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The latest news from Bishop O'Connell High School

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    Danny Campbell photo

    Congratulations to sophomore Danny Campbell who recently represented Team USA at the Junior and Cadet Pan American Fencing Championships in Havana, Cuba. Danny finished in 6th place for his event, Cadet (U17) Men's Epee, and was the top U.S. finisher. He lost in a very close and exciting bout to a young man from Cuba.

    Danny starting fencing when he was in third grade, inspired by something he saw on a television show. He now trains at the Fencing Sports Academy in Fairfax City and has competed at local, regional and national tournaments. Earlier this year he competed in the European Cup in Bratislava, Slovenia, where he finished in 44th place in an event with nearly 300 competitors.

    When he's not training or competing, Danny finds time to play the tenor saxophone in the O'Connell Jazz Band and still hit the books. He was named to the U.S. Fencing Association's All-Academic First Team.

    For now, Danny is focused on his training and looking at more national competitions in the years to come. He hopes to continue to fence in college and has starting looking at Division I schools that offer this opportunity.

    Top Photo - Danny Campbell wears his O'Connell gear with pride in Cuba.

    Photo below - Danny Campbell competes for Team USA at Ciudad Deportiva in Havana, Cuba.

    Danny Cambell - Cadet Epee in Cuba

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    Crew Shell Launch

    The Bishop O'Connell rowing team gathered at Thompson Boat Center in Georgetown on the last day of winter to launch their new shell, named in memory of former teammate and coxswain Kitt Rom '14, who passed away last year.

    A rainy morning gave way to blue skies as Head of School, Dr. Joseph Vorbach '83, welcomed guests to this celebration. In attendance were family and friends of Kitt Rom. O'Connell chaplain, Rev. Gregory Thompson, blessed the shell with a prayer:

    We call upon You to bless those who have prepared this ship for service,
    to protect and preserve those who sail in her,
    and to surround them with Your loving care.

    Kitt's mother, Lisa Meacham, showered the ceremonial champagne along the shell before the newly named vessel was lowered into the water and set out for a row on the Potomac River.

    The "Kitt Rom 2014" Resolute Racing shell was funded by Kitt's family and friends, and by current and former O'Connell rowers and their fundraising efforts.

    Find out more about the crew program...

    Kitt Rom 2014

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    The Bishop O'Connell Global Studies program welcomed Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh for an after-school discussion earlier this week.

    Dr. Fomunyoh is a senior associate for Africa and regional director at the National Democratic Institute for international Affairs (NDI), a Washington-based organization that works to support and strengthen democracy around the world. He shared his personal story with the Global Studies student, beginning with his childhood on a farm in Cameroon, and continuing with his education first in Cameroon and later at Harvard Law School and Boston University (Ph.D. in political science).

    Through his work with the NDI, Dr. Fomunyoh has organized international election observation missions to many African countries and has designed and supervised country-specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties and legislative bodies in over 20 countries. He also founded a non-profit philanthropic organization to support humanitarian causes in Cameroon.

    "Dr. Fomunyoh told us more about his work in Africa, promoting free and fair elections, establishing an environment for a free press and protecting human rights," said junior Zach Muleta.

    "He gave our students a real sense of how complex these efforts can be, given past history and experiences in different countries," remarked Whitney Webb, director of the Global Studies program.

    Find out more about the Global Studies Certificate Program at Bishop O'Connell...

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    Tomorrow is Superdance! For the 42nd year in a row, O'Connell students will pour their collective energies into the cause of fundraising for a cure to cystic fibrosis. I've already said a thing or two about the dance, its history and traditions, and the spirit of today's Knights who carry it forward with purpose. I hope those who have an opportunity will stop by to say hello and take in the experience. I ask everyone to pray first for those who live with cystic fibrosis and their families. I ask that you also pray for our students leading and participating in the dance.

    The pace of the school year will quicken in the wake of Superdance. Spring athletes will blink and their seasons will nearly be over. Students will return from Easter break and AP exams will be just around the corner. Seniors will begin to encounter the increasingly frequent reminders that graduation is approaching...Baccalaureate Breakfast, Prom, graduation rehearsal, etc. The (hoped for) arrival of sustained spring weather is a blessing of this time of year.

    Please consider offering prayers in the coming week for the roughly 20 students who will be going on a KAIROS retreat next weekend, along with the eight senior student leaders and seven faculty leaders who will run the retreat experience. The KAIROS retreat is a wonderful opportunity for students to strengthen their relationship with Christ, and having them as part of our campus ministry experiences has been a gift to the school community.

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    Caitlin Rogers

    Congratulations to O'Connell senior Caitlin Rogers, who was recently offered spots in two prestigious ballet company summer programs. She was invited to train in the "Supérieur Pro" cohort at the Paris Opera Ballet School summer intensive program, and was also accepted into the San Francisco Ballet's professional development program. These opportunities are a dream come true for Caitlin, who has been training for a professional career in ballet.

    Caitlin is not new to the international ballet world, having lived and trained at the Royal Ballet School in London for more than a year. She has also participated in intensive summer programs with Fabrice Herrault in New York City. She currently trains under Jacqueline Akhmedova at a studio in Silver Springs, Md., making this commute across the river every afternoon.

    When she's not dancing, Caitlin has a keen interest in the sciences, and also enjoys singing and playing the guitar. Locally she has performed in The Nutcracker on stage with the Washington Ballet Company, as well as for residents at local retirement communities.

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  • 03/29/17--09:01: Into the Woods - Apr. 7-9
  • Tickets are on sale now for the O'Connell Players spring musical production of "Into the Woods."


    Friday, Apr. 7 at 7 p.m.
    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 7 p.m.
    Sunday, Apr. 9 at 2 p.m.

    As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch, a baker and his wife are childless. Three days before the rise of a blue moon, they venture into the forest to find the ingredients that will reverse the spell and restore the witch's beauty: a milk-white cow, hair as yellow as corn, a blood-red cape, and a slipper of gold. During their journey, they meet Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack, each one on a quest to fulfill a wish. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests.


    General admission - $10
    Students and seniors - $5
    NEW - Limited premium seating available (front 2 rows center section) - $20

    Reserve your tickets online or call the box office at 703-237-1448.

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    Alumni Baseball handshake

    On a breezy April Saturday before an O'Connell home baseball game, members of the 1963-1965 Knights baseball teams returned to their Bishop O'Connell field to be honored in a pre-game celebration. Between April 9, 1963 and May 3, 1965, these teams earned three Catholic conference championships while racking up a 42-game winning streak.

    In attendance for this event were Bart Steib '63, Clarke Campbell '64, Tom Conaty '64, Greg Gibadlo '64, Michael Herrick '64, Charles Jackson '64, Dave Kirchgessner '64, Philip Thomas '64, Ron Gilbert '65, Chuck Hines '65, John Hickey '65, Joe Kirchner '65, Michael Lubeley '65, Mike Martz '65, Timothy McPherson '65, Richard Kramer '66, Patrick Noble '66, and family members of the late Bobby Becker '63 and Pat Laing '65. This group was joined by Brother Daniel Coleman (principal of the boys' division during this time), as well as family members of the late Al Burch who coached these teams. The teams' former faculty moderator, Leonard Lubbehusen, joined the ceremony by phone.

    Before the start of the game, the 2017 edition of the Knights baseball team stood in line patiently to shake the hands of these storied alumni, and in return—one by one—they earned words of encouragement to go out and win one more for O'Connell. Led by Brother Coleman, the team prayed together in the tradition of the Christian Brothers: "Live, Jesus, in our hearts! Forever!"

    Inspired by these O'Connell baseball legacies on that chilly afternoon in April, the Knights went on to defeat conference rival, St. Mary's Ryken, 10-0.

    Alumni Baseball

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    Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be out to dinner in a group that included two Bishop O'Connell alumni who recently got married to each other. They are happy newlyweds and it was fun to hear them share some stories from their time together at O'Connell.

    Just two days later, I attended the funeral of the mother of an O'Connell student -- someone I did not know well but who was well known to me because her reputation as a doer, organizer and good friend to others in the community was so well appreciated. The presiding priest at the Mass of Christian Burial, Father Lee Roos, knew the deceased well and knows the O'Connell community well too. He spoke to all who were mourning that day, including the many O'Connell students and parents there to support their friends, with a beautiful homily. He noted that moments like this funeral were occasions for "deep and anguished Faith" and reminded us that the Lord will "know the weight of our grief and bear us up." He also encouraged us to see "that this divine helplessness is really divine strength." It was what I told someone later a "beautifully sad" funeral that concluded as all Catholic funerals do with the Song of Farewell which begins "May holy angels lead you forth to paradise" and ends "May you know rest and peace with God forever more."

    A day or so after the funeral, I found myself thinking about the newlyweds and the funeral and the blessing of family and friends in the happiest and saddest moments. O'Connell history is woven into so many beginnings and endings. The many dozens of wakes I have attended over the past nine years are so frequently occasions for reminiscing about the times at O'Connell when lifelong friends were made. These are the friends who are "the face of God" providing support some years later when there is loss.

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    I hope you will be able to attend the play this weekend. Ms. Zimmerman and the O'Connell Players take on the challenging music of Stephen Sondheim in "Into the Woods" tonight and tomorrow at 7 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. The students involved in the production are very excited to share this unique performance with you. It is an understatement to say that they have poured their collective energies into this effort. Over the past week or so, I have been asked a number of time if I am coming to the play--I am :)

    Yesterday, with students from St. James and St. Mark schools taking in the dress rehearsal and our actors in full costume, the energy was especially high. It takes more than a bit of courage, to go along with talent and confidence, to undertake a role in a live production and I have great respect for all the students involved in this production. I hope you can make the show.

    The prologue to "Into the Woods" provides a segue into another upcoming opportunity to marvel at the talent of our students. The lyrics to the prologue include the line "I wish to go the festival..." Well, we have a Festival of the Arts coming up after the Easter break that I strongly encourage you to put on your calendars as well. On Saturday, April 29 from 6-9 PM, the gymnasium will be transformed into a display venue for student studio art and there will be live performances in the gym, courtyard and auditorium. I hope you can make this event too!

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  • 04/11/17--12:18: Photos from Into the Woods
  • The O'Connell Players brought Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" to the Bishop O'Connell stage over the weekend...and what a beautiful stage it was!

    Congratulations to the extraordinary actors, musicians, artists, crew members and advisers who were involved in this elaborate production.

    From the Director's Notes (Ms. Sara Zimmerman):

    We open with a wish. We close with a wish. A wish that symbolizes the human desire of always wanting more. Life is full of goals, dreams and wishes; the important thing to remember when reaching for your dreams is not to lose sight of what you have. Reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground. Stay humble. Be kind. Have Faith. And never forget where you came from.

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  • 04/11/17--06:00: Knight Life Steppers
  • Congratulations to the Bishop O'Connell "Knight Life Steppers" who competed last weekend in Annapolis, Md. as a part of the Omega Psi Phi (Theta Mu Mu Chapter) "Who's the Best in the DMV" event. In just their second year, the O'Connell group was recognized as the Most Improved, earning Honorable Mention.

    Religion teacher, Mr. David Owens, and art teacher, Mr. Trent Jones. are the moderators for the steppers. "We bring in a choreographer to work with this group," said Mr. Owens. "They've grown from only five members last year, to ten this year. Anyone is invited to join in."

    The Knight Life Steppers previewed their competition routine in front of an enthusiastic student body at the spring pep rally earlier this year. The group hopes to continue to grow in membership and find more opportunities to perform and compete.

    Go Knights!

    Photo (top) - Front row (l to r): Audrey Somerville, Elia Banza, Saileen Woods and Simone Edmondson. Back row (l to r): Italia Brown, Lacy Jones and Haley Breaux. Not pictured: Justice Smith, Seylon Edmondson and Jada Fields.

    Photo (below) - The Knight Life Steppers perform at the spring pep rally.

    Steppers - pep rally

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  • 04/12/17--11:35: Holy Week Thoughts

    Happy Easter everyone. Our Faith, the foundation of our school mission, is rooted in the miracle of Christ's birth and the redemption made possible by His death and resurrection. The joy of the resurrection can be a source of inspiration for all of us as we work to be like Christ for others.

    I hope you were able to see the performance of Into the Woods last weekend. It was a remarkable effort by an exceptionally talented group. On Sunday, I chose to watch the second act from the balcony and this was an opportunity to see the tech crew in action, never missing a beat as they skillfully handled lighting and sound and special effects. The O'Connell Players have gotten a lot of well deserved kudos from within and outside the community for their wonderful performances. (See photos from this weekend's performances and read a recently published review.)

    There are two great opportunities to be part of the O'Connell community on Saturday, April 29. You can start the day with our second annual 5K and Fun Run at the school and then join us later in the day for the Festival of the Arts, which I mentioned briefly last week. The Festival theme is "women" and many of the student works are inspired by the strength and courage of women.

    Safe journeys to all who are traveling over the holiday. Happy Easter!

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  • 04/19/17--06:39: O'Connell's 5K and Fun Run

  • Have you signed up for O'Connell's 5K and Fun Run?

    The race is right around the corner - Saturday, April 29. Race begins at 9 a.m. and the Fun Run starts at 9:15 a.m.

    Start/finish line at O'Connell. Run or walk a beautiful, professionally mapped 3.1 mile course through the local neighborhoods (VIEW the 5K race course).

    Professionally timed for the avid racer.

    Special pricing available with our four pack of registrations.

    Strollers allowed.

    Food trucks, bounce house and fun for the whole family.

    The school/parish/sports team with the most participants will receive special recognition (you'll be prompted to ID your group during the registration process).

    All fun run participants will receive a special O'Connell medal.

    Questions? Contact Laura Friel at or call 703-237-1446.

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  • 04/24/17--10:24: Players Win Championships

    Featuring guest columnist, Athletic Director Joe Wootten.

    Some of the more popular blogs through the years have been Q&A sit-downs with our coaches. That noted, this week's The Week That Was continues that recent trend as guest columnist Joe Wootten enjoys a Q&A session with softball head coach Tommy Orndorff.

    As has come to be expected, the softball team is off to another tremendous start this spring – sporting an unblemished 16-0 record overall going into the Easter break and, in doing so, is ranked Top 10 nationally in two separate polls: USA Today Sports/NFCA High School Super 25 Poll (4th) and MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings (7th).

    THE WEEK THAT WAS: When you think of O'Connell softball, you think of sustained excellence. What is your secret to success?

    COACH ORNDORFF: From my perspective, it's plain and simple: good players. We have been very fortunate to attract some outstanding players to O'Connell through the years. Truly outstanding players for that matter, and, perhaps even more importantly, some outstanding young ladies who just do the right thing – both on the playing field and in their daily lives. In that respect, we have been blessed.

    TWTW: Who are the key players on this year's team?

    COACH ORNDORFF: The key word there is team. It sounds like a cliche, I suppose. But, it's true... especially with this year's team. In some way, shape or form, all of 'em are keys to the success that we have enjoyed so far. Everyone has a role and, in my view, they are fulfilling those roles to the max. That's why we are who we are!

    Talent-wise, Kathryn Sandercock (pictured right) is a special player. As good as it gets in many respects. She's a natural! So, so athletic... so, so fluid in her movements, whether it be her delivery from the mound, her approach in the batter's box or her base running. Just a natural! Love to watch her play. She truly is as good as it gets, and she's only going to get better. I really believe that. She has been dominating this spring, especially in the pitcher's circle – surrendering just one run while averaging better than two strikeouts per inning. At the plate, make a mistake, and she will hurt you! She's just a very special player. As coaches like to say, she's 'the real deal.' Her totals through the Easter break are unreal: 16-0 record with a 0.14 earned run average and 206 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched. And that's just in the circle. Offensively, she is hitting .448 and is leading the team in runs batted in (33), doubles (7), triples (5) and home runs (5). She truly is a special player.

    Right behind her is Patty Maye Ohanian, (pictured bottom) who is just now coming into her own again. Patty Maye had a career year her sophomore season. I'm talking a career year. The past couple of weeks, she's looking like she did in 2015 again. When she's got it going, there is not a better hitter in the DMV – and it appears she's getting her swing back again. If so, look out! It's just a matter of rhythm and timing right now. She's currently hitting .519, an average which has probably gone up over 100 points the past two weeks.

    And a close third is middle infielder Caitlin Jorae. "C.J." (pictured right) is as good as it gets when she steps into the batter's box. Her technique and mechanics in the swing are exactly what the best coaches in the world teach. She's oh-so-perfect in so many respects when it comes to hitting a softball. If you want a clinic in hitting, check out C.J. She too is as good as it gets in that aspect of the game as her .407 batting average and .609 on base percentage attest. The Lil One can play!

    That trio is obvious, since each of 'em earned All-Met recognition a year ago.

    But, the player that I have found myself turning to the most at the end of last year and again this spring is Leah Hammes (pictured left). Like Kathryn, she is a naturally-gifted athlete who possesses outstanding skills and ability. Her speed and base-running are DI level assets as she capitalizes on 'em in putting pressure on opposing defenses. But, it is her leadership and will to win that make her the dynamic player that she truly is. Defensively, there's not a better third baseman in the DMV than Leah. In all aspects of the game, she is quite simply "a stud." She's hitting .438 with an on base percentage of .590. When I need something done on the field of play, it's Leah that I summon. She just gets it done! Love her game!

    Like Patty Maye, it appears Kayla Turner (pictured below) is finding her stroke of late – and that's a good sign for us. When she's on her game, she's clutch! Elizabeth Hoeymans is having her finest year yet, hitting a team-high .545 and continuing to dazzle with her defensive play at second base. Lyndsay Flippin and "J.J." (Julia Jones) have been pleasant surprises at the bottom of the order as their offensive games evolve.

    But, it's newcomer Meadow Sacadura whose game has really cemented the deal for this year's 2017 edition. Defensively, Meadow is outstanding – handling and calling the game for her pitcher. Having watched her in summer ball, I probably expected as much of her behind the plate. You have a top-of-the-line pitcher, you better have a top-of-the-line catcher – and we have that in Meadow. To her credit, she has also come up big in the batter's box – and that has been a tremendous plus for the team.

    I truly believe what separates us from others in the area is the fact that, year-to-year, we have no outs in the lineup. No truly weak spots in the lineup one through nine. And that's highly unusual at the scholastic level. For that matter, any level.

    Coming off the bench, Sophia Rzonca, a very versatile talent, fills in where we need her game-to-game, while Kiaris Alvarado-Rojas, Madelynn Bates and Angela Cottini provide big bats to go to in the pinch. Skye Ferris is our go-to for speed on the bases, with Cora Wack and Mary Catherine Hurley offering strong leadership traits along with capable back-up abilities in reserve for the outfield. Amanda Saffelle, along with Leah, are my go-to girls when I need something done or taken care of. They are my leaders. I look to either/or for almost any and everything. Amanda is our fourth outfielder and also serves as a fill-in starter on occasion.

    TWTW: What areas of growth does this team need in order to be a championship level team?

    COACH ORNDORFF: Our challenge is probably to continue to play at the level that we are playing. We truly are playing some awfully good softball right now. Coming off the Easter break promises to be a challenge. Other than that, I really like what I am seeing. If we can maintain our drive and determination, I think that we are in for a very special season when all is said and done. That's the challenge that lies in the weeks ahead. How bad do we want it? Can we maintain that drive and determination, that hunger that has gotten us this far? That's the challenge!

    TWTW: The McLean win was a nail biter. Does having a close win early in the season help the team moving forward? What were the key plays in that game?

    COACH ORNDORFF: Yes, definitely! Especially playing at McLean! That game brings out the best in both teams. It's a championship atmosphere in many aspects, and it prepares us for those type games down the road – especially come playoff time. It's a win-win situation for both programs.

    Key plays? Certainly Kathryn's pitching and getting out of a two-on, one-out situation in the second inning. Then, as I alluded to earlier, Leah Hammes turning a single into two bases with her aggressive, heads-up base running. Then, moments later, scoring on Patty Maye Ohanian's (pictured left) base hit to left field. Her speed, savvy and sliding skills produced the game's one and only run. Leah is a big-time talent, DI level player! I have no doubts in that boast.

    TWTW: Talk about last year's 19-inning championship game. So many moments and great plays! None bigger than a catch as the outfielder barreled into the fence to save a possible game-winning home run. Was that the greatest game you have been a part of in your storied coaching career?

    COACH ORNDORFF: Wow, tough question! To be sure, it ranks right up there. But, to say the greatest, not sure. We have won a lot of games and championships here at O'Connell through the years, and all of 'em have special meaning in one way or another. I really don't want to take away from what others have done in the past. But, certainly, it ranks right up there. Pretty amazing game!

    TWTW: You have coached over a span of six decades, an amazing feat unto itself. What changes have you seen in the game and the kids?

    COACH ORNDORFF: Good question! I suppose that I could write a book on it, decrying today's culture and how it has hurt the game. Some days, I feel that.

    But, all in all, I would have to say that there are more better athletes playing in today's game as opposed to 30, 40 years ago. Title IX has paved the way, and the opportunities out there today for girls are unbelievable. Back in the day, those opportunities did not exist for the female athlete. Thankfully, through Title IX, that has all changed.

    And, from my standpoint, whether it be with the Shamrocks or O'Connell softball, I have been fortunate to deal with the best of the best. The athletes that I have attracted to both those programs through the years have a love of the game and passion to play that matches only my own. They take pride in all that has gone on before and want to be a part of that tradition...a tradition of excellence. Our goal every day is to be the best that we can be. That is and has been the one constant in our program. It is who we are!

    That noted, today's Kathryn Sandercocks are yesterday's Nataly Prices, today's Patty Maye Ohanians are yesterday's Erin Marrones, today's Leah Hammes are yesterday's Tanya Spishaks, and so on, and so on.

    So now, I ask myself, has it really changed? Truth be told, I don't think so.

    The program itself has attracted great players, and, in turn, awesome young ladies. It has always been my belief that if "you build a program, they will come" – and they have! Our program always has been, and always will be, about our players. Players win championships!

    That was The Week That Was, and this is guest columnist Joe Wootten.

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    "Behold, I make all things new." Revelation 21:5

    From His throne in heaven to the depths of your heart, these words of Jesus are an invitation for you to receive the new life that He alone can give. He is longing to elevate your life above the things of this world – to help you overcome fear, anxiety, confusion and doubt. He wants to break the things that hold you down and give you freedom from sin. He is calling you to follow Him and enter into a transforming experience with His love, grace, and mercy! He can make you new!

    This summer, join over 50,000 other Catholic teens at one of our 25 youth conferences and experience the joy of following Christ and being elevated by His love.

    Join your fellow O'Connell classmates at Steubenville this summer! Only 11 spots are available, so please let Father Thompson know ASAP of your interest and for more information.

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    Gatlinburg - photos

    Over the Easter break, the Bishop O'Connell High School music program headed to Gatlinburg, Tenn. to participate in the Smoky Mountain Music Festival. In addition to rehearsals and performances, the group was able to take in a few area attractions, including a dinner theater and a trip to Dollywood amusement park. The music festival brought high school ensembles from a variety of states to perform in front of an adjudication panel composed of university music directors and music professional.

    Awards -In the choral competition, the O'Connell Singers select women's ensemble received first place and a rating of superior. The concert choir earned a second place with a rating of excellent. For the instrumental competition, O'Connell's jazz band and the combined symphonic/concert band received first place, and the string orchestra was awarded a second place. All three ensembles earned a rating of excellent.

    Special recognition was given to Bradan McBurney '17 and Jaime Jarauta-Gastelu '20 for their violin solos with the string orchestra, to Ava Coffin '18 for her vocal solo with the jazz band, to Domenic Allegra '17 for his band solo on flugelhorn, and to Mark Brown '20 for his piano accompaniment of the concert choir.

    "Our students gave stellar performances and the O'Connell music program is thrilled to have had this opportunity," said Choral Director Peter Kadeli. "We are grateful to our wonderful chaperones and fine arts boosters who continue to support our programs and who made this trip possible."

    Helping Others - In anticipation of this trip, the O'Connell group took the opportunity to raise funds to assist victims of the November 2016 wildfires in the area that resulted in several deaths and the loss of thousands of homes. Spearheaded by Ava Coffin '18, the students raised more than $1,700, which they presented to Rev. Anthony Punnackal, the pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Gatlinburg, which is still assisting 19 families who lost everything in the fires.

    check presentation photo

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    Festival photos

    Festival of the Arts
    Join us on Saturday, April 29, 2017
    6-9 p.m.

    Each year, the school celebrates the arts with an evening of music, dancing, drama and visual arts on display. The gym is transformed into an art gallery; the main stage features individual and group dance, drama and musical performances. In the courtyard becomes a magical "coffee house" showcasing acoustic performances and poetry readings.

    Tickets are available at the door:

    Students - $5 (first 25 admitted without charge)
    Adults - $5
    Families - $15

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  • 04/28/17--10:56: Medal of Honor Winner Visits
  • Col. Barnum photo


    Over the course of any given year, Bishop O'Connell students are blessed by unique opportunities to engage with government officials, foreign diplomats, research scientists, military leaders and other experts from across a range of disciplines (you can view our Global Studies Certificate Program webpage for some sense of the scope of these opportunities).

    Thanks to our alumni and parents networks and our unique location outside Washington, these moments are fairly frequent and we always try to make the most of them. Earlier this week, students in Ms. McNulty's American Government course were beneficiaries of a particularly special and unique opportunity -- the chance to learn from and be inspired by a national hero, one of only 75 living Congressional Medal of Honor winners.

    Colonel Harvey Barnum, U.S. Marine Corps (retired) earned the Medal of Honor for his gallant initiative and heroic conduct in Quang Tin Province, Vietnam in December of 1965. He began his day at Bishop O'Connell by leading the school in the pledge of allegiance and then was with Ms. McNulty's classes throughout the rest of the day, sharing his story, getting the students thinking about duty and leadership, and encouraging them to aspire to be a person with whom others are proud to be associated.

    This was an especially unique learning opportunity for these learn about the Medal of Honor, the kind of heroism that it rewards, and to challenge all students to think about how none of us ever really knows when we are going to be called upon to rise above adversity to serve the immediate needs of others.

    Knowing what I now know about Col. Barnum, it is no surprise that the United States is honoring his service and example by naming an Arleigh Burke class naval destroyer after him. The USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr (DDG 124) is expected to enter service in 2024.

    More on Colonel Barnum:

    A few weekend reminders:

    We'll run our second annual 5k and Fun Run tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and the Festival of the Arts begins at 6 p.m. I hope to see you this weekend!

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    Alumni Baseball handshake

    On a breezy April Saturday before an O'Connell home baseball game, members of the 1963-1965 Knights baseball teams returned to their Bishop O'Connell field to be honored in a pre-game celebration. Between April 9, 1963 and May 3, 1965, these teams earned three Catholic conference championships while racking up a 42-game winning streak.

    In attendance for this event were Bart Steib '63, Clarke Campbell '64, Tom Conaty '64, Greg Gibadlo '64, Michael Herrick '64, Charles Jackson '64, Dave Kirchgessner '64, Philip Thomas '64, Ron Gilbert '65, Chuck Hines '65, John Hickey '65, Joe Kirchner '65, Michael Lubeley '65, Mike Martz '65, Timothy McPherson '65, Richard Kramer '66, Patrick Noble '66, and family members of the late Bobby Becker '63 and Pat Laing '65. This group was joined by Brother Daniel Coleman (principal of the boys' division during this time), as well as family members of the late Al Burch who coached these teams. The teams' former faculty moderator, Leonard Lubbehusen, joined the ceremony by phone.

    Before the start of the game, the 2017 edition of the Knights baseball team stood in line patiently to shake the hands of these storied alumni, and in return—one by one—they earned words of encouragement to go out and win one more for O'Connell. Led by Brother Coleman, the team prayed together in the tradition of the Christian Brothers: "Live, Jesus, in our hearts! Forever!"

    Inspired by these O'Connell baseball legacies on that chilly afternoon in April, the Knights went on to defeat conference rival, St. Mary's Ryken, 10-0.

    Alumni Baseball

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    with guest blogger, athletic trainer Alicia Doran

    While Coach Orndorff is busy with post-season softball, athletic trainer Alicia Doran has stepped in this week to share her insights on the 2017 Track & Field team. She recently had the chance to chat with Coach Jim Connor and Coach Bam Ewings and hear more about the program:

    TWTW: As track tends to be a "no cut" sport, what are some guidelines for participation?

    "We do not require a certain level of performance to be on the team. But we do want the athletes on the team to come to practice every day and, unless they are injured, to complete the workout. It doesn't matter to us if a runner doesn't have a lot of natural speed; we are happy if the runner is working hard and completing the workout. We find that many times athletes are not very successful when they start working with the team, but they get much better if they come to practice and do the workouts. Track is a sport in which it often takes athletes months or years to reach their full potential. We want to work with each athlete to help them improve; when they improve, our team improves."

    TWTW: Many people think track is just an individual sport, but a lot of success has to do with winning as a team. Could you explain how individual races are important for the team's sake?

    "Track is a sport involving shared struggles and shared goals. For example, a nucleus of shot putters can train together every day and help each other improve. Working together as a group is far more effective than working separately as individuals. Once athletes are used to working together, they support each other, they cheer for each other, and they help each other improve. This is what makes our team strong."

    TWTW: How is this season going compared to previous track seasons? Are we improving as a whole?

    "Our season has been relatively successful so far. We have had several excellent performances by athletes such as Cheyenne Plummer, Isabell Baltimore, Serena Davis, and Max Greczyn. On the other hand, in certain events we don't have any athletes. We have no boy high jumpers, and only one girl shot putter/discuss thrower. We do not have the depth in certain events that we have had in some prior years. Despite having events where we don't score many points, we have been successful as a team. We were the best team of the 20+ teams at the Potomac School Invitational. The boys team won both of our quad meets. The girls team won the Arlington County Championships, and the boys/girls teams combined score was 38 points ahead of the second place team at this meet. In summary, we have had a good year, and we look forward to concluding the year with success in the Catholic State Championships and the WCAC Championships."

    TWTW: Tell us about some of your top performers -- in distance, sprinters, and field (what year are they and what makes them special).

    "Senior Cheyenne Plummer has been dominant in the 100, 200, and on the 4x100 relay. She won all of these events at the Arlington County Championships. Senior Isabell Baltimore, the DJO school record holder in the 400 (58:20), has already run a 59 second 400 this year, and has several more opportunities to better her times in the 400 and 800. Junior Serena Davis has performed well in the long jump and the triple jump. Sprinters Devin Morrow (sophomore), To'ren Pride (senior - pictured above), and Avery Everhart (senior) have shown a lot of speed in the 100 and 200. Avery has run a 52 second 400. Senior Ethan Torres (pictured left) has run very well in the 110 hurdles, and has greatly improved in the 400 (he ran under 52 seconds on the 4 x 400 relay at the quad meet at John Paul the Great). The girls 4 x 100 relay (Cheyenne Plummer, Brianna Somers, Caroline Sullivan, and Isabell Baltimore) has been dominant every time they have raced. In the distance races, newcomer Max Greczyn ran a 4:33.84 1600 at the West Springfield meet, an exceptional time for a runner in his first year of competition. Matt Tillson has shown great improvement in the 800."

    TWTW: Are there any athletes that are new to track that you are pleasantly surprised with?

    "Max Greczyn (pictured #6 right) has performed very well in the 1600 and 800. He showed his versatility on April 28 when, in his first 5K race ever, he was the overall winner in the O'Connell 5K. Freshman girls Kendall McBride and Gianna Mitchell have had very strong performances in the 1600, the 800, and the 400."

    TWTW: What are your goals as you prepare for the post-season?

    "At the beginning of the year, our goals were to do well in the three championship meets-- the Arlington County Championships, the Catholic State Championships, and the WCAC. We have been pointing toward these goals all season. As addressed above, we won the girls meet and the overall team meet at the Arlington County Championships. The Catholic State Championships are at O'Connell on May 13, and the WCACs are at Good Counsel on May 19-20. We are looking forward to strong performances in those meets."

    This is Alicia Doran, and this is The Week That Was.

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