May 2020

Alumni Pandemic Response - Health Safety

It’s not what they planned to do, but when the need arose, there was no doubt it was exactly what members of the Chaminade Julienne community wanted to do.

Murphy LaSelle, a 1998 Chaminade Julienne graduate, and his brothers, Mike and Tim, own and operate the Belle of Dayton and distilling spirits is the usual day-to-day business. But a worldwide pandemic is anything but usual and LaSelle realized a new temporary business plan was in order. Hand sanitizer became the product of choice for Belle of Dayton.

“We were not set up to make hand sanitizer but we had all the knowledge,” LaSelle said. “As soon as we realized people weren’t able to get what they needed, we looked into it.”

The FDA loosened guidelines for production of hand sanitizer on a Friday and LaSelle reached out to his brothers two days later to discuss logistics. The CJ graduate purchased the necessary supplies that night.

For a month, Belle of Dayton produced hand sanitizer not to boost sales but to help the community. From City of Dayton first responders to RTA bus drivers, LaSelle and his brothers supplied hand sanitizer free of charge.

“It was never our intention to make money from this, we just wanted to help people,” he said. “We really wanted to get it into the hands of the people who needed it most.”

From Riverside to Centerville and many points in between, Belle of Dayton made sure that first responders, healthcare workers and other essential personnel had what they needed at their fingertips – literally.

Not surprisingly, LaSelle isn’t the only member of the CJ community whose workplace changed gears as a result of the pandemic – after all, Eagles are individuals of compassion, integrity and service.

CAT Resources invented and is the exclusive manufacturer of the Combat Application Tourniquet, standard issue for the United States military. But there was another need that company leadership saw as COVID-19 spread across the country.

“Our owner thought, with the equipment and resources we have, we could start making face masks,” said CAT Resources general manager Mike Casella, a 2000 graduate. “We came up with designs and prototypes within 24 hours.”

The company quickly manufactured more than 40,000 masks in their South Carolina facility alone.

“One of the most rewarding things is that we were able to keep everyone employed and we didn’t have to shut down at all,” Casella said. “And people are still looking for masks, so it’s nice and very rewarding to be able to provide something they need.”

John Wittmann, of Wittmann Custom Tailoring, realized early on that the pandemic would seriously impact his Kettering business.

“My clients were all scrambling to save their own businesses and our product was not first priority, so I was looking at no work, no income, and no employees,” he said. “Worse, I was contributing nothing to help the virus challenge, and I refused to stay home and repair windows.”

Wittmann heard that Goodwill needed help making masks for Kettering Medical Center so he picked up a kit for 50 and made them the first day. For 11 days, he and his wife Jane, an ’83 graduate, spent countless hours cutting and making masks.

“I have lost count – don’t want to know – how many we have made since then,” he said, smiling. “Grandma raided her sewing room, friends ordered fabric online from JoAnn’s. I arrived one day to fabric in front of our door, I have no idea who donated it.”

When they had fulfilled the hospital’s needs they started selling masks to the public.

“It has not provided income of consequence to the business, but it has allowed us to keep some staff,” the father of CJ graduates Julie '10, Tom '12 and Dan '15 said. “Someday, when we cut the last mask, I am going to make it myself, frame it and hang it on the wall.”


Published May 27, 2020

Action Inspired by the St. Vincent de Paul High School Conference

Elizabeth Murray and Sophia Haws’ Capstone Project was focused on the Dayton community but it was rooted in Cincinnati.

“Our project was inspired by Rooted in the Vine and Urban Plunge, two service immersion trips we attended at St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati,” Murray said. “We both fell in love with the work that St. Vincent’s does and discovered our passion for helping those experiencing poverty.”

Chaminade Julienne Senior Capstone Coordinator Molly Bardine was not surprised by their source of inspiration.

“The Urban Plunge retreat is an immersion retreat which often has a profound impact on our students,” Bardine said.

Their engagement with St. Vincent de Paul included work on a high school conference held in Cincinnati.

“When it came time to pick somewhere to do service our junior year we reached out to the local St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton,” Murray said. “We worked with a coordinator there to get service opportunities and shared with them ideas from the Cincinnati conference. This, then, became our senior capstone when we asked to be leaders of the Dayton group and have a role in planning service meetings for other local high school students.”

The St. Vincent de Paul High School Conference was established and its reach was extensive.

“Through their leadership, area students from CJ, Alter, Carroll and other high schools participated at various service sites throughout the year in the Dayton community,” Bardine said. “This is an ideal project for future capstone groups to carry forward.”

The group’s goals were twofold – help serve those in our community who are often overlooked while also engaging their peers, both in high school and throughout the Miami Valley. They were intentional about planning meaningful service opportunities while also incorporating education and community building.

“We wanted to give others the opportunity to serve those in the community while getting to know students from other high schools,” Murray said. “We worked hard to make it a good mix of faith, fun, education, and service – everything we fell in love with on our service immersion trips.”

The project, which took place in late winter, exceeded Haws’ expectations.

“Personally, I expected to feel challenged but also have fun and the implementation of our project was both, for sure,” she said. “The impact this project had on me was incredible. Service has always been something I’ve enjoyed, but coordinating this project has given me a new perspective when it comes to serving my neighbors in need. The project challenged my perspective of others who are different than me and continues to do so even after completion.”


Published May 26, 2020

Senior Capstone - Tornado Relief

Homes and businesses destroyed, lives upended, the tornados that ripped through the Miami Valley in May 2019 were devastating to the region but there was a bright spot in the tragedy — the people. And it was those generous, tireless people who motivated the capstone group of seniors Kelly Carmody, Abby Feucht, Eric Miller and Maria Weizman.

“The main inspiration was seeing everyone in our community coming together to volunteer and help during a crisis,” Carmody said. “We got in contact with multiple organizations and found our best work could be done through St. Vincent de Paul. Quickly, we were able to help a family and really start to see what we wanted to do with our project.”

The work began last summer, before their senior year was even underway.

“The group saw an immediate need in our Dayton community and decided to make an impact on families affected by the May tornados,” said Molly Bardine, senior capstone coordinator.

The group’s goal was twofold — provide assistance for a family hard hit by the tornado and raise awareness in the Chaminade Julienne community about the lasting impact of the devastating natural disaster. While the tornados were in the past, the present was still a struggle for many people in the area.

“We felt like there wasn’t a lot of light shined on a very pressing issue,” Feucht said. “We made it our top priority to help people while also trying to bring to light an issue in our school and community.”

In addition to helping the local family, the group decided to explore the impact on the CJ community by interviewing students and recording their stories. They created a documentary featuring footage and images shot shortly after the tornados struck as well as community recovery efforts and the student interviews. They presented the documentary to homerooms in early March, just before schools were forced to close as a result of the pandemic.

“We hoped to bring awareness and educate the underclassmen in our school about the efforts of St. Vincent de Paul and others in the community to help those still in need,” Weizman said.

“I believe we exceeded our expectations,” Feucht said. “We reached people in ways that I didn’t think we were going to, which was really cool to see.”

While they were successful in raising awareness and providing assistance to the family, the group members themselves also benefitted from the experience.

“This project impacted me personally because it helped me gain a closer relationship and understanding of the entire community,” Miller said. “It helped me realize how important serving others is and how just a little help goes a long way.”

While the now CJ graduates will soon go their separate ways — Feucht to Kettering College, Miller to the University of Cincinnati, Carmody to Ohio State University and Weizman to the University of Washington — the experience created a bond they will always share.

“I learned more about the people in my group and how well we worked together,” Weizman said. “And this project made me realize that there is always more to do to help the community and show support in small ways.”

2020 Senior Capstone Series — Published May 19, 2020

#becauseofCJ: Emily Draeger '13

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. Read Emily's story below, and consider joining others today in supporting the mission of CJ.

Dear CJ Community,

If you talk to any student who is graduating this year, most likely they will say they are excited, a little nervous, and (maybe) sad to be moving on. This conversation is similar whether you are talking to an elementary student moving to middle school, a middle school student moving to high school, or a high school student moving onto college or another chosen path.

I remember feeling the nervousness, sadness, and excitement of transitioning from elementary school to high school. I remember being able to share those feelings with family and friends, and with the student I shadowed at CJ, as an eighth grader. I left my visit day with not only an older student to look up to, but also knowing that I had found my high school. The students I had met during the day were inviting, the classes were rigorous yet engaging, and the teachers were very student-centered. It felt like home to me.

CJ was home for me for four years of my life. CJ was where I made new friends and strengthened old friendships, learned so much academically, and gained mentors in my teachers over the years. The teachers and staff at CJ form relationships with students and, in my experience, truly want the best for you and your future. It’s an amazing feeling knowing you have a strong support system from them even after graduation and many years have passed.

Fast forward several years and I’m witnessing my fifth grade students doing the same as they prepare for middle school. They’re going on visits and tours, talking with middle school students and teachers, and sharing their feelings and emotions with me about the upcoming transition. Just like I did when I was choosing my high school as an eighth grader, my fifth graders are having to do the same at a much younger age. My wish for them is to find a middle school that fits their personality, their academic need, and feels like home — just like CJ did to me.

It was at CJ that I learned what the word “inclusive” meant, even before “inclusive” was a hot word in the field of education. Inclusive behavior is a personality and behavior trait that my school focuses on and as a teacher, I have found that it’s easiest to teach inclusivity by experience. My experience at CJ allowed me to form relationships with students who came from different backgrounds and collaborate on projects with students with various needs and disabilities.

The inclusivity that CJ provides for students serves as a reminder to me that everyone has something great to share and because I was able to be a part of that strong and accepting culture, I’m currently teaching fifth grade at a public school, but am also getting my Master’s degree in special education.  It’s my goal to not only teach my students academically, but to teach them how to be better members of society, and the knowledge and experience I gained by attending CJ is helping me to do so.

Emily Draeger '13


A Message from CJ President Dan Meixner '84

Now eight weeks of experiencing the impact of the pandemic as a school community, Dan Meixner '84, president, shares a message of hope as the school's leadership looks ahead and outlines CJ's commitment to students, parents and faculty and staff.


CJ's Commitment Includes:

• Celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of the members of the Class of 2020,

• Postponing Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremonies, scheduled for the end of July,

• Securing additional resources and appropriate processes,

• Keeping our entire team employed through the conclusion of the current school year and planning for all to return for the next school year,

• Assisting parents with final 2019-2020 school year payment through partnership, and

• Continuing to connect with our alumni and friends who support continue to sustain us.

"We know that we together will continue to 'be the light, CJ'. May God bless you in great abundance," concluded Meixner in his May 8, 2020 address.

Posted May 8, 2020


CJ Recognizes Those Who Went Over and Beyond

Putting faith into action, service is an integral part of Chaminade Julienne as students and faculty alike live their faith every day.

The annual Service Awards Assembly recognizes the individuals who shared their time and talents with both the CJ community and the community at large. This year, however, the ceremony was virtual as the Chaminade Julienne campus remains closed as per the governor’s order. But while the recognition was virtual, these students were hands-on when it came to service this year.

“Doing it virtually was a challenge – as with everything else these days,” said Kelli Kinnear, director of Ministry & Service. “The biggest challenge was trying to get an hour and a half assembly down to a short video, while attempting to include every student who deserved to be honored — both individually and as part of a larger group.”

Because it was part of the Mass celebration, the presentation was shorter than if it was a stand-alone video. All bronze, silver and gold award winners, service groups and organizations as well along as the recipients of the various awards of distinction were all recognized.

[View Service Awards as part of CJ's All School Mass & Senior Farewell; time marker 47:45]

“I missed that the students didn't get to come up to the stage and be recognized in front of the whole student body,” Kinnear said.

While most schools regularly present academic and athletic awards, the CJ community also makes it a point to recognize those students who go above and beyond when it comes to service.

“One of many things that make CJ unique is that we take time every spring to also honor our students who have given an exceptional amount of time in serving others,” Kinnear said. “The emphasis on community service is so central to our mission statement, and is part of the hallmarks of a Notre Dame learning community and the characteristics of a Marianist education. Our Catholic faith forms everything we do at CJ, which of course includes following in Jesus' footsteps to serve others.”

Students were recognized as bronze (25-49 hours), silver (50-99 hours) or gold (more than 100 hours) based on the amount of time they volunteered during the school year. Four awards of distinction, as well as a faculty service award, were also presented.

Meet CJ's Top Recipients

Sister Ruth Ann Bange Service Award: Gabrielle Schneider '21

This award recognizes a junior who exhibits the commitment and spirit of Sister Ruth Ann Bange, SND. It is presented to a student who has made outstanding contributions to the Dayton community through the community service program that Sister Ruth Ann created.

• • •

There have been so many people who have inspired me to volunteer. My parents have jobs that help others and my Grandma has also volunteered most of her life so I have grown up learning the importance of helping others by watching them. My family participates in many small service projects throughout the year and I think getting to experience how service affects others from a young age has really inspired me. My faith is also a big influence in my service and always has been. I have had so many moving experiences and moments meeting different people during my time volunteering that really mean a lot to me. One experience that stood out was at Adventure Central, an after school learning center for kids. A young boy asked me to help him with his reading and writing homework that he didn't understand. He made a comment after we were done, "I really understand my work now, you taught me more than my teacher did about this." That helped me realize not everyone is given the same opportunities in life. Education is very important, so getting to help younger kids learn was very eye opening. I have also had many memorable experiences at the Jingle Bell Bowl event that my family volunteers at every year. I enjoy seeing the fun the kids and parents have and how grateful they are. It puts into perspective how grateful I should be about my life.

— Gabrielle Schneider

George Early Scholarship: Grace Schaefer '22

The George Early Scholarship is given to a sophomore who has distinguished him or herself as a servant leader. It was established to encourage ongoing service and to honor a person who is an example of Christian service for the CJ community.

• • •

I attended the Solsberry Mission Trip that CJ offers during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. It was such an impactful experience for me both spiritually and socially. I was able to meet new people, while getting closer to my friends from CJ who also attended. The service we did each day came in such variety that I was excited to get to work every day. The most inspiring part was being able to use the nature around me to meditate on the service I did and realize the impact that I made on a community that I had just been introduced to. 

— Grace Schaefer

LaSertoma Award: Kelsey Dickey '20

The LaSertoma Club, a service organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of all persons and to promote youth and education, honors one student from each area high school who takes the lead when it comes to service.

• • •

The spirit of the LaSertoma Award is to treat others the way you want to be treated. I don't look at service as just a "requirement" it is a way of life. There is no better feeling than knowing you impacted a life somehow or some way. What inspired me to serve in this way was my mom. My mom always taught me the importance of serving others, especially in the community. An inspirational encounter I had was when I attended the Taos, New Mexico mission trip the summer of 2018. During this trip, when we attended the school there, it made me extremely happy to learn about their upbringings and to help all the younger kids.

— Kelsey Dickey

Top Senior Award: Logan Miller ‘20

Logan accumulated a record number of volunteer hours over the course of his four years at CJ –
786 hours of service. As a whole, the CJ community has given a total of 11,761 hours of service to the broader community. 

Faculty/Staff Founder's Award: Peg Regan '73, foreign language department chair

The Chaminade Julienne Faculty/Staff Founders Award is given annually to an adult member of the CJ community who best represents the spirit of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and Saint Julie Billiart. This faculty/staff member is a model in the CJ community for living the charisms of the Society of Mary and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Through words and actions, this individual lives his/her daily life as a positive example of faith leadership.

When being presented her award, Peg was described as someone works tirelessly to instill a love of Spanish in her students and a love of teaching and learning in her department members as well as with other teachers throughout the school. "She is involved in various committees at CJ in order to help make the CJ experience a positive one for all," said Sr. Nicole Trahan FMI.

"She attends as many CJ sporting events and concerts as she is able so that her students and fellow teachers know that she supports them. Peg is also very supportive of her department members and is a good sounding board whenever anyone needs advice. She truly loves her job and is a true champion of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School by her words and actions. Congratulations, Peg!"

• • •

I have always felt that CJ has an advantage in communicating our mission because it is so personalised in the lives of our founders. St. Julie and Blessed Father Chaminade did not allow challenges like paralysis or revolutions defeat them in their missions to build communities of faith, educate students of all backgrounds, and minister to the poor. Although our founders started their orders in the19th century, their mission has only intensified over time. We see this in the 20th century through the lives of the Spanish Marianist martyrs and in the 21st century in the life of our own beloved Sister Dorothy Stang.

The witness of our founders has inspired me to always try to be the best teacher and co-worker I can be no matter what each day brings. I am humbled to receive this recognition because there are so many staff and students at CJ who have shown me our mission in action, helped me continue striving to follow in their footsteps, and bring our founders´ message to our students.

Peg Regan

Published May 8, 2020

CJ STEMM Earns Second National PLTW Recognition

For the second time in as many years, Chaminade Julienne is being recognized nationally as a Project Lead the Way Distinguished School.

The recognition program honors schools and districts committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in their Project Lead the Way programs.

CJ is one of just 143 PLTW high school programs across the country to receive recognition this year.

“It is a great honor to recognize Chaminade Julienne for their commitment to providing students with an excellent educational experience,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead the Way. “They should be very proud of their work to ensure students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose.”

The recognition, while not surprising, is a welcome one for CJ STEMM coordinator Meg Draeger.

“CJ was the first Catholic high school in Ohio to gain national certification of the PLTW programs, in our fifth year of course delivery,” Draeger said. “This second consecutive year of distinguished school recognition serves as evidence that we have maintained the quality and effectiveness of our PLTW programs.”

Above and beyond

To be eligible for the national recognition, schools have to meet multiple criteria. Chaminade Julienne met or exceeded all standards.

  • Schools should offer and have students enrolled in at least three PLTW courses, CJ offers eight courses.
  • Schools should have at least 25 percent of students participate in PLTW courses, CJ had 28 percent, with more than 40 percent of those students taking more than one PLTW course.
  • Schools should have at least 95 percent of students take End-of-Course national PLTW assessments, CJ had 100 percent of students enrolled in PLTW courses take the EoC assessments.

In the 2018-19 school year – for which this recognition was awarded – CJ had 186 students participate in a PLTW course. It marked a decade since CJ began with the first PLTW course delivery in the 2008-09 school year.

Science department co-chair Amy O'Loughlin has been part of the CJ program since its inception and is a PLTW Biomedical Sciences Master Teacher.

“As a teacher, what I love about the program is that every year the students are creating new and interesting presentations, experiments and products,” O’Loughlin said. “Even though the curriculum is basically the same, each student has the ability to approach the assignment from a different perspective and put their own unique mark on the assignment.”

PLTW benefits

The Project Lead the Way high school level courses in engineering and biomedical sciences at CJ are just one element of the CJ STEMM program.

“The courses, when combined with appropriate math and science courses, introduce students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering, technology, and biomedical sciences prior to entering college,” Draeger said. “The program’s formal curriculum is rigorous and contemporary, problem and project-based, and supported by ongoing teacher professional development and networking among teachers around the nation.”

Both O’Loughlin and Draeger have witnessed the many benefits of the program.

“PLTW courses enable CJ students to learn and work in project teams on common projects, explore engineering and biomedical science careers, and learn in-demand technical and laboratory skills not addressed in other courses,” Draeger said. “For students who choose to pursue related studies in college, knowledge and experience gained in the PLTW courses give them a ‘jump start’ in introductory college courses, providing motivation and confidence to persist and succeed in college level programs.”

And those benefits last long after their students leave the CJ campus.

“I have had many students who reach out to me after graduation from CJ to share unique lab opportunities and even job opportunities because of the background and experiences that PLTW has provided,” O’Loughlin said. “Because we do advanced lab procedures that you would not find in a traditional high school science class, the PLTW students are able to showcase their lab skills much earlier than other students.”

- Posted May 7, 2020

CJ Announces Josh Thomas as Head Coach for Men's Soccer

When the Chaminade Julienne men's soccer team kicks off the 2020 season, there will be a new head coach at the helm but he will be a familiar face to the Eagles faithful.

After completing a thorough search process, Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School announced Friday that Josh Thomas – who has been an Eagles assistant coach the past two seasons – has accepted the position as the head coach.

"I am thrilled to begin my next journey at CJ as head coach,” Thomas said. “I love this program and couldn't be more excited to continue to coach here and be a part of the CJ community. I fully believe in the school's mission and am excited to contribute it.”

Thomas, who played collegiate soccer at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, was an assistant coach at his alma mater Dayton Christian before joining the Eagles staff in 2018. He also has several year of experience as a club coach for both Ohio Fusion and, more recently, the Centerville United Soccer Association.

"Josh is a great fit for the CJ community,” athletic director Jeremy Greenleaf said. “Over the past two years, the team has really grown fond of him. I think coach Thomas will be a great addition to the great CJ coaches we currently have."

A young Eagles team struggled last season, but Thomas will have some familiar face back in the lineup in the fall including several All-GCL honorees – Ben Campion (first team) Noah Boehringer (second team) and Logan Downey (honorable mention).

“We have a great group of guys that are hungry to compete at the highest level and I am confident we will this fall as we return a large group of experienced seniors,” Thomas said. “I am looking forward to putting in the work to craft a culture of excellence both on and off the field. I have full faith in the guys to rally behind that and represent CJ well as young men."