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Articles on this Page
- 12/22/17--11:45: _Sights and Sounds o...
- 01/04/18--18:27: _PTO Regional Commun...
- 01/05/18--16:18: _New IHM Convent Alt...
- 01/08/18--02:11: _SCHOOL CLOSED - Mon...
- 11/21/17--06:28: _A Thanksgiving Message
- 01/19/18--11:07: _What are we doing f...
- 01/26/18--11:04: _Building for the Fu...
- 02/02/18--13:18: _Catholic Schools Week
- 02/07/18--18:32: _Spotlight on Our Co...
- 02/08/18--05:28: _O'Connell Junior Wi...
- 02/09/18--13:06: _O'Connell Tradition...
- 02/14/18--12:53: _Spring Tryout Schedule
- 02/16/18--10:00: _A Reflection on the...
- 02/23/18--12:28: _Black History Month
- 03/01/18--08:00: _Summer Camp Schedule
- 03/05/18--12:25: _Ice Hockey Takes Ho...
- 03/07/18--12:22: _Students Share Supe...
- 03/09/18--12:42: _Preparations for Su...
- 03/13/18--11:35: _43rd Superdance - W...
- 03/14/18--12:05: _Bishop O'Connell Na...
- 12/22/17--11:45: Sights and Sounds of Christmas
- 01/04/18--18:27: PTO Regional Communities Take Off
- 01/05/18--16:18: New IHM Convent Altar Blessing
- 01/08/18--02:11: SCHOOL CLOSED - Monday, Jan. 8
- 11/21/17--06:28: A Thanksgiving Message
- 01/19/18--11:07: What are we doing for others?
- 01/26/18--11:04: Building for the Future
- Demolish the original convent and replace it with a three story building that features modern and flexible academic space on the two upper floors and a beautiful 180 seat chapel that emerges from the building to face Trinidad Street. The chapel--which is featured in an article published this week in the Arlington Catholic Herald--reflects inspiration that our architectural team took from studying Church architecture in Ireland, the birthplace of our namesake Denis J. O'Connell.
- Replace the breezeways connecting the main wing and Trinidad wings with a new atrium style main entrance that connects to a new glass enclosed main corridor that will provide a main indoor artery for the school on both the first and second floor. This part of the plan, which also includes the installation of an elevator, solves some current circulation challenges, creates more open collaboration space in the building, and sets the stage for the next parts of our renovation effort after 2020.
- Create a pedestrian plaza in the center area of the lawn along Little Falls Road. This plaza will serve as a gathering place for students before and after school in good weather and as a potential venue for alumni gatherings. It will also provide easy pedestrian passage to a main crosswalk leading to the new main entrance.
- Demolition of the original Convent this summer.
- Infrastructure preparation, pre-fabrication work, and work on the pedestrian plaza in the 2018-19 school year.
- Construction of the new main entrance and main corridor in the summer of 2019.
- Construction of the new building and chapel during the 2019-2020 school year and into the summer of 2020.
- 02/02/18--13:18: Catholic Schools Week
- 02/07/18--18:32: Spotlight on Our Counselors
- 02/08/18--05:28: O'Connell Junior Wins Arlington Decal Contest
- 02/09/18--13:06: O'Connell Tradition Brings Students Together
- 02/14/18--12:53: Spring Tryout Schedule
- 02/16/18--10:00: A Reflection on the Week
- 02/23/18--12:28: Black History Month
- 03/01/18--08:00: Summer Camp Schedule
- 03/05/18--12:25: Ice Hockey Takes Home the Crown
- 03/07/18--12:22: Students Share Superdance Story on WUSA9
- 03/09/18--12:42: Preparations for Superdance
- 03/13/18--11:35: 43rd Superdance - When You Wish Upon the Cure
- 03/14/18--12:05: Bishop O'Connell Named to the Catholic Education Honor Roll
Wishing all our families a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year...and sharing a few holiday treats from our students!
Enjoy some of the sights and sounds of the Advent Season at Bishop O'Connell, with music ("O Magnum Mysterium," by Ivo Antognini) performed by the O'Connell Singers:
In an effort to build up the larger school community, the Bishop O'Connell PTO has organized smaller "regional communities," focused on family fellowship, service and just plain fun!
The geographical regions are designated using the initials from the school's name: Bishop Denis J. O'Connell:
Region B - Arlington, McLean, Great Falls, Washington DC north of the Anacostia River and Montgomery County.
Region D - Alexandria, Fort Belvoir, Washington DC south of the Anacostia River, Prince George's County and Charles County.
Region J - Fairfax County south of I-66, Falls Church south, Prince William County and Stafford County.
Region O - Falls Church north (22043, 22046 zip codes), Fairfax County north of I-66 and south of Route 7, Loudoun County and beyond.
Serving the Homeless
Most recently, "Region J" families held a service project focused on feeding and serving the homeless in the local area. On Dec. 27, members of the community put together care packets and lunch bags ahead of time and then began the very cold day at Franklin Square Park in Washington, DC. They finished the day at the Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter to share the abundance of food they had collected and prepared.
Earlier in December, "Region D" families got together to ring in the holiday season with a cookie party in Old Town Alexandria and a viewing of the annual Holiday Boat Parade on the Potomac.
Coming Up Next
Families in "Region O" – Save the Date – On Sunday, Jan. 28 a service project is planned at the Virginian Continuing Care Retirement Community in Fairfax. Two hour volunteer slots will be available in the morning and afternoon, with the opportunity to gather for lunch as a community in between the two times.
Stay tuned for more regional community events, and feel free to contact the PTO (email@example.com) if you'd like to get involved. For more information on PTO activities, visit www.bishopoconnell.org/pto.
View photos from the Dec. 27 service event below or by CLICKING HERE. Out of courtesy and to preserve the dignity of our homeless brothers and sisters, their pictures are not included in the photos below from a wonderful day supporting Jesus.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL, JOSEPH VORBACH:
As we began the New Year this week, I had the privilege of being involved in something new and special at the IHM Sisters new convent. Bishop Burbidge dedicated the altar in the Sisters' new chapel during a special Mass. The process includes the anointing and incensing of the altar by the Bishop. Because the chapel is small, we were all very close and thus able to be very connected to what was transpiring.
The Bishop anointed the altar by making the sign of the cross with oil over the altar stone and then over each of the four corners of the altar. He then rubbed the oil over the altar to ensure the entire surface was covered. As a first time observer of a Catholic rite like this, I found myself reflecting on the importance of each step in the process. Ultimately, the dedication reflected the importance of the altar to our Faith.
It was a special moment for many reasons. Our Bishop--whose connection to the IHM Sisters goes back to his own days in grade school--spoke with great respect and admiration for the Sisters' devotion to their vocations. In their beautiful new convent, the IHM Sisters of Bishop O'Connell gathered around the altar of the most important room in their home. At the beginning of the New Year, a new chapel was dedicated and the moment was an opportunity to appreciate the contributions and sacrifices of hundreds of IHM Sisters who have served the Bishop O'Connell community over the past 60 years.
As we move forward in 2018, focused on the development of a beautiful new wing of our school at the site of the original convent, we look forward to the day when Bishop Burbidge will join us in the new chapel at our school, a beautiful sign of our Catholic identity emerging toward Trinidad Street, to dedicate the altar there.
Bishop O'Connell follows Fairfax County Public School weather-related closing and delays.
Due to forecasted weather conditions during the mid-day today, FCPS has announced that schools will be closed.
Bishop O'Connell will be closed today, Monday, Jan. 8.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL, JOSEPH VORBACH:
On Monday, our nation remembered Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose life, example and words had a transforming effect on the Civil Rights Movement. His legacy continues to inspire our collective efforts to "...hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." A quick search for inspirational words from Dr. King leads one to a sea of quotations at times very simple, but profound. One that caught my eye immediately was:
Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'
On Tuesday, the faculty and staff gathered in retreat at Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Vienna where Father Fred Edlefsen, the pastor at Saint Agnes in Arlington, offered a reflection on the concept of "accompaniment," drawing upon the words and actions of Pope Francis. He encouraged us to consider our role as an "accompanist" in our interactions with loved ones, friends, peers and students—defining an accompanist as someone who prays and listens attentively for the Holy Spirit's prompting to gently inspire the "right words" at the "right time" that may bring healing and new life to another.
Yesterday, it was my privilege to participate in an "in-school" field trip—a Founding Fathers Symposium—organized by our AP U.S. History teachers, Errika Durdle and Jim Shirey. Students prepared for this event by reading one of three biographies (David McCullough's John Adams, Jon Meacham's book on Jefferson "The Art of Power", and Ron Chernow's work on Alexander Hamilton). As part of the morning panel discussion, I was able to witness a thoughtful discussion on leadership qualities and accomplishments of these founding fathers, and a challenging discourse on the complexities of their legacies, particularly in the case of Jefferson regarding the question of slavery.
As I write this today, a large contingent of our students and faculty are participating in the Rally for Life at George Mason University followed by the annual March for Life in downtown Washington, D.C. They went forth today inspired by the words of Pope Francis who reminds us that "all life has inestimable value. Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God's creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect." This morning they heard our Bishop Burbidge reinforce that point when he said, "Each and every day, the unborn and unprotected are crying out for our help...How blessed and privileged we are today to go forth in His name." Our students are accompanied today, as they are every year, by a contingent of our faculty and staff whose witness is a powerful part of the experience.
Dr. King challenged us as a nation to look closely at ourselves in the mirror and ask questions about whether we were living up to our nation's ideals. When we think about the urgent question he posed, we can consider how we are doing when we are called upon to accompany others...either to help them through a struggle or to support and all of these experiences. The discussion with Father Edlefsen reminded us of our responsibilities when we are called to accompany another. The AP history panel highlighted for me the responsibility we bear as educators, particularly as we are helping students develop their critical thinking for confronting challenging issues. Today's March for Life draws us back to what our faith teaches us about the dignity of all human life and the blessing of living in a country where we are free to assemble peaceably to advocate for policies we believe in.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL, DR. JOSEPH VORBACH:
At back to school night last fall, I was excited to share some detail about the capital improvement plans we are pursuing. I shared then that our IHM Sisters were moving to a new Convent on Rochester Street, about a 1/4 mile from the school. This move took place in December and we are now in the process of preparing the original Convent for demolition this coming summer.
Last April, we began a capital campaign to raise critical funding for the exciting work we plan to accomplish by 2020. Specifically, with the at least $4 million we will raise, with support from the Diocese, and with financing, we will:
Since late April of 2017, nearly $1.8 million of the $4 million in cash and pledges has been raised and we are adding to that total every day because of the generous support of donors who have engaged during this leadership phase.
In the coming months and over the next two years, we plan to proceed as follows:
As we move forward, we will continue to keep you apprised of our progress. In the meantime, we ask for your continued prayerful support. This major capital campaign is a fundraising challenge over and above our Knight Fund efforts that help us keep an excellent Bishop O'Connell experience within the reach of as many families as possible who are seeking Catholic education for their high school students.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL, JOSEPH VORBACH:
Over the course of this Catholic Schools Week it was fun to both share and observe celebratory highlights from Catholic schools around the country through connections on social media (#CSW2018). If you follow me on Twitter (@j_vorbach) you may have seen that my personal highlight might have been taking our Chaplain, Father Thompson, to the Caps vs. Flyers hockey game on Wednesday. Snapshots like this from many others schools near and far were great reminders of all that is fun and special about Catholic education. We hope it was a fun week here for your students, too!
Tomorrow night we will continue the celebration of O'Connell's rich Catholic history and traditions with the 17th annual Gala and Auction. I hope to see some of you there!
This week is National School Counseling Week -- a time to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a college and career. This year's theme is "School Counselors: Helping Students Reach for the Stars."
At Bishop O'Connell we are grateful for the dedicated team of counselors who support our students and their families every day!
As we celebrate this special week, we encourage you to learn something new about our team from our Spotlight on Our Counselors page.
Congratulations to junior Schuyler Workmaster, whose artwork was chosen by popular vote as the winning entry in Arlington County's annual auto decal contest.
Workmaster was a finalist in the contest the previous two years, but her perseverance paid off this time.
"It's nice to see my efforts realized," she said. "I put a lot of work into my pieces and the recognition is appreciated. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people who have supported me."
Summer youth sports camp information is now posted!
There's a camp for everyone...from football, wrestling, soccer and baseball to basketball, ice hockey and lacrosse. There's even a multi-sports camp for kids of all ages!
Find out more at www.bishopoconnell.org/camps.
See you this summer!
It was an exciting night for players, coaches and fans alike at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, as the Bishop O'Connell High School ice hockey team came away with the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League (NVSHL) title for the first time since 2009.
The Knights finished the NVSHL league play with a 10-0 record before defeating Chantilly, 7-1, in the quarterfinals and shutting out Briar Woods, 4-0, in the semifinals. O'Connell faced perennial Northern Virginia powerhouse, Broad Run, in front of a spirited crowd in the championship game, as both teams were defending undefeated records in league play.
Bishop O'Connell scored first and never lost the lead. When the final horn sounded, the Knights were on top, 4-2. O'Connell goals were scored by Victor Musoke '20 (assist by Ben Gibbons '20), Jake Smith '19 (assists by Alex Vouras '20 and Victor Musoke), Ben Gibbons (assist by Alex Vouras) and Alex Vouras (unassisted). The Knights goalie, Jack MacKinnon '19, proved instrumental in net, stopping 28 of 30 shots that came his way.
"In the fall we defined our team goal and it was to win the state championship," said Head Coach Flip Collins. "As a coach the most rewarding part of coaching is helping these student-athletes set their goals and design a plan for them to achieve that goal. We did just that."
The Knights played one of the most demanding schedules in the Washington metropolitan area, competing not only in the NVSHL, but also in the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League (MAPHL), as well as the WCAC league, where they defeated Gonzaga in the semifinal tournament round before coming up short in the championship game against DeMatha. The team finished their season with the most wins ever, and a 21-10-2 record.
Congratulations to the following all-league honorees:
Jack MacKinnon - first team goalie in the NVSHL
Victor Musoke - first team honors in the NVSHL, the MAPHL and the WCAC
Alex Vouras -second team honors in the MAPHL and the WCAC
Bishop O'Connell wins NVSHL
NVSHL News, March 3, 2018
This morning a group of Bishop O'Connell students was featured on WUSA9, where they shared the story of Superdance—the 43-year school tradition of a student run 12-hour dance marathon focused on finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. Since the first dance in 1976, O'Connell students have rallied around this cause, raising more than $4.3 million for medical research.
O'Connell senior committee members were part of the studio audience during the Great Day Washington show, which airs from 9 to 10 a.m.
"We arrived at the studio in Northwest Washington around 8 a.m.," said senior Matt Ehlers. "The staff was so friendly and gave us a great tour of the sets before their show went on the air."
When it was time for their segment, one of the hosts of the show, Kristen Berset-Harris, joined the students in the stands to talk to them about this weekend's Superdance event.
"It was exciting to be there on behalf of all the O'Connell students, to share the joy and commitment that we all have for this very important cause," said senior Grace Cook.
"We are grateful for this opportunity, not only to share our story with the public, but also to shine a light on those who struggle with cystic fibrosis," said senior Adam Johnson. "Our goal is to no longer have to host the dance marathon in the future, as they are getting closer to finding a cure for this rare disease."
Find out more about Superdance at www.superdance.org.
For the 43rd time in 43 years, Bishop O'Connell students rallied around one specific cause –the hope of finding a cure for cystic fibrosis—through an epic 12-hour dance marathon, Superdance. The event was organized and run by a group of 90 student committee chairs who had earlier hosted a school-wide assembly to educate and motivate their peers for this big day.
On Saturday, Mar. 10, the O'Connell gym was once again filled with students who already knew more about this disease than most American teenagers. There was 12 hours of entertainment, from student, faculty and outside performers, bands and DJs. Students were well fed and hydrated, and the facilities were decorated with this year's theme "When You Wish Upon the Cure"—all thanks to the hard work of other student-organized committees. Campus Ministry provided two opportunities to attend Mass, as well, to pray for those families affected by cystic fibrosis.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, student members of the finance committee announced new totals raised. Senior Matt Ehlers, who chaired the finance committee, could not have been happier with this year's Superdance. "I spent the first half of the dance in the library, where our committee was watching as our total shattered the records of the past ten Superdances," he said. "Then being able to dance and celebrate with the great people who helped make this event possible was an experience I will never forget."
When the clock approaches midnight, it is a Superdance tradition to play Billy Joel's "Piano Man," and for the tired students to form a giant circle, where they sway arm in arm until the last note is played. This year was no different, and as exhausted as some of the students might have been, they lingered a bit longer, not wanting the night to end.
Donations to the cause are still coming in, and as of Tuesday morning, the total number had reached $157,000. "Our online donation system has helped make giving more convenient," said faculty moderator, Kathryn Haas. "We are continuing to see new donations coming in, even as we speak. This is a true credit to the passion and hard work of all of our students, who haven't stopped talking about Superdance yet!"
Head of School Joseph Vorbach added, "Our students brought unparalleled energy to this cause. They were energized by a sense that they were doing something big and meaningful together."
"When we talk about the blessing of working in Catholic schools, we recall events like the Superdance," he continued. "We are lifted up by the enthusiasm, idealism, and zeal to serve that our young people bring to such an effort."
To find out more about Superdance or to donate to the cause, visit www.superdance.org.
Bishop O'Connell High School was recognized this week by the Cardinal Newman Society as one of the 2018-2023 Catholic Education Honor Roll Schools. This is the second time that the school has earned this recognition, having been awarded the distinction in 2014. The national Honor Roll program has recognized over 300 high-performing Catholic high schools nationwide since the program's inception in 2004.
Bishop O'Connell engaged in a thorough internal and external review of its comprehensive program offerings before being awarded this status. It has received specific recognition for its strong integration of Catholic identity throughout its efforts, including the integrity of its mission, and the strength of its community and rich spiritual live. The Honor Roll also recognized the school's efforts at integral formation of the minds, bodies, and spirits of its students as well as its comprehensive academic program which seeks to instill a Christian vision of the world and human wisdom and culture.
"The Honor Roll is a helpful tool for families and benefactors in recognizing the quality of a Catholic high school," said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. "It is external validation that a school is both focused and successful in meeting the high calling of Catholic schools to serve the well-being and salvation of students and to serve the common good."
Dr. Denise Donohue, coordinator of the Honor Roll, stated, "We are very pleased to have Bishop O'Connell join in the nationally recognized ranks of excellence; this is a select group. The school has well demonstrated they are successful in meeting the key principles that guide Catholic education."
Bishop O'Connell's head of school, Dr. Joseph Vorbach remarked, "This Honor Roll recognition from the Cardinal Newman Society is a welcome affirmation of our daily commitment to our Catholic mission. We are blessed with an incredibly dedicated team at the school, and I am very pleased to see their efforts to help our students grow in Faith and knowledge endorsed in this way."
More information on the Catholic Education Honor Roll is available at cardinalnewmansociety.org.