December 2019

Top 10 Community Update Stories of 2019

2019 may have been difficult at times for the Dayton area, but for the students and Chaminade Julienne community, there were many reasons to celebrate. These are the top 10 most read Community Update stories for 2019 on cjeagles.org:

10. Seven Alumni Inducted Into Athletic Hall of Fame
Eagles who excelled in basketball, volleyball, swimming, track, and more were recognized when they were inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. More >

9. Celebrating the Class of 2019
The newest Eagle alumni accomplished much in their four years of high school and were celebrated throughout the month of May. More >

8. Historical Marker Dedicated on CJ Campus
More than 100 guests gathered for the dedication and unveiling of an Ohio Historical Marker recognizing HenderSon's Printing, which used to be located on what's now part of the CJ campus. More >

7. Three Seniors Honored By National Merit Program
Three seniors from the Class of 2019 received elite recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Program for their high performing scores on the preliminary SAT. More >

6. Seniors Commit to Military, Athletics After Graduation
Six members of the Class of 2019 Eagles have spread their wings through service to the country or by showcasing their talents both on and off the field. More >

5. Distinguished Alumni Honored at Annual Event
Five alumni were honored at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards for their dedication, determination and professional achievements. More >

4. Engineering Students Solve Cafeteria Chair Problem
Students in an advance engineering class were given a problem that affected them directly -  an important part of the cafeteria chair needed a new design. More >

3. Teachers Share Their Summer Reading List
CJ faculty and staff shared which books they were reading and recommended over the summer. More >

2. Honoring Faculty and Staff for Years of Service
Eleven faculty and staff members with a combined service of nearly 200 years were recognized at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. More >

1. CJ Announces Leadership Changes
Two administrators have now transitioned into new leadership roles at CJ. As Dan Meixner '84, president, shared, "We're strong enough and robust enough to be able to turn to people in our community to take on new roles.” More >

Posted December 28, 2019

Marianist Nativity Returns to CJ

“It is a bit of a homecoming and I like to think that it is back where it was originally intended.”

CJ’s Chaplain, Fr. Bob Jones, S.M., was referring to a new addition to the school’s chapel — a nativity scene that is believed to have been used by Marianist brothers when they lived in what’s now the school’s Marianist Hall.

“The brothers moved out several years ago and during that move some things were put into storage,” Fr. Bob said. “The storage was moved to another Marianist community — Mount St. John. As in any move, you move boxes, you put them in the basement, you forget about them and eventually you go through them.

“Last month, Fr. Chris Wittmann, S.M., a former priest at CJ, was going through a box and found a nativity scene from the Washington Street community (the name of the community for the Marianists who lived at Marianist Hall at CJ)” Fr. Bob continued. “Fr. Chris asked if we were looking for a nativity set and I said, ‘Yes, for CJ.’ I went and looked at it and decided to bring it to the school.

“Having this nativity scene in the school’s chapel reminds me of the continuity of our mission,” Fr. Bob shared. “While the Marianist brothers purchased it and used it for themselves, and even though they don’t live in Marianist Hall any more, there is a connection to that Marianist mission and heritage. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool that we’re using the same nativity set that Marianists maybe 50 years ago would have looked upon. Marianists who are no longer with us but look down on us from heaven — it’s a great feeling to keep things in the family.”

Fr. Bob added, “Pope Francis recently wrote an ‘Apostolic Letter’ known by its Latin title, ‘Admirabile Signum’ (The Enchanting Image). In it, he encourages the family tradition of setting up a nativity scene, not only in the home but in all places (he specifically mentions schools and workplaces). Pope Francis reminds us that, ‘The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.’ He goes on to say, ‘It touches our hearts and makes us enter into salvation history as contemporaries of an event that is living and real in a broad gamut of historical and cultural contexts.’

“Pope Francis then offers a reflection on the different people present at the manger.

“He concludes by saying that the creche, ‘Teaches us to contemplate Jesus, to experience God’s love for us, to feel and believe that God is with us and that we are with him, his children, brothers and sisters all, thanks to that Child who is the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. And to realize that in that knowledge we find true happiness. Like Saint Francis, may we open our hearts to this simple grace, so that from our wonderment a humble prayer may arise: a prayer of thanksgiving to God, who wished to share with us his all, and thus never to leave us alone.’”

You can read the Pope’s full message here.

Posted December 24, 2019

#becauseofCJ: Reflection from Ellie '16

Young alumni are sharing how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the Annual Fund, you make this happen. When you do, more Eagles can soar! Read Ellie’s story below, and consider making your gift today.

Dear CJ Community,

I’m stumped as I try to think of the words to express my gratitude for such an amazing school like CJ. As I embark on one more year at UD, I can’t help but think that CJ helped shape me into the person I am today.

I think about my four years at CJ and how amazing my experience was. What you may not know about me is that I almost didn’t go to CJ. I was torn between two high schools (seriously, I was enrolled in two!), but something pointed me to CJ and I can’t help but think it was God nudging me to take the leap and just do it.

The CJ women’s golf team was fresh off a state championship win when I started my freshman year in 2012. During my time we had four straight state appearances! Golf was, is, and always will be a huge part of my life, so to have a program like that to lean on was incredible. It lead me to the golf program at the University of Dayton and I love every second of being able to live out my dream of playing golf at the collegiate level.

CJ gave me the opportunity to grow in my faith. It gave me the most humbling experiences. It gave me my best friends. It taught me such valuable life lessons. Most of all, it taught me the importance of surrounding myself with great people in order to live life to the fullest I can.

I was so fortunate to have gone to CJ. I thank all alumni and donors who gave us the opportunities both in the classroom and on the course, field, court, etc...

I attend such a great university whose mission directly correlates to that of CJ’s. The community and people on campus at UD remind me exactly of what I loved about CJ.

CJ is such a special place. I walked down the halls knowing everyone had my back and I had theirs. I knew my teachers had my best interest in mind and fully prepared me for the education I would later get in college. I was able to create some of the best memories in those halls, and I’ll never forget the place that shaped me.

Thank you to all who continue to support such a great place. I will forever support CJ. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.

Ellie Cronin, Class of 2016

Picture credit: Joseph Craven, University of Dayton

Posted December 19, 2019

Students Spend Time with Religious from CJ's Founding Orders

For a fourth year, students and members of CJ’s founding orders - the Marianists and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur — gathered for lunch and conversation on Friday, December 13.

“I enjoyed talking to and learning about people who started like me turning in to people doing God's work,” said Jasmine Acuña ‘22.

“I enjoyed being able to talk to people who are a part of what makes up the foundation of CJ and learning more about their life and religious story,” shared Kaitlin Stewart ‘20.

Clayton Schommer ‘21 agreed, “During the luncheon, I enjoyed learning new things about religious life and hearing their stories.”

At the luncheon, students sat and ate with the Religious, and then halfway through the meal, students were asked to switch tables.

“Something I specifically learned at our luncheon was how a person becomes a brother of a Religious order,” said Chase Howell ‘20. “It involves a lot of studying and then taking of different vows.”

“I enjoyed hearing how they were called to their vocation,” shared Staci Green ‘20. “One Marianist explained how each person's calling is different. Some knew of other brothers or sisters so they just joined while one brother got on the wrong bus and ended up at a Marianist training.”

Lillian Lyons ‘22 added, “I really enjoyed listening to their stories and advice given to me and the other students during the luncheon.”

Genoveva Valdes ‘23 reflected on an encouraging conversation she had with a specific Marianist.

“I think what I enjoyed most about the luncheon was my talk with Brother Julius, who is currently taking classes at UD. Brother Julius and I had a lot in common within our lives from the past and present, and honestly, I felt that he encouraged me to better myself. Usually, I find encouragement from many people, but Brother Julius really motivated me to want to be the best I can be and to want to change a cycle and make the most out of life. So for me, talking to Brother Julius was probably my favorite part, because I got to talk to someone who could relate to me, rather than someone who couldn't. Having someone to relate to you who encourages you makes things so much better because they motivate you more.”                             -

Jack Huffman ‘20 said he also had an enjoyable time at the luncheon.

“I learned that being part of religious life is not simply living in community with other Religious. It is a family of believers who look out for each other, pray together, and celebrate as a family would. I enjoyed that I was able to connect and learn about the Marianist and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur through conversation with the brothers and sisters. I was able to relate to them and even caught up with brothers that I had seen over the summer at Mass. Having the opportunity to talk with people devoted to their faith and who live out the values of Chaminade Julienne has enriched my learning experience because I now can picture a model of the Catholic faith and exemplify the principles that the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur establish.”

Posted December 19, 2019

Financial Investing Class Participates in Local Competition

Fake money - but real outcomes. That’s what students participating in the University of Dayton’s Davis Center’s High School Portfolio Competition face each year. This year, two groups from CJ made enough of a fictitious profit to present for the final evaluation.

The team, “Good to Roll?” placed third overall prior to the evaluation. Team members were Austin Baker ‘20, Nick Bridget ‘20 and Kyle Peters ‘20. The team, “Wakanda Forever” placed fourth overall prior to the evaluation. Team members were Calvin Hatcher ‘20, Meyah Haywood ‘20, Lamareia Mack ‘20 and Takiyah Watson ‘20.

“The challenge was fun and exciting,” said Hatcher. “Our group really didn't expect to do as well as we did.”

“It was really fun,” agreed Peters.

Students chose ten real stocks to “invest” their fictitious money in - $100,000 overall. “Good to Roll?” finished the competition with a profit of $7,191.96. “Wakanda Forever” finished with a profit of $6,134.28. Out of the five groups participating at CJ, four of them placed in the top seven overall.

“Throughout the challenge we were excited for the ending results but were hesitant to change our portfolio,” said Mack. “Now that the challenge is over, and knowing that we were one of the top groups in the area, it’s interesting because we didn't expect this. We were very grateful for this opportunity.”

Posted December 12, 2019

Students Attend National NCYC Conference

Last month, 20,000 teenagers from across the nation came together for three days of prayer, community and empowerment.

The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) is held every other year and this year, several CJ students attended the event.

“I have always been interested in attending NCYC since I first heard about it freshman year,” Claire Leingang ‘21 said. “I have heard only incredible things about this experience and I knew it would be an amazing opportunity for me.”

“Being able to go and show how much God has helped me and how he has changed my life is something I wish everyone was able to do,” shared Mia Andrews-Pope ‘21 who went to the conference with others from her parish — St. Christopher. 

Those who attended said they enjoyed the experience for multiple reasons.

“My favorite part was the Eucharistic Adoration we attended on Friday night,” said Chi Ejinaka ‘21. “It was hands down the most beautiful experience of my life! There were 20,000 people gathered in the stadium on their knees singing out to God united in prayer, and it was just so powerful that the emotional impact was unlike anything I've ever experienced before.”

“Seeing teens running up to kneel in front of the Lord was one of the most powerful things I have ever felt and seen,” added Meghan Jette ‘23. “I truly felt God's presence with me and everyone there.”

“I loved listening to the speakers and hearing different ideas of how faith can be lived out in our lives,” shared Mikayla Jette ‘21. “For me personally, I felt really connected to the theme of this year's conference: Blessed, Broken, Given; and each talk I went to had a different message for me to take away and apply to my life.”

All who attended said they grew from being at the conference, and would encourage others to attend.

“It is an amazing way to learn more about your faith and yourself,” said Meghan Jette.

Leingang agreed, “I would 100% recommend NCYC to anyone and everyone, no matter where one is in their faith journey. NCYC was one of the best experiences of my life.”

“Being surrounded by tens of thousands of teenagers who genuinely want to be closer to God is so powerful and transformative, and the event really does leave an impact,” shared Ejinaka.

Andrews-Pope added, “You are all there for the same reason: GOD! Another great thing about NCYC is that if you are unsure about your relationship with God you can go on this trip and find it.”

“NCYC is a great conference to attend if you are looking to get your feet wet with your faith or even if you are just looking for a way to meet new people that love Jesus and want to show it,” reflected Mikayla Jette. “It was the first 'big' faith experience I went on and it completely changed my life. It created a faith I did not expect I would have.”

Posted December 12, 2019

Students Share Gratitude at Scholarship Breakfast

It’s an annual tradition just before the celebration of Thanksgiving where students have the opportunity to share gratitude in person with contributors who help make their education at Chaminade Julienne possible.

Dozens of students and benefactors gathered for the Scholarship Breakfast on Friday, November 22.

“This is always a great opportunity for both the students and contributors to come together at the school and learn more about each other,” said Ann Szabo ‘72, Alumni Relations Coordinator.

“This was my first year at the breakfast,” shared Jason Ward ‘21. “I got to learn more about the family helping me and it was cool to talk with them.”

Ann Shillito Rougier ‘76, one of the family members supporting the Shillito Family Scholarship, spoke about her opportunity to meet those impacted by the scholarship.

“I have never had a better moment at CJ,” Rougier said. “I think because I knew several of the young ladies from years past, or reading their applicant essays confirmed we are doing the right thing. I thought a true and real feeling of believing in what we do as a family for the CJ community came over me that morning where as I left I had to hug all of them and made a vow that they would let me know how first year college was going. I was able to give them advice as a college professor on what not and what to do. They thought that was funny when I said be honest with your professor, they are also humans. (some may not seem like that). I also told them that if the author of their text is your professor, you best be reading the book!”

Julia DiLoreto ‘20, one of the Shillito Family Scholarship recipients said, “I heard about her experiences at CJ and we had a great time comparing how it was back then to its present state. Plus, she shared some funny stories with us about her high school years that had us all laughing.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to meet my benefactor and thank her in person for her generosity and be able to meet her.”

Learn more about CJ scholarships available to students in grades 10-12 here.

Posted December 5, 2019

#becauseofCJ: Reflection from C.J. '14

During this season of thanks, alumni like C.J. Riazzi '14 are sharing how they are succeeding today #becauseofCJ:

Dear CJ Community,

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the humility, faith, and culture that you all have made me blessed to be a part of. Whether you know me or not, I feel that it is only appropriate to mention that my journey to a green cap and gown was different than most of my fellow alumni. Nevertheless, I feel that different stories are what make our community great, so here is mine.

Currently, I am a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force and I have the pleasure of being stationed in Los Angeles, California. Since graduating, I have been blessed beyond measure in both relationships and opportunities. I attended one of the top business management schools in the country, completed basic military and survival training, and played four years of DI football at the Air Force Academy. While stationed in Los Angeles, I have been working to ensure the successful launch of multiple government rockets that often carry billion-dollar satellites. I have been all over the country to work with various satellite programs and rocket systems. Without going into the weeds too much, I can easily say that my college and work experience could not have been possible without the people at Chaminade Julienne. 

I came to CJ in 2012 as a six-foot-two, skinny basketball player meeting everyone else at freshman orientation for the first time including my future teammates. There was only one difference with me that day — I was not a freshman, rather, a junior transfer walking the halls at orientation. I had previously attended another Catholic school and to say that this transition was difficult would be an understatement. 

As a 16-year-old kid, it is tough to understand why you lost most of your friends and the support of many adults that you grew up knowing, just because you made a decision to change high schools. You, the CJ community, helped me see beyond these things. Over the next two years, and to this day, the compassion and affability that I received from you all is incredible. Looking back now, I can say without a doubt that the decision I made as a 16-year-old kid was one of the best decisions I have made to date.

Sports were a huge part of my life at CJ. Playing basketball for Coach Staley is something I will never forget. Every time I stepped into the gym it was meaningful. Whether heartbreak or triumph, dunking against Dunbar, Lima, and Alter, or losing against Fenwick and Thurgood, the ride that was CJ basketball will forever hold a place in my memory. The coaches and my fellow teammates made me a better player and more importantly, a better person. At CJ there were no politics or team drama. Everyone was constantly pushed to be the best person they could be and that was certainly something special. That is a large part of why I remain close with everyone that played a part in getting that team and myself where we ended up. The same could be said for my experience with the football team.

Football wasn’t even on my radar when I first stepped foot into CJ. I played when I was younger but stopped in 8th grade to put all of my focus on basketball. It wasn’t until my senior year that I walked into Coach Colvin’s classroom to tell him that I wanted to play. The rest was history. A couple weeks into the season, we were off to a very successful start. Not long after that, Coach Colvin was stopping by my classes or at lunch to introduce me to college coaches. Before long, I had taken a visit and committed to the United States Air Force Academy.
My career and ultimately my life had come full circle in a matter of two years. All of this certainly gave me the gift of humility. The ups and downs from start to finish taught me so much about myself as well as the wonderful community that I had around me. I truly owe it to Coach Colvin, Coach Staley, and every person or program at Chaminade Julienne — something I never would have realized without the help, love, and support of you all, the CJ community.

With all this said, I firmly believe that God played the main role in every single one of my endeavors. Faith is so strong at CJ. After being at the school for a short time, I was even sharing my life stories with sophomores at their retreat. I made lifelong friends at Kairos, sharing my roller coaster high school story with my peers. Most of the time I am able to visit home, I attend Wednesday morning Mass with a group of CJ alumni, parents, staff, and parishioners. It is pretty amazing to see the eclectic group of people that gather for 7:30 a.m. Mass at Emmanuel Church and it has become a highlight of mine every time that I am home. It further speaks to the sense of community and strong rooted faith present down on Ludlow Street.

Every one of these memories truly are special. They are always fun to reminisce on but at this stage in my life, they are only memories after all. The most meaningful thing that my time at CJ provided me were relationships. Visiting home and getting a drink with the Staley’s or getting wings with Coach Colvin and some old teammates serve as a testament to the strong relationships and the lasting impact that the CJ community has in my life. Just as football and the Air Force weren’t in my “plans”, in all honesty neither was CJ. As it turns out, all three of those things will go down as the best decisions of my life.

I owe everything to you all. Everything that I continually mention, humility, faith, and culture, have become staples in my life and I am positive that they are staples in yours as well. So I write this reflection as more of a thanksgiving to the CJ community. You will always hold a special place in my heart. For welcoming me and sending me off the right way. I will be sure to return often and maintain in close contact.

Thank you for all that you have done for me, making me the person I am today. I know that you will continue to inspire those behind me to do the same; cherishing humility, faith, and culture,

C.J. Riazzi, Class of 2014

Through your gift to the Annual Fund, you made this happen. Please consider making your gift today.

Posted November 27, 2019