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The latest news from Bishop O'Connell High School

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    O'Connell faculty members Kevin Sullivan and Patrice Connolly recently took a road trip to Pennsylvania to visit Camilla Hall, the retirement home for I.H.M Sisters. There they were reunited with Sister LaReine, Sister Rose and Sister Kathleen, who together have served generations of students at Bishop O'Connell.

    "It was a great visit," said Mrs. Connolly. "We were able to go out to lunch with Sr. LaReine--her first outing in quite some time."

    Camilla Hall sits on the grounds of Immaculata University, just outside Philadelphia. Find out more about Camilla Hall at

    Pictured below (left to right): Sister Rose, Patrice Connolly, Sister LaReine, and Kevin Sullivan.

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  • 07/15/13--14:00: Graduation 2013
  • Congratulations to the class of 2013!

    CLICK HERE to view a slideshow.

    It was a beautiful and warm day in the city as Bishop O’Connell High School held its 53th commencement exercise at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, presented diplomas to the 305 members of the class of 2013. Included in that number this year were 35 legacies, that is, graduates with parents who are O’Connell alumni. There were also 11 graduates who received a certificate along with their diploma to indicate the equivalent of a ninth semester of study as part of the Global Studies program.

    President Kathleen Prebble welcomed the students, honored guests and family members to this celebration. She took a moment to recognized members of the class of 1963 who were attendance to mark the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Bishop O’Connell. Then she addressed the class of 2013, encouraging them to embark with confidence on their next journey. “You do not know what the future holds,” she said, “but you hold the future.” She finished her remarks by sharing the sentiments of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, who recently spoke at the Bard College graduation: “Be bold, be courageous, be yourself.”

    Emily Lodge, the class salutatorian, marveled at how far this class had come, and how much they had already accomplished. “We’ve become superheroes,” she said, and she described the three characteristics of a superhero that were already embodied in the members of the class of 2013. The first was superhero strength, which she illustrated in both the physical and mental capabilities of class members. The second characteristic was a desire to help others, and she pointed to the Superdance, soup drive, tutoring, service hours, mission trips and March for Life as just a few accomplishments of this class. The third characteristic was a basic belief that one has power for a reason. “By using our ‘superhero’ strength for God’s purpose, we are sure to change the world for good,” she said.

    Meagan David, the class valedictorian, encouraged the class to view their next steps in life the same way that she was taught to prepare for a race by her coach. She acknowledged that there were many times before a race when she would have butterflies in anticipation. “Trust,” she said. “That’s the word I want you to remember—trust your education; trust each other; trust yourself; and trust Jesus to be there with you, too.”

    Dr. Matthew Shank, president of Marymount University, provided the commencement address. He shared his enthusiasm for the partnership that his school has established with Bishop O’Connell, both in the classroom and on the athletic field. His remarks for the afternoon were inspired by the words from the 2004 Natasha Bedingfield song, “Unwritten.” He reminded the graduates that this was a new beginning for them, and the path is yet undefined. “Put your faith in God, put passion in everything, and you will be spectacular and successful,” he said.

    After the presentation of the diplomas, Principal Joseph Vorbach welcomed the students as fellow alumni of Bishop O’Connell. He encouraged these new alumni to share their “God-given talents” to bring about good in this world. “Bloom where you are planted,” he said, drawing on the same encouragement he often heard when he was younger.

    Bishop Loverde closed the celebration with the benediction, reminding the new graduates that a “commencement” is a beginning, not an end.

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  • 07/16/13--08:14: Dance Team Rocks at Camp
  • The 2013-2014 Royalette Dance Team from Bishop O’Connell High School just returned from the Universal Dance Association Camp at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County with a new set of trophies, ribbons and valuable team experiences.

    This O’Connell squad finished in the top spot with their home routine, receiving a blue ribbon evaluation and qualifying for the National Dance Team Championship in February in Orlando, Fla., which is televised by ESPN.

    The team also received a Superior trophy as one of the top averaging teams based on individual team member evaluations.

    The Royalettes were also awarded the Team Drill Down Award, receiving the highest team average in ribbon accumulation from daily camp drills. On the final day of camp, members of the team competed in the final drill down competition. Out of 150 dancers, the Royalette Dance Team had nine members left in the top 30, five left in the top ten, and three left in the top five. Daisa Harris ’14 took 4th runner-up, Thalia Falcon ’14 took 3rd runner-up, and Madison Rubley ’16 took 1st runner-up.

    All-Americans recognition was awarded Carina Falcon ’14, Sydney Parker ’14, Thalia Falcon ’14, Anna Keyes ’14, Daisa Harris ’14 and Bridget Heppes ’16. These members were invited to perform in the New Year's Day Parade in London, England.

    Officers of the team were invited to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and the entire team has also been invited to perform during the halftime show of the Capital One Bowl.

    “Camp is a wonderful opportunity for our returning members and new members to come together as a team,” said Coach Chrissy Salvador '95. “Coming off of a very successful season last year, these girls are determined to continue to raise the bar. I could not be more proud as a coach, and especially as an Royalette alum.”

    For more information on the Royalette Dance Team, visit their web page at

    Pictured: Coaches Kelsey Timmerberg '04 (back row, far left) and Chrissy Salvador '95 (back row, far right) join the members of the 2013-2014 Royalette Dance Team for a photo with their trophies from camp.

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  • 06/07/13--05:34: June 7, 2013
  • For any students taking the computer science fundamentals class during the summer, you must purchase the required textbook, Learning to Program with Alice, 3rd Edition. For students who are taking Intro to Technology, the suggested textbook is Discovering Computers & Microsoft Office 2010. Any questions - see Mr. Andrews.

    Attention all rising Junior and Senior students who will be taking AP science courses next year, please pick up a copy of your summer assignments this week from the following teachers:

    AP Biology – See Mrs. Curtin in Room 237

    AP Chemistry – See Dr. Terapane in Room 231

    AP Physics C Students - See Mr. Rennekamp in Room 235

    AP Environmental Science – See Mr. Britt in Room 236

    Attention students, as you clean out your lockers, please use the boxes in the hallways to donate school supplies to the Medical Missionaries and Interact Clubs. Supplies will be sent to Haiti and donated locally. Thank you!

    Attention Underclassmen, all library books are now overdue; it is time to clean out your lockers and find those books! Return the books to the library and pay the fines. All books must be returned with their fines paid in order to take your exams.

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  • 07/26/13--06:42: Prayers Requested
  • To our Bishop O'Connell community,

    Yesterday afternoon we learned that a Bishop O’Connell family was among the victims of the July 24 train accident in Spain.  According to the Arlington Diocese, members of the Cordoba family had been passengers on this train. We were heartbroken to learn that Mrs. Ana-Maria Cordoba, a benefits specialist in the diocesan human resources department, was killed in the accident.

    Mr. Felipe Cordoba and their daughter, Cristina Cordoba, who is a rising senior at Bishop O’Connell, were injured and are reported in stable condition at a Spanish hospital.

    We have limited information about the needs of the family at this time.  We ask for your prayers for all the victims of this horrific accident and especially for the Cordoba family during this very difficult time. Father Cozzi will be offering a Mass this morning (Friday, July 26) at 11:30 a.m. in the student chapel for these intentions, and the community is invited to join us. We will provide additional information on upcoming prayer opportunities and other resources for our families in the upcoming days.


    Joseph E. Vorbach III
    Head of School

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    It's a new era for the Knights hockey program with new head coach Flip Collins at the helm. But O'Connell hockey players didn't have to wait until winter to see what might be in store for the new team.

    Last week, Coach Collins and his staff led 37 O'Connell players through a grueling three-day camp at the Ashburn Ice House in Ashburn, Va.

    Led by seniors James Klein (Reston, Va.), Bogdan Dragacevac (Rockville, Md.) and Nicholas Blanchfield-Felice (Oakton, Va.), the Knights participated in news drills and conditioning sessions both on and off the ice. Juniors Luke Collins (Vienna, Va.), Tommy Meaux (Fairfax, Va.) and David Ahlstrom (Herndon, Va.) showed tremendous skill and scoring touch. Sophomores Robert Burnham (Arlington Va.) and Matt Klein (Reston, Va.), and freshman Zach Cosgrove (Fairfax) pushed the upperclassmen with high energy and positive attitudes. Goalies Pierce Douglas (a junior from Vienna, Va.) and Zach Hales (a sophomore from Sterling, Va.) provided much need strength between the pipes.

    The mini-camp gave the players an opportunity to gel as a team and to familiarize themselves with the new coaching staff and team culture.

    “I was impressed with the energy level and motivation of these players and feel extremely fortunate to be working with them," said Coach Collins. "Bishop O'Connell provides these talented students with a great education, and together we are building an unrivaled hockey experience."

    A special thanks goes out to players from the Ashburn Xtreme Hockey Program who also attend and provided a great atmosphere and spirited competition.

    Photo: Tommy Meaux (#8) drives to the net during one of the mini-camp scrimmages.

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    Eight members of the Bishop O’Connell Medical Missionaries Club traveled in early July to Thomassique, Haiti to support the work of the Medical Missionaries organization at the St. Joseph's Clinic. The trip was the culmination of a year’s worth of planning, fundraising and collecting much-needed supplies for the operations of the clinic.

    St. Joseph's Clinic serves the needs of this rural region that is home to more than 125,000 people. The O’Connell students lent a hand in the pharmacy, the maternity ward and the emergency room, taking vital readings, consulting with patients and even handling pharmacy tasks. They also helped set up a mobile clinic that served 80 patients in one day.

    At the same time, the students worked with a local youth group that supports the clinic. They shared some of their personal skills in sewing, knitting, piano and guitar with their new friends, who shared their talents in crocheting, cooking and much more. Any language barrier was wiped away when each group taught the other their native language. Since the mission trip fell during the week of the Fourth of July, the Haitian youth insisted on hosting a joint party and celebrating the holiday together.

    At the end of a long day, the O’Connell students often gathered to reflect on the day’s events and share the impact of the trip on their life journey.

    “At school, our students regularly talk about serving the poor and marginalized, but an experience like this gives them a clearer and more personal perspective,” said chaperone and theology teacher John Allen.

    “We had an unforgettable experience in Thomassique with the doctors, nurses and our new friends,” said club president, Alexa Dantzler. “We learned about the daily life and hardships in this rural region, and although we can’t solve all the problems in one short week, we did what we could to give people hope for themselves and their futures.”

    For Dantzler and her classmate, Emily Lodge, this was their second trip to Thomassique and a unique opportunity to build on the mission work completed the previous year. The two were able to literally see the fruits of their earlier labor, as the fruit trees they had planted near the clinic the previous year were already thriving.

    The O’Connell delegation was accompanied by Allen, as well as Dr. Peter Dirr and Gachard Jean-Pierre from the Medical Missionaries organization, and Dr. Trina Sensenig, the previous club moderator, who also traveled with this group in 2012.


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    Senior parents are invited THIS THURSDAY, Aug. 15 to an evening Parent Coffee with Kristina Herbst, Bishop O'Connell's new Director of College Counseling. College  counselors, Dr. Dan Stabile and Mr. Tom Giska, will also be in attendance.

    Please come out to hear about the exciting new plans for this year's college admissions process and to informally meet your son's or your daughter's college counselor.

    The event will be held in the Upper Gym. Please use Entrance #1 at the front of the school.

    Kindly RSVP to Mrs. Herbst at by Wednesday, Aug. 14 if you will be able to attend.

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    There will be a mandatory meeting for all athletes (all sports, all seasons) and their parents on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

    This meeting has been moved from an earlier date of Aug. 22.

    Please make the time to attend this meeting which covers athletics department policies and philosophies. In addition, this meeting is also part of our athletics department's concussion awareness program.


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    Earlier this month, the Bishop O’Connell cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) summer camp on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The DJO cheerleaders joined with high school cheer squads from throughout Virginia learning new cheers, chants, dances, and stunts and finding ways to improve on the performances every day.

    On the final day of camp, the cheerleaders participated in the Camp Champion Competition. Both the varsity and the junior varsity squads were awarded second place trophies, with the varsity also bringing home the “Superior Squad” trophy for earning blue ribbons during every night of evaluation

    In addition, four varsity members and one JV member were selected as “All-American” cheerleaders by the UCA staff and have been given the opportunity to cheer in the London New Year’s Day Parade. Those selected for this honor were Julia Lisbeth ’14, Tori Van Horne ’14, Grace Young ’14, Katie Ward ’15, and Catherine Nguyen ‘16.

    “UCA camp was the perfect way to kick off our season,” said cheerleading coach Lacey Jacobsen. “I was so impressed with each team member’s skill, attitude and work ethic. Being recognized for our achievements was certainly a highlight; however, our greatest achievement is the camaraderie that was built. This is a reward that will benefit them for the entire season.”


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    Our Head of School, Dr. Joseph Vorbach, introduces us to our newest classroom teachers in his latest blog entry!

    READ HIS BLOG HERE, and don't forget to click on the blue ALERTS button on the top of the blog page to sign-up for email updates every time a new entry is posted.


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  • 08/23/13--15:08: Welcome Class of 2017
  • Today was the first day of school for the Class of 2017!

    Read about their day in the latest installment of Dr. Vorbach's blog.

    View photos from the day's events below.

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    Josh Trimble '11 is a red-shirted sophomore who walked on to the football team at Virginia Tech his first year, and is now making something happen as a scholarship player and linebacker for the Hokies. He is also the youngest son of the late Steve Trimble, who coached football at O'Connell from 1999 until 2011. The Washington Post recently published a feature article on Josh and his family.

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    The Bishop O'Connell girls varsity soccer team is coming off an extremely successful season that took the Lady Knights to the conference championship game, and saw Coach Alberto Starace named as Regional Coach of the Year. The team was recently featured as a national-ranking contender on the MaxPreps web site.

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  • 08/27/13--09:13: Aug. 27, 2013
  • Ice Hockey Pre-Season Training - Join Us! The ice hockey program would like to announce the "Knights Pre-season Training Camp" starting the first week in September twice per week at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, home of the Knights. Coach Flip Collins and his staff will run the camp which will consist of conditioning, skill development and learning the new playing system. This is open to all hockey players who are attending Bishop O'Connell and have their own equipment. The first session is next Tuesday, Sept. 3 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Check the ice hockey team page on the web site for all the dates and for more information.

    Crew Info Meeting - NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY - Crew will be having a Novice Information Meetings on WednesdaySep. 4 after school in room 140 and on Saturday, Sep. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Thompson's Boat Center located at 2900 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Interested parents and athletes are welcome and on Saturday they will have the chance to head out on the water with the team. Visit the crew team page for more information.

    The DJO Cheerleaders are holding a Bake Sale in the cafeteria during all lunch periods on Thursday, Sept. 12.  There will tons of goodies to sell; this is also a day for Smoothie King.This might be a great day to bring a few extra dollars.

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    Adriana Vargas, a graduate of the class of 2013, was this year's recipient of the "Achieving Your Dream Scholarship" at Bishop O'Connell.

    This is the third year that this $1,000 scholarship has been awarded. Any graduating senior at Bishop O'Connell is eligible to apply in the spring. Students submit an application, including an essay on the topic of "overcoming barriers to achieve the first step of my career goals - entry into college/university in Fall 2013." Academic performance, Catholic witness, and leadership achievements comprise the selection criteria. 

    Vargas will be attending George Washing University this fall, pursuing a major in international relations. Earlier this week, Dr. Joseph Vorbach, Head of School, presented Vargas the Achieving Your Dream Scholarship Award and a book featuring seminal international relations articles by distinguished Americans from his personal library.    

    Photo - Dr. Joseph Vorbach (left) and Dr. Dan Stabile (right), college counselor, present Adriana Vargas with the Achieving Your Dream Scholarship.

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  • 08/28/13--09:08: Aug. 28, 2013
  • There will be an organizational meeting of the Guitar Club tomorrow, Thursday afternoon, at 3 pm in room 318.

    Yearbooks will be distributed this afternoon after school in Mrs. McDonald's room - Room 223.  They will also be distributed on Thursday and Friday after school

    If you did not purchase a yearbook, but would like to do so, please bring cash or a check for $75 to Mrs. McDonald's Room. Remember, the book features 3D images – something you do not want to miss!

    Crew Info Meeting - NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY - Crew will be having our Novice Information Meetings on Wednesday, Sep. 4 after school in room 140 and on Saturday, Sep. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Thompson's Boat Center located at 2900 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Interested parents and athletes are welcome and on Saturday they will have the chance to head out on the water with the team. Visit the crew team page for more information.

    Attention Freshmen and Sophomores – if you took summer PE, please go to the Upper Gym during your lunch or Knight Time and have your picture taken and photo ID made.

    There will be an organizational meeting of the Young Democrats Club tomorrow, Thursday, after school in 318.  All are invited.

    The ice hockey program would like to announce the "Knights Pre-Season Training Camp" starting the first week in September, twice per week at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. The first session is next Tuesday, Sep. 3 beginning at 3:30. Check the ice hockey team page on the web site for all the dates and for more information.

    The Welcome Back Dance is next Friday, September 6. Admission is $5 per person, and the dance will run from 8:00pm – 11:00pm. If it’s not Neon, IT’S NOT ON.

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    The College Board's AP Program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated college-level achievement through AP courses and exams. Congratulations to the 128 Bishop O'Connell students who were named AP Scholars in the 2013 program:

    National AP Scholars - These students received an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

    Christian Bean
    Conor Chamness
    Taylor Chamness
    Michael Curtin
    Meagan David
    Mariam Gachechiladze
    Elaine Harrington
    John Varela
    Daniel Yonas
    Brad Zemke

    AP Scholars with Distinction – These students received an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

    Christine Aubry
    Madeline Banister
    Annmarie Baxter
    Peter Bean
    Maria Bernero
    John Brough
    Alexa Dantzler
    Sofia Dibenigno
    Andrew Duesterhaus
    Jessica Early
    Amanda Gatti
    Manuel Gauto
    Anna Glorioso
    Sofia Goyanaga-Calata
    Christopher Kilian
    Sebastian Kingston
    Emily Lodge
    Michael Luciani
    Alessandro Luna
    Austin Lynch
    Alison Nguyen
    Morgan Reuther
    Sara Rice
    Samuel Roewer
    Joseph Scully
    Ronald Singel
    Sophia Socarras
    Daniella Tatang
    Adriana Vargas
    Alexandra Veletsis
    Natalie Ward
    Zhuoxi Wei
    Henry Yockey
    Abey Yoseph

    AP Scholars With Honors - These students received an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

    Shadya Antezana
    Diane Arnos
    Sean Bailey
    John Bergin
    Sydney Boll
    Jacqueline Bouffard
    Katrina Eichner
    Katherine Horwath
    Caroline Keane
    Charlotte Law
    Jordan Mcdaneld
    Victoria Nguyen
    Devin Nihill
    Shea North
    Emma Price
    Claire Rapuano
    Maya Retterer
    Thomas Schefer
    Andrew Shaw
    Grace Taneyhill
    Jethro Torczon
    Christian Williams

    AP Scholars - These students received scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.

    Susana Allotey
    Catherine Arendt
    Abigail Austria
    Adriel Batallan Burrow
    Catherine Bergaust
    Shanna Bishop
    Michael Bolton
    Madison Carter
    Jan James Castro
    Sarah Ciampa
    Madison Cilluffo
    Rachel Coltharp
    Edwin Crooks
    Emily Cuello
    Elizabeth Dannenfelser
    Ashley Darang
    Kendal Davis
    Chistopher Dickman
    Caitlin Donegan
    Mary Donnelly
    Abby Dorch
    Helen Evans
    Shanna Ferrari
    Caroline Fletcher
    Theodore Gardenier
    Sanchita Gupta
    Mekonen Halefom
    Austin Hall
    Steven Harokopus
    Sean Hathaway
    Elizabeth Iekel
    Donghoon Joo
    Liam Kaylor
    Anna Keyes
    Kathleen Kinsella
    Clayton Koch
    Joseph Liverman
    Amelia Lucas
    Corinne Lucas
    Jessica Mix
    Rose Montgomery
    Rebecca Nardacci
    Ai-linh, Nguyen
    Kevin Olsen
    Nicholas Petrihos
    Jose Pommier
    Cristina Porto
    Alexandra Roberts
    Ryan Rojas
    Nathan Rom
    Colleen Schauf
    John Schilling
    Allison Sullivan
    Veronica Sullivan
    Kevin Thumim
    Tamika Tran
    Donald Tucker
    Enrico Angelo Villaroman
    Thomas Watson
    Alexis White
    Gabriella Wisniewski
    Soyun Won

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  • 08/29/13--06:45: Sept. 2-7, 2013
  • Mon - No School

    Tues - Anchor Schedule

    Wed - B1 Schedule

    Thu - B2 Schedule -  AM Block

    Fri - Anchor Schedule

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  • 08/29/13--09:05: Aug. 29, 2013
  • There will be an organizational meeting of the Guitar Club today at 3 pm in room 318.

    There will be a preliminary Philosophy Club Meeting for all previous members and anyone interested in joining after school today in Room 215.

    Yearbooks will be distributed this afternoon after school in Mrs. McDonald's room - Room 223. They will also be distributed Friday after school. If you did not purchase a yearbook, but would like to do so.... please bring cash or a check for $75 to Mrs. McDonald's Room. Remember –the book features 3D images – something you don’t want to miss!

    All students arriving to school before 7:20am should go directly to the cafeteria;

    students should not be in the hallways of the school prior to 7:20am unless they are meeting with a specific teacher.

    Medical Missionaries and the Interact Club will be selling wire locker shelves for $3 each in the cafeteria next Tuesday, Sept. 3, during lunch periods. The shelves sell for $8 at Staples and Office Max. If you need a shelf right away, a few are available in room 326.

    The ice hockey program would like to announce the "Knights Pre-season Training Camp" starting the first week in September and meeting twice per week at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. The first session is next Tuesday, Sept. 3 beginning at 3:30. Check the ice hockey team page on the web site for all the dates and for more information.

    The first bake sale and Smoothie King will be on Wednesday, September 4, during all lunch periods. Proceeds benefit O’Connell Knights Football! Bring money! These bake sales are famous! Speaking of football… how about the JV team last night? Congrats JV football for defeating PVI 13-7!

    Crew is the ultimate walk-on sport, everyone learns together, and there are no “team cuts.” Please join us for an informational meeting Wednesday, September 4, after school in room 140, and on Saturday, September 7 from 10:30am to 12:30pm at Thompson’s boat center, located at 2900 Thompson’s Avenue NW, Washington DC. Visit the crew team page for more information.

    Auditions for the fall musical drama Little Women: A Civil Christmas will be held Thursday and Friday, September 5 and 6, after school in the Auditorium. Actors, Singer, Artists, and Technical Crew are needed. See Ms. Milam or Drama Call Board for more information.

    There will be an organizational meeting of the Young Democrats Club today after school in 318.  All are invited.

    The Welcome Back Dance is next Friday, September 6th. Admission is $5 per person, and the dance will run from 8:00pm – 11:00pm. If it’s not Neon, IT’S NOT ON.

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