”

Weckesser will graduate with a Doctorate in Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University later this spring. She returned to talk to students about her educational journey on Tuesday, April 17 as part of CJ’s STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

“What made me interested in pharmacy was that I didn’t like the blood and guts of doctors, so I wanted to stay away from that side of the medical field,” Weckesser shared. “I didn’t do a lot of research into pharmacy when I was in high school. When I was a junior, my dad started talking to me about pharmacy and I looked more into it. Every time I learn something new about the field I still find it fascinating.”

Weckesser added that internships were integral as she went through school.

“I learned a lot from my internship,” Weckesser said. “Starting out my first couple years where I didn’t have my internship, school was difficult. But once I started working out in the field and practicing it, through the internship process, a lot of it came a lot more naturally.”

Weckesser completed one month rotations at pharmacies including those at Miami Valley Hospital, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and Dayton Children’s Hospital. She also had an internship with CVS Pharmacy, where she will be employed after graduation.

“The STEMM fields, including pharmacy and medical fields, are a great career path to go into,” Weckesser noted. “I’ve enjoyed it a lot. If students are interested in that type of career path, it’s very rewarding.”

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at mdraeger@cjeagles.org.

Posted April 24, 2018

CJ Poetry Out Loud Champ Heads to D.C.

Update 4/24/18: Caroline finished in the regional round of the national Poetry Out Loud competition. Congratulations!

Update on 3/5/18: Caroline won the Ohio Poetry Out Loud competition, and will now compete in the national competition, taking place in Washington, D.C. on April 24 and 25. You can watch Caroline take the stage between 9 a.m. and noon on April 24 through this link.

Congratulations, and good luck, Caroline!

Original Story: A four-year veteran of the CJ Poetry Out Loud competition will take to the big stage when she competes in the state-wide competition on Saturday, March 3.

Caroline Delaney ‘18 was named runner-up in last year’s school competition, and was thrilled to be named CJ’s Poetry Out Loud champ this year.

“It has taken four years of hard work to get here,” Delaney shared. “For the final CJ competition, I recited Plaint In a Major Key by Jorge Sanchez and Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay.”

Eleven students made to the final round of the school competition. They were:

  • Grace Jackson ‘19
  • Katie Kohnen ‘18
  • Madison Meixner ‘20
  • Anna Mussin-Philips ‘21
  • Madeline Hofstetter ‘20
  • Chloe Proffitt ‘21
  • Caroline Delaney ‘18
  • Ella Waldspurger ‘20
  • Paul Wittmann ‘18
  • Anna Kutter ‘19

“This year we had a diverse group of students compete,” English department chair, Molly Bardine, said. “We were excited to also have some new judges this year which come from diverse backgrounds and experiences with poetry.”

When reflecting on why she enjoys competing in Poetry Out Loud, Delaney said, “When you get to the climax of the poem and you look around and see every person looking up at you, waiting to hear what you are about to say — they hang on your every word and it fills you with so much pride and confidence.”

After winning the school competition, Delaney competed in the regional competition, which she won on February 16, which qualified her for the state competition.

“Poetry Out Loud continues to be a program which highlights and also brings out some amazing gifts in our students,” Bardine noted.

“Poetry is a very powerful thing,” Delaney added. ”Poetry has defined eras. Poetry Out Loud brings poetry to life and shows us what it means to be a poet. It is a powerful competition!

Originally Posted February 27, 2018


Gracey Signs to Row at Eastern Michigan University

A current Eagle will make waves after she leaves CJ as Brianna Gracey ‘18 signed to row for the Eastern Michigan University Eagles on Thursday, April 19.

Gracey first got into rowing during her sophomore year.

“I got tired of one sport and thought I would be good at rowing,” Gracey said.

When choosing Eastern Michigan, Gracey said the campus appealed to her.

“I like how big it is and the variety of things it offers,” Gracey noted.

While at Eastern Michigan, Gracey intends to major in biochemistry.

Posted April 23, 2018


Three Seniors Chosen for Project SEARCH

For the first time at CJ, three seniors were accepted into Project SEARCH for the following school year.

Hannah Finlayson ‘18, Jayla McLemore ‘18 and Joe Siefert '18 had surprise celebrations at CJ to share the good news. 

Project SEARCH was created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996. The program serves young adults with developmental disabilities by giving them the opportunity to learn both work and life skills which will help them in the future, including finding competitive employment. Only 12 students are chosen for each site through Project SEARCH each year.

Finlayson will be at Soin Medical Center, McLemore will be at Miami Valley South Hospital and Siefert will be at Grandview Hospital. All three students will work in three different areas in their hospitals. Finlayson expressed interest in working with materials distribution, McLemore expressed interest in maternity and sports medicine and Siefert expressed interest in patient transport.

“CJ can offer the academics; but, when you’re talking about vocational skills, we don’t have that type of programming,” Judi MacLeod ‘88, Director of Cuvilly, said. “It’s great that the community offers that type of programming that we can use. Project SEARCH has been one of the most exciting programs we’ve had.”

Finlayson and McLemore’s parents shared the same excitement of their girls’ futures during one celebration.

“It’s nice to know that there is a continuation to this, and it’s too bad that Judi can’t come with us,” Pam Glover shared.

Heather Finlayson agreed, “It’s nice that it’s a program that fits their needs and identifies their strengths - that will really help them be successful long term.”

The students will get to experience other aspects of their hospitals, such as riding on Careflight and seeing other medical campuses. After their graduation from Project SEARCH, all three students will receive help with job placement. Project SEARCH has a 98.9% job placement rate for its graduates.

Learn more about Project SEARCH here.

Updated April 20, 2018; Originally Posted March 28, 2018

Sophomores Attend a Leadership Workshop

Leadership is a choice.

That was one of the main messages speaker Ted Wiese shared with the Class of 2020 during a workshop on Tuesday, April 17.

The sophomore class was split into two groups. While one group attended the workshop, the other group attended their normal classes. The two groups switched after lunch.

Wiese didn’t just talk with the students - he had them participate in activities and challenges. This not only allowed students to get out of their chairs and talk to their classmates, but it showed them that being a leader is fun.

“A leader has to do three things,” Wiese shared. “They have to do more than just listen, they need to be actively involved, and they need to have fun.”

“That wasn’t what I was expecting,” Calvin Hatcher ‘20 said after the workshop. “I thought the workshop was impactful, especially talking about having a good attitude.”

“He made it very evident that if you keep a positive attitude that it will positively affect you in everything you do,” Sarah Arnett ‘20 added.

Staci Greene ‘20 agreed, “If you’re negative, you’re not going to get anywhere. If you’re positive, then everything will work out.”

After the workshop, the students left with the positive message of, “I feel great!”

“I think this school, especially the sophomore class, will really put that into use,” Hatcher noted. “We will have more leaders because of the workshop.”

Learn more about Ted Wiese’s program here.

Posted April 19, 2018

Bice Signs to Play Tennis at Ashland University

Lydia Bice ‘18 knew she wanted to play tennis in college from a young age.

“I was five years old, and knew I wanted to play.”

That dream came true on Friday, April 13 when Bice signed to play tennis at Ashland University.

“I really like the atmosphere there,” Bice said. “It’s not too small but it’s not really big either - it’s the perfect size.”

Bice was a member of the women’s team all four years at CJ and a member of the varsity team for three years. Head coach Jim Brooks said Bice was always up for whatever challenge she faced.

“It’s always exciting to see our players enjoy the game enough that they want to play at the next level,” Brooks shared. “She moved up the ladder each year to a different, higher, tougher position. Each year she handled that position so well. She handled being a player here at CJ as well as I could ask anyone to. Her spirit is definitely that of an Eagle.”

During her time at CJ, Bice was a leader on the court, earning post-season honors by being named to the All-GCL second team and All-Miami Valley second team as a doubles player in 2015, All-GCL second team and All-Area third team in 2016, and All-GCL first team and All-Area first team in 2017. She also made it to the second round of the district tournament twice as an Eagle.

Bice was also a leader off the court, as she was elected the overall student council president for the 2017-2018 school year.

“She has contributed very much to this school,” Brooks added. “She was called into service and she has served very well.”

“I’ll miss Mr. Brooks of course,” Bice reflected. “We have a great community and all the teachers try so hard to prepare us for our future.”

While at Ashland, whose mascot is also an Eagle, Bice will study journalism with a focus on sports reporting.

Posted April 18, 2018