April 2020

CJ Announces the Class of 2020 Distinguished Alumni

Some of them walked the halls, books in hand, learning and growing in their faith.

Some of them served the community in other capacities, working hard but never wanting praise.

All of them are recipients of the 2020 Chaminade Julienne Distinguished Alumni Awards.
While their contributions to the CJ community and beyond, vary greatly, their appreciation for all-things-Eagles is the same. C J enriched their lives and all of them have, in turn, enriched the lives of countless others. They are CJ and we are better off because of it.

“He believed in serving others, doing the right thing, even if no one is watching, and helping to improve the lives of others. Yes, my father did believe in having a strong education in math, science and English but he believed in the community, fellowship and family that CJ represents to this day,” Brad Shillito, ‘03 

Chris Shillito ‘69 – Professional Achievement

Chris Shillito founded EAGLE Registrations in 1994, an international quality certification business, not coincidentally named after the CJ mascot.

“My father was an Eagle for life,” his son Brad said. “My sister, my brother and I were fourth generation Chaminade/Julienne/CJ students. He always tried to help make CJ the best school it could be academically and athletically.”

By the time Chris died in 2007, the company had grown to 15 employees along with about 40 auditors as contractors and served about 600 clients. Since his death, the company – which is still owned and run by the family – has grown to 34 staff members, 120 auditors and more than 3,000 clients worldwide.

“It is still run with the founding values of service to the customer, doing our job with integrity, and adding value in all of our interactions,” Brad said.  “We still have many employees that had worked with him before he died, and they still talk about the positive influence he had on their lives.”

A member of the football chain gang, Chris was one of the early visionaries of an on-campus athletic stadium and spent years planning and fundraising.
“He dreamed of having a stadium on campus which, unfortunately, did not come to fruition until after his death, but it was something he pushed for and helped work toward even back when I was there (class of 2003),” Brad said.

The 1969 graduate also established the Shillito Scholarship fund in 1999. In the decades that have followed, the fund has provided assistance to countless CJ families – 50 students during the 2019-20 school year alone.
“This would be would one the proudest achievements of his life to be honored as a distinguished alumni.”

“Jessica displays a great compassion for the work that she has been called to do as it relates to addressing the needs of the homeless in the county. She is probably one of the most compassionate individuals that I know, the kind of person that consistently goes out of her way to be of service to others,” Beverly Jenkins

Jessica Jenkins ‘02 - Professional Achievement

At her Baccalaureate Mass in 2002, Fr. Chris Wittmann’s homily challenged the graduates to live their lives “like a prayer,” and Jessica took that directive to heart.

“In times when I am challenged as a leader with what to do I am grounded by this wisdom,” she said.

As assistant director, Human Services Planning & Development for Montgomery County, Jessica encounters plenty of challenges but there are also incredible rewards.

In November 2016, Jessica led a team to help the community achieve the benchmark of effectively ending veteran homelessness, a critical problem in the community and across the country.

“While this distinction doesn’t mean there will never be a veteran who experiences homelessness, it does mean that our community worked diligently to develop a systematic response to identify homeless veterans and quickly connect them with housing and supportive services,” she said.

Her efforts aren’t limited to finding solutions for homeless veterans.

“What I am most proud of about my career is the opportunity to work alongside a dedicated team of public servants, community and non-profit leaders to eradicate the injustice that is homelessness,” she said. “Access to safe, decent, affordable housing is a right that everyone deserves.”

Jessica credits CJ for preparing her for leadership in a diverse world.

“CJ instilled in me the fundamentals of servant leadership and the urgency for living out my faith,” she said. “While I don’t feel worthy of the honor of Distinguished Alumni, I take this recognition as a challenge to live up to the distinction.”

“Kathy has made it her life’s work to serve others through the avenue of education. For all of those working alongside her, she has modeled leadership built on love and respect for all people,” Jacqueline Draper

Kathy (Moeder) Christensen ‘74, Professional Achievement

In 15 years, working with special needs students and their families Kathy learned as many lessons as she taught.

“Teaching is all about discovering the gifts and potential of each person – children and adults – and encouraging the use of those gifts to create a more loving and tolerant world,” she said. “When I left the classroom in 2000, I wondered if I would find work as fulfilling as teaching.”

She didn’t wonder for very long as she soon started working with Habitat for Humanity, initiating an education program for the students living in Habitat homes. A small group of concerned citizens, a community philanthropist and Habitat staff launched an education program that included an academic incentive program, an after-school tutoring program and college scholarships for eligible students. The after-school program for elementary students has since grown to include the entire community surrounding the Habitat neighborhoods. There are now more than 30 volunteers and 60 elementary and middle school students participating in this program. Through community partnerships, more than 50 middle and high school students have mentors meeting with them regularly at their schools. Other high school programs include college prep activities and the Congressional Award Program.

“The most fulfilling aspect of this work is when students return as adults to let you know you made a difference in their lives,” she said. “Now, I have the opportunity to say thank you to the teachers, administrators and families at CJ who made a difference in my life.”

Kathy recently read a daily meditation from Franciscan priest Richard Rohr and one line struck her as especially true, “The poverty or richness of loving determines your life.”

“I have led a very rich life, surrounded by family and friends who have taught me the meaning of love,” she said. “This honor gives me the opportunity to recognize and thank all those who have influenced and supported me in my professional and personal journey.” 

“Charlie never sought attention, preferring to go about his work humbly and with grace. Nonetheless, those who worked with him know that the phrase ‘above and beyond' is insufficient to adequately describe his approach to serving the school,” Daniel Meixner.

Charlie Hollis, Honorary Alumni

It was more than a job from Day 1.

Charlie was first hired to clean the Marianist building in 1959 and, not long after, he started worked at both Chaminade and Julienne high schools. He continued to work at Julienne until the school closed, moving to CJ in 1973 and continuing to work tirelessly until his recent retirement.

“For more than 50 years, Charlie took loving care of our buildings and our campus and the people who learned and worked here,” said Dan Meixner ’84, president. “The first to arrive each day, Charlie made sure that the heat was working, the lights were on and the building was ready to welcome teachers, staff, parents and students. No one knew the mechanical systems better than he did.”

Those years of dedication made Charlie an obvious choice for the Honorary Alumni recognition but it is not one the 84-year-old was expecting.

“When Mrs. Szabo called and told me, I couldn’t sleep for two days,” Charlie said. “It means the world to me. It is one of the greatest honors I could have ever hoped for.”

While Charlie did not attend the school himself, his daughter and six grandchildren are alumni.

“It was worth every penny,” he said. “One of the greatest moments was when I went to watch my grandson play football when CJ beat Alter,” he added with pride.
That CJ pride and dedication have been ever-present since he first step foot on campus more than a half century ago.

“His long service and commitment to the mission of Julienne, Chaminade and Chaminade Julienne provides an outstanding example of the best ideals for which we hope our graduates aspire,” Meixner said.

“I’m the luckiest person to ever work here,” Charlie said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

“Pete has a passion for the school and its mission. He has not only supported Chaminade Julienne with treasure, but also with his time and his talent,” Rick Quinttus, ’72.

Pete Haley – Honorary Alumni

Pete Haley was all-in.

“Once Pete takes on a cause, he embraces it,” Rick Quinttus said. “Once he got involved with the CJ Board, he immersed himself in studying what makes a school great.”
Rick will never forget driving with Pete to a Notre Dame football game. He couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

“The conversation wasn’t about football, it was about best education practices in secondary schools,” Rick said. “We talked about excellence in education for three hours.”
Pete’s involvement with CJ began when his son Will, ’06, decided to become an Eagle. Anne, ’09, and Mary, ’12, followed suit and Pete and his wife Barb quickly found their place in the CJ community – Barb as a member of the Blue Green Club and Pete as a member of the Board of Trustees and, later by serving as chair.

“Having the experience of being a CJ parent and recognizing the value CJ had for our kids was huge,” Pete said. “There are not many places where students get the kind of experience they get at CJ – not just in terms of education, but in terms of community. I liked having the opportunity to take what was there and help it grow and improve so generations of students can continue to experience all CJ has to offer.”During his tenure as chairperson, Pete was involved in developing both the strategic plan and the capital campaign that would fund it. His contributions didn’t end when he retired from the board after two terms as he went on to chair the capital campaign that was launched in 2014.

“This honor is nothing I ever expected or even thought about,” he said. “While I greatly appreciate it, I’ve always felt like I got more out of my service to CJ than they did from me.”


While the Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception has been postponed from its April date, we take this opportunity now to celebrate and congratulate this year's Distinguished Alumni Class of 2020. Thank you for being the light to our community!

CJ Announces Marcus Colvin as Director of OSS

As a teacher, a coach and, now, an administrator, Marcus Colvin is always ready for a challenge.

“I set the goal of being a teacher long ago — and once thought that the decision would last my entire career,” Colvin said. “When I was provided the opportunity to serve as acting director of student services last fall, I believed it would offer me a formative professional experience. The job was and remains very challenging, but that challenge really inspires me.”

That challenge is just beginning as Chaminade Julienne announces today that Colvin is the school’s director of student services.

“In just seven months, Marcus has grown into this new administrative position and admits that he has learned a lot about what it takes to serve students and families at CJ,” principal Greg Mueller said.

“Through an extensive search this spring, Marcus emerged as the top candidate to serve as the director of student services for next school year. He brings a new, fresh perspective and true voice of the students to the leadership conversations on CJ's Educational Leadership team.”

Colvin joined the Chaminade Julienne community in 2004 as a social studies teacher – happily serving the students in room 151. This past summer, part of Colvin's preparations as a teacher for the new school year included completing professional development in preparation for CJ's recently implemented standards based grading plan.

“One of his true gifts as an educator is making personal connections with students and creating real and lasting relationships,” Mueller said. “When students were in Marcus’ class, they knew they would be cared for with his full attention.”

He was named Eagles head football coach in 2011, a position he still holds today. In his almost decade-long tenure, Colvin helped the Eagles regain their position as a local powerhouse, but it’s about much more than wins and losses to him.

“Marcus sees himself as a mentor to his football players just as much as he considers himself a coach,” Mueller said.

Colvin, who will finish his masters degree in educational leadership at the University of Dayton this summer, is excited to be part of a strong team — not just on the football field.

“I am blessed to have excellent and hard-working assistants in the office,” he said. “Together, our office will create a strong foundation for our school — a supportive place for our teachers, our students and our community as a whole. I have called the office of student services the heartbeat of our school.”

New Students to Enroll by May 1

Incoming freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to enroll for the 2020-2021 school year. Spring enrollment has been extended to Friday, May 8.

Begin the process now — click here

#becauseofCJ: P'Hariz Watkins '17

Young alumni are sharing how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the CJ Annual Fund, you make this happen. When you do, you are joining with others on the frontlines of supporting CJ students and families through unprecedented times. Read P'Hariz's story below, and consider making your gift today.

Dear CJ Community,

Thinking back on my time at CJ as a student, men’s basketball player, student aide, and Eagle Ambassador, I know that all of these things and more have shaped me into the person I am today. Basketball was something I could always count on to have friendships and a Brotherhood. Playing basketball for Coach Staley and the rest of the staff at CJ is something that is not easy. You have to be committed to your craft, and truly understand that wearing a CJ jersey comes with so much more than just caring about yourself. I thank the staff at CJ to this day, as I’m currently playing in college and your guidance shaped me and my game.

During my time as a student at CJ, I never quite realized what the most valuable thing it was that CJ provided for me.

CJ provided me with the environment to express myself and honestly find the best path that there was for me in high school, but also far ahead into the future after CJ. CJ provided me with the tools and a campus that allowed me to reach my full potential and pursue all of my aspirations and goals I had set for my life. The faith, care, and instruction that I received during my time at CJ, are pieces of me that I will continue to carry with me through every trial and tribulation I face in life. Since high school graduation, I have continued my education and athletic career with confidence.

As I look back at my high school academic and athletic journey and I’m extremely thankful for the teachers and coaches who took the time to push me to my absolute limits. In addition to pushing me to those limits they also guided and mentored me with perfection. So, thank you to those teachers, coaches, and advisers who encouraged me to be myself and welcomed me into their classroom and office with a smile and positive attitude each day. Mr. Colvin, Mr. Stachler, Mrs. Hanley/Anderson, Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Ruffolo, Mrs. Emmerich, Momma Szabo, Momma Saunders, and all the entire men’s basketball coaching staff from top to bottom. All of these wonderful people were all integral parts of my academic and athletic success.

Lastly I want to give a huge thanks to Mrs. Kinnear and the ministry & service. All of the retreats, especially Kairos, were absolutely phenomenal experiences that I’ll never forget. God and faith were an important aspect of my time at CJ and still are. Going into CJ I was good in faith and strong with the Lord.

CJ took my faith and belief in God to the next level.

With CJ being a Catholic high school, religion and spirituality are broken down into classes with plenty of coursework that is comprehensible, encouraging, and captivating. God’s love is present through all of the facilities. Race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, does not matter at CJ. The community that’s been built at CJ treats all students, parents, and family members with the same compassion, love, and respect. Growing up, I was always told that you meet your best friends in college, and while I met a few, I am certain that the friends I made at Chaminade Julienne will continue to be around for years to come.

Now that I am 21 and three years through college, I enjoy looking back to conversations I had with myself, teachers, parents, and advisers. During my sophomore year, a young 16-year-old kid who was absolutely clueless, and for some reason always wished to be older. I couldn’t wait to move out of the house and attend college. I’m currently working towards my Bachelors of Arts degree in communication, and Bachelors of Science degree in sports management, along with a minor degree in media technology at Heidelberg University. I am more than thankful for the time I was able to spend failing, learning, and growing at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. CJ understands that they are molding and producing the next generation of leaders, achievers, and believers, and I am forever blessed and appreciative to be a part of this exceptional legacy.

Today, because of CJ, I’m learning to adapt and learn in a new way.

The next semester at Heidelberg has continued through all online classes. All of my professors have scheduled for the entire class to meet on Zoom at original class time, to continue having class together for rest of the semester. Adjusting to this new way of learning had its challenges at first, however now I’m managing the situation to finish this semester out strong.

I’m staying positive through God and keeping my routine, as much as I can due to the circumstances of our world right now. I’ve just being having faith in God, knowing that He is in control and that he will take wheel and drive us in the direction we need to be going.

Thank you CJ for preparing me for the next 60 years of my life, and for reassuring that through God, I can do all things!
Have a blessed day and as always, GO EAGLES!!

P’Hariz Watkins '17

Praying Together While Apart

Chaminade Julienne is Keeping the Faith

Expressions of faith continue to flow through the Chaminade Julienne community even as school hallways stand silent in compliance with state and national officials through the emergency of managing the COVID-19 crisis.

Virtual outreach began in Lent. From live-streaming the Rosary on Instagram, leading the Stations of the Cross on Facebook, posting daily reflections on Twitter, conducting community service while staying at home, and making phone calls to alumni — faculty, staff and students are making it their mission to stay connected with the community.
“We are really just meeting people where they are,” said Elaine Bonner, CJ annual giving coordinator. “We are trying to find ways to keep our students inspired, keep our faculty and staff inspired and connect with our alumni and the community.”

In a video message to the CJ community, President Dan Meixner ‘84 recalled the opening Mass in August when chaplain Fr. Bob Jones, SM, introduced the community to the theme for the school year – #BeTheLightCJ.

“It was a call for our community, our students, teachers, staff and parents to be the light of Christ for each other in any form that it may present itself – great or small,” he said. “Our community drew inspiration from this renewed awareness of lifting each other up even with something as simple as a smile or a kind word.”

There are many audiences for the messages of faith from the CJ community but a common goal – being the light in these challenging times.

Campus community

Much like a typical school day, morning prayer still marks the start of these atypical days but, now, with the help of Google Classroom.

As teachers were packing their things and spending a few final moments together before the school closure, Tina Wagoner, director of marketing and communication grabbed the video camera. Moving from classroom to classroom, she asked teachers if they would be willing to lead the school in prayer and pledge.

“They stopped whatever they had been doing to help,” she said. “By the end of that first day, we had nearly 20 days worth of prayer ready to go. The next day, staff members added to the effort. Now, each morning, students, faculty and staff are greeted with the traditional ‘Good morning, CJ! Please join us in prayer and pledge,’ led by a different person, who adds a personal greeting. We've heard how much this ‘normal’ start to the day has meant to our students, teachers and staff.”

This outreach to students was planned through the ministry and service department. Along with morning and afternoon prayer, the staff also posts daily reflections and notes of inspiration and reflection to its Google Classroom — Prayers, Announcements and Reflections. Other teachers like Tim O'Loughlin share creative ways that groups of students are celebrating their faith. Making bread beads together while praying for the intention of restored health for a student is an example.

Other prayer initiatives planned for the students were also made available to the entire CJ community through social media. FLIGHT ’20 (Faith Leaders in God’s Hands Today) and other students — freshmen through seniors — created a special Holy Week prayer video, while FLIGHT ‘21 — assisted by the liturgical choir — made its traditional debut when presenting the Stations of the Cross. Both can still be seen on the school’s Facebook accounts, and the FLIGHT team continues their work posting daily prayer activities when school is in session, virtually.

“We are trying to stay connected as much as we possibly can,” said Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry & service. “That’s at the center of who we are and what we are about.”

Beyond campus

As a way of praying together, at a distance, the CJ community created “Monday’s With Mary,” a live opportunity to pray the Rosary via Instagram.

“It’s a great way to reach out to our alumni wherever they are,” said Bonner who had joined efforts with Michelle Khawam, assistant director of ministry & service, which led to a member of the alumni leading the Rosary every Monday morning.

“We’re in our infancy, but what we really like is that it’s an opportunity to unite the CJ community in prayer. It’s a wonderful way to use technology to aid in prayer life and being supported by the presence of others praying with you.”

Many of those who are praying the rosary also submit prayer requests which are passed on to Fr. Bob who offers them up during Mass. He and the members of the Marianists Community at the University of Dayton have kept the CJ community connected through their invitations to live-stream Mass and services. In addition, the school published an online resource index to all who could use support or wanted to help others through the crisis, be it for body, mind or spirit. Links were posted to the Vatican's site, the Archdiocese, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and to the Marianist Community's services. "It was a way to have a variety of support readily accessible to people through one click," said Wagoner. "School counselor Jama Badinghaus, and ministry and service director Kelli Kinnear did so much to identify what they believe people would need and make it available when they needed it. It even includes links for someone to talk to when you just need that boost."

Beyond online technology, members of the alumni and development team, directed by John Marshall '86, are also reaching out to alumni with phone visits, checking on them and letting them know the CJ community is there for them. That inspiration is a two-way street. "What a gift to just get to spend a little extra time with members of our CJ family. And as much as we are there for them, they continue to remind us of the fullness of God's love through their lives. We listen as they tell us stories of good times and of perservering through the rough spots. We have a chance to talk about that, to laugh and cry with them."

Bonner added, "One gentleman I called, who graduated in the 1950s, was so inspiring. He was keeping up his routine, working in the yard and everything, and his voice and his energy were just amazing and he was in his 80s. Sharing that inspiration, hope and energy is so important right now.”

Alumni along with current and past parents and friends were emailed an Easter greeting first thing on Sunday morning. "We were inspired by Pope Francis' call to Hope even in these difficult times," said Fr. Bob. A link was provided to view the full message that was published on April 3.

Service to Others

Known as a community of service, Kinnear created a list of ways that students can be engaged in helping others, even while at home. "'Creative Ways to Volunteer' is a long list of service options that can be completed without leaving the house," said Kinnear. "From making masks to helping with online tutoring and writing letters of thanks and support to boxing up items to donate to a local nonprofit organization. There are countless ways to #BeTheLightCJ."
How you can #BeTheLightCJ
* Monday’s with Mary – Instagram: @Chaminade_Julienne
* Daily Reflections from the Office of Ministry and Service – Twitter: @CJMinistry; Instagram: @cj_ministry