February 2021

Diverse Leadership Sustains Success, Fosters Relationships for CJ Football

Around 2012, two young assistant football coaches at Urbana University, Cory Hardin and Maurice “Mo” Harden, sat in an office before taking the field for practice, discussing dream scenarios for their coaching careers.

“Cory and I were in the office just talking, telling stories and talking about the future,” said Mo. “I said ‘man, look, if I ever get the chance to coach at CJ, I will. You run the defense, I run the offense. How great would that be?’”

A goal achieved as Cory would join the CJ football staff in 2014 with Mo to follow in 2016. Both would coach together for five years at CJ, helping build a winning program, a hardworking culture, a lifelong bond with the community, and a special friendship with current CJ head coach Marcus Colvin.

“Teaching us how to be great coaches, great men, great husbands, every facet of what we are goes back to what Marcus taught us,” said Mo. “Those are life lessons that I’ll never be able to pay back. There’s so much that he has given to both of us.”

As a new season approaches, both Cory and Mo will be donning new colors, with Cory moving on to become the head coach at his alma mater of Fairborn High School and Mo becoming the head coach at Xenia High School.

Having an experienced and dedicated head coach at the helm of the CJ football program in Marcus Colvin is one thing, but pairing him with outstanding coordinators destined to become head coaches has brought great success over the last five years -- four state playoff appearances and a 33-20 record over that time.

All three of these coaches have been strong Black role models for CJ students. “It’s important to promote the opportunity for Black coaches to get a chance, show what you can do,” said Colvin, who has been at CJ for 17 years and has been the head football coach since 2011. “The important part is that our community supports them to succeed when they’re there, just like CJ always has.”

Although there is a lack of standardized diversity and inclusion reporting at the high school football level, statistics at the college and professional football level provide a reference point that helps showcase just how wide the gap in coaching job equity is for Black football coaches.

Via FiveThirtyEight, a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football program from 2008-2018 was “68 percentage points more likely to have a coaching change that involved two men who didn’t identify as African American than to have one involving two African American men. And if a black coach either was fired or left to take another opportunity, there was less than a 1 in 5 chance that his successor was also black.”

At the National Football League (NFL) level, there have been 27 coaching vacancies over the previous four hiring cycles, three of which have been filled by Black men, with only 11 percent of coaching vacancies since 2018 having been filled by Black men, despite the player population in the NFL being 70 percent Black, via NFL.com.

“Those numbers are probably pretty consistent across any job field,” said Cory. “There’s a lot of things in this country we’re still dealing with in terms of race relations, and job equity is one of those things.”

“As a first time head coach, I’m in a position where finding a diverse base of coaches is important to me because it can’t just be me,” continued Cory. “Because if it’s just me, then it’s all on me to be the guy that connects with students who come from different backgrounds and who may not get as many chances. I’m trying to find ways to do what Marcus did to make sure that our coaches are connected to the players. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the last couple weeks is that building strong relationships with student athletes matters. If you don’t connect with students as people and you just focus on football, you aren’t going to be successful.”

“The relatability and the ability to develop great relationships with kids is very important to me and sometimes you can’t do that if you don’t understand where they come from,” said Mo. “Diversity is important because it enables you to have those different viewpoints from different people. It allows you as coaches to work together to find the best way to communicate with those kids because not every kid is going to mesh with every coach. Everyone needs their ‘guy,’ which all stems back to relationships. It’s the old mantra of ‘they don’t care how much he knows until they know how much he cares.’ It’s important for Black kids to see guys that look like they do that are successful, they feel they can do it too.”

All three coaches noted the pressure Black coaches feel to win right away in order to establish job security.

According to the same FiveThirtyEight article referenced above, there have only been seven instances since 1975 of African American head coaches at the FBS level receiving a second opportunity to be a head coach after being fired.

Football coaches, like any other profession, cannot be hired just because of the color of their skin, they need to be qualified individuals who can help further the program. The discrepancy lies in finding ways to get inexperienced Black coaches the opportunities they need to bolster their resumes and grow into qualified candidates.

“Program it, outreach it,” said Colvin, noting the importance of establishing a structure to grant these young coaches with limited experience the opportunities they need to succeed. “Just presenting new opportunities. It requires a lot of effort from the top all the way down, but it is so worth it.”

Pulling coaches up from the youth level programs is one place to start.

“Those are the people that I would say get the first look and then we work ourselves up from there,” said Cory. “Be present at the youth programs and games and see how the coaches work. Take an eighth grade coach and find him a high school position, move up from there. Coaching has proved it is not what you know, it is who you know. It’s valuable to make those relationships.”

Finding good candidates is not so much about their football resume as much as it is about their character and ability to help student athletes reach their full potential.

“Find good, present, and loyal people to be coaches,” said Mo. “The football piece will take care of itself.”

“Mo and Cory have helped me understand what I should expect from assistant coaches,” said Colvin. “People ask me if I would want them back on our staff right now if I had the choice. Absolutely not! They have earned their new opportunities. I’m so proud of them. They’re going to do such a great job. They’re going to be great because I’ve seen it in action.”

As one chapter closes and another begins, Cory and Mo each reflect on their time at CJ with admiration and gratitude.

“CJ just gave me opportunity after opportunity after opportunity as a coach and educator” said Cory. “That’s what made the decision to leave so difficult because CJ really became home, became family. Coach Colvin became like a big brother to me, I look up to him more than he will ever know. I’m just very grateful for the opportunities that CJ provided me with when they didn’t have to.”

“I’ve known Marcus since I was 14 years old,” said Mo. “I think back to eighth grade when I was playing wee Eagles football and I remember saying ‘I want to coach at CJ.’ It’s something I always wanted to do and to be given the opportunity to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams is great.”

“Marcus Colvin was the first African American teacher I had and the first successful African American man I saw,” continued Mo. “Now I get to go be somebody else’s Marcus Colvin.”

 

 

--This story was published on February 22, 2021. 

CJ Students Showcase Artistic Abilities in 2021

Themes of the year 2020 captured the minds and works of artists for this year’s Miami Valley Regional Affiliate of the Scholastic Art Awards, hosted by K12 Gallery and TEJAS. Seven CJ students stood out, earning distinctive recognition for their efforts.

“This group of students did such an amazing job of representing what it means to go beyond thinking creatively and individually,” said Eric Hall, fine arts teacher at CJ.

The Scholastic Art Awards, a nearly century old competition, has allowed students in grades 7-12 to compete on regional and national levels for scholarship funds. The program seeks to foster creativity and establish a platform for recognition.

A multi-award winner in the 2020 competition, Chloe Proffitt ‘21 received three recognitions for her entries this year, including a Gold Key for her fashion design of “Sun Set.” Her experience as a distance learner, and the additional challenge of a semester art class taught over the span of a quarter, inspired her to think and create in new ways.

“The new found freedom of time and working from home were difficult at first, but it also opened me up to new mediums that would've been harder to execute at school like sewing and cardboard construction work in these times of distancing,” said Proffitt. “Exploring these categories led me to realize my love for fashion design, which I will now be majoring in at Kent State in the fall.”

“This past year of isolation proved to be a fruitful tree of endless artistic apples. I worked with the theme of ‘escapism’ a lot this year,” continued Proffitt. “My eyes were growing tired of seeing the same environment everyday so I thought, ‘why not build myself a new house?’ I built a three foot tall, three story townhouse and a smaller accompanying bedroom out of recycled materials and used the process to give my mind the escape it so desperately needed.”

K12 Gallery and TEJAS, the regional affiliate of the Scholastic Art Awards for the Greater Miami Valley Area, hosts the judging and is responsible for facilitating local entries and displaying the winners. Winning submissions are given a gold key, granted to about five to seven percent of all submissions; a silver key, about seven to ten percent of submissions; or an honorable mention, given to about 10 percent of submissions. Submissions awarded a gold key advance to be judged nationally with a chance to place as top in the country.

CJ submitted over 100 pieces for consideration out of a total of 500 contributed this year. After rounds of rigorous judging and selection processes, CJ students received three gold keys, four silver keys, and five honorable mentions. CJ has proudly received multiple awards in the last four years including multiple gold keys, silvers, and honorable mentions.

“Allowing these students to have an artistic outlet is one of the greatest things for their development and their growth as young creative leaders,” said Hall. “I am constantly encouraged by how much our students embrace the art community we have here at CJ.”

Chaminade Julienne enjoys a partnership with K12 Gallery and TEJAS, where art students are instructed by the organization’s professional artists and have access to the gallery’s spaces and amenities to expand their artistic experience.

Congratulations to our 2021 student award winners:
Gold Key Award: Allie Bertke ‘21, Chloe Proffitt ‘21
Silver Key Awards: Josh Cross ‘23, Lily Davis ‘21, Kate Machuca ‘22, Chloe Proffitt ‘21
Honorable Mention: Javian Caldwell ‘22, Josh Cross ‘23, Morgan Dean ‘22, Chloe Proffitt ‘21

See CJ’s winning submissions below.

 

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TechFest 2021 Hosts Virtual Family Fun Event

Tune in to TechFest 2021 on February 13 &14

Since 2012, CJ STEMM has hosted fun activities led by student volunteers at this community event typically held at Sinclair Community College. Like most activities planned for larger crowds during this time of COVID-19, this event will be held virtually on February 13 and 14, and accessed from the TechFest website or Facebook page. Even so, the planners promise a wide variety of STEM activities for participants from the comforts of their homes.

"We're excited to be a part of this year's virtual event with an engaging experience about our amazing "Human Body Systems," said Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator. "Two of our CJ Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science students, Tori Hale '23 and Helen Brzozowski '23, helped create CJ's exhibit — a tour of our body systems. They were assisted by two very special 'residents' of the CJ science lab."

Get a sneak peek of CJ's TechFest exhibit here.

Hundreds of exhibitors will offer virtual experiences of STEM learning and STEM professionals in action, with the goal of working to make the world a better place.

"For 19 years, TechFest has been the go to STEM festival in our region where families and people of all ages can do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities, and meet and learn from local practicing STEM professionals and college and university students," said Draeger. "Families can check in and play and learn for one hour, or for the entire weekend!

All exhibits will go live Feb 13-14 at http://www.techfestdayton.org/

Watch as Tori and Helen invite families to TechFest here.

What brought a Spanish teacher and lover of literature together?

Chaminade Julienne!

For a combined 84 years, Peg Regan ‘73 and Jim Brooks have inspired thousands of students through their passion for teaching, their faith, and their love for Catholic education.

“I fell in love with the place immediately,” said Jim who had arrived at CJ in 1980 as a Marianist Brother. The Marianists granted his wish to teach in Dayton so he could be a support for his mother, a member of the Class of 1933. God had a different plan for Jim as he left the order in 1985. When he considered the possibility of dating, Peg was the one. “I knew by the third date what I wanted.”

“I’m glad I made the cut! We just clicked,” said Peg. She recalled how their dates revolved around CJ events. “Since we were both teachers, we really liked seeing our students and how they were succeeding.” Sixteen months later, they united together in marriage. “It’s been a CJ union ever since!”

Peg's inspiration for teaching comes from Notre Dame and Marianist Founders, St. Julie and Blessed Father Chaminade.

“If Sister Julie paralyzed in bed and Fr. Chaminade hiding in a cistern, could both go on and found schools, then I guess I can get up today! You are a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Jim witnessed how CJ students are receptive, willing to grow, and take chances.

“I love teaching, first and foremost. It’s the right profession for me," he said. "There’s a sense of community in the whole school. When you share that with your spouse, you feel an ongoing desire to keep getting better. This makes the community a better place.”

Community starts in the classroom and in English class, you have a community of readers and writers. “Students share ideas and take that back into their lives and use it for their benefit.” Jim’s favorite books, The Chosen and Great Expectations, read a lot like the journey of a CJ student. “Young people seeking direction in their lives and becoming something more than expected.” In Spanish class, students have to feel comfortable expressing their opinions and do it in a different language. “We talk about ourselves, celebrate accomplishments and pray for each other – that’s community,” said Peg.

In the midst of this most interesting school year, educators, like Jim and Peg are among the front line workers who are building the faith for young people to reach their full potential.

And Chaminade Julienne is blessed to have the support of a community who understands the impact of caring and passionate educators and the importance of growing this mission for future generations. "Once you bring students to the experience, great things can happen," said Jim. "We are able to inspire more young people to act on behalf of justice and peace in the world,” added Peg.

Peg currently teaches Spanish and is the chair of the language department. Though Jim retired from teaching English in 2017, he continues to serve as the head coach for CJ tennis.

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Learn more about ways to support the mission of CJ - here.

February 1, 2021