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The latest news from Bishop O'Connell High School
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    NVSHL champions

    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


    Video Highlights from the NVSHL Championship Game

    After the lights go out, O'Connell flips a switch and wins NVSHL title
    Washington Post, March 2, 2018

    Bishop O'Connell wins NVSHL
    NVSHL News, March 3, 2018

    Visit the O'Connell ice hockey team page HERE.

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    Superdance at WUSA9

    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."

    View the Great Day Washington Superdance segment HERE.

    Find out more about Superdance at

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  • 03/09/18--12:42: Preparations for Superdance

    Today there is a heightened energy in the building. The last minute preparations for Superdance 43 are being tended, a rush of final registrations have been processed, and students are ensuring that all of us on faculty and staff have plenty of opportunities to sponsor Superdancers! A month ago, our community gathered for the Superdance Assembly, a chance to be reminded of the history and purpose of Superdance and to hear the personal stories of those who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis. That assembly was a call to arms, and tomorrow is the moment for our student body to do what Bishop Burbidge encouraged them to do during his homily yesterday -- "be all in." They are excited and they are ready. They have been led well by the SCA leaders in the senior class and they have our support and the support of the wider O'Connell community. I salute them and their efforts and I thank everyone who has encouraged and supported them, especially over the past month.

    We count Bishop Burbidge among those supporters as he offered his prayers yesterday for the success of Superdance during his pastoral visit. The Bishop began his day learning more about a unique micro satellite project students are involved in that will culminate in a launch into space next fall. He then celebrated Mass for the community with Father Thompson before joining the student leadership of the Superdance project for an in depth briefing about tomorrow's dance. The Bishop had lunch with our school counseling team and then heard from student participants and faculty facilitators of our retreat programs. He spent the last part of his day with our Fine Arts students, greeting student studio artists in a "pop-up" gallery in the auditorium lobby before taking in a stage presentation in the auditorium that included choral, instrumental and theatrical performances. It is a special opportunity to share the many talents of our students with our Bishop and to see the students respond to his interest so enthusiastically and gratefully.

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    Superdance CommitteesFor 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

    Photos Highlights

    Video Highlights

    See more photos from the Arlington Catholic Herald.

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    Cardinal Newman Society AwardBishop 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."



    Catholic Identity Not by Accident - Sep. 1, 2017

     More information on the Catholic Education Honor Roll is available at


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    We were excited to be able to announce this week that Bishop O'Connell High School has been recognized as a Cardinal Newman Society Catholic Education Honor Roll School.  For the second time, the Society has commended our school for being distinguished in the areas of Catholic identity and academic excellence! You can read more about this honor here...

    On Wednesday, like many schools across the country, we paused to remember the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting on the one month anniversary of that tragedy.  I was able to be with a group of students who gathered around the Holy Family statue in the front of the school to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet while others were part of a moving memorial to the victims on the football field.  Father Thompson also offered a memorial Mass in the Chapel that students and faculty attended.  I was proud of the student leadership who prayerfully shaped our school's response to this nationwide memorial.  You can read about the events from our own students... 

    Last night we welcomed the new members of the O'Connell class of 2022 and their families at our annual registration night, which we call our "First Knight." It is always exciting to see the faces of the young men and women who will make up the next class to enter the school...and to watch them begin to get to know each other. The arrival of every new student reminds us that we at Bishop O'Connell have an incredible opportunity and responsibility to help these young persons grow in Faith and knowledge during an important and formative period in their lives.

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  • 03/23/18--13:24: Remembering Father Pilon

    Last evening, I went to the wake of Father Mark Pilon, a priest of our Diocese who passed away this week after a difficult battle with cancer over the past few years.  I did not know Father Pilon well, but he was the Chaplain at O'Connell for part of my time as a student here in the early 1980s.  I remember him as a wise and serious-minded man.  Since my time returning to O'Connell, I learned from Father's friends in our community about his scholarship as a theologian and his work as a professor in the Seminary -- he taught our Chaplain, Father Thompson at Mount St. Mary's. Most recently, Father Pilon has been in residence at Christendom College in Front Royal.  The Arlington Catholic Herald headlined the ten years Father served as Pastor at St Ambrose parish. 

    Priests are called to be spiritual fathers to their parishioners and it is in that sense that their families are the parishioners (and students) they serve in their various assignments.  When they are called home to be with the Lord, as we all are at some point, the family that remembers them and prays for them is made up of people from the various assignments they have had over the course of their vocation.  This was certainly true last evening as families continued to arrive in a steady stream to pay their respects and to pray for Father.

    Obviously, we mourn whenever someone close to us passes from this life.  In calling attention to Father Pilon's passing, I wanted to bring to mind the special vocations of the priests and religious in our lives and highlight the importance of praying for them -- that we not take their service in our lives for granted.

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    New Orleans Music Festival AwardsCongratulations to the Bishop O'Connell music program who earned the top award at the Worldstrides New Orleans Heritage Festival music competition over the weekend.

    Their journey began on March 22, when 76 O'Connell students, 22 adult chaperones and one school chaplain headed to New Orleans. First on their jam-packed agenda was a lesson in Cajun cooking and the rich history of New Orleans. Friday morning students enjoyed beignets and coffee at the famous Cafe Du Monde followed by a private performance at Preservation Hall featuring some of the best Jazz music around. As a special treat, several members of the O'Connell contingent were able to join the Preservation Hall Jazz Band onstage. Ava Coffin sang "All of Me" and Audrey Somerville sang "At Last."  Band director, Mr. Ron Isaacson, also sat in on Trombone, playing "In a Mellow Tone" and 'jamming' on "Eb Twelve-Bar Blues."
    Saturday morning the choirs, bands, and orchestra headed to their music competitions. Each group performed on stage for a panel of collegiate judges and received written critiques as well as an on-stage clinic with one of the adjudicators. 

    Later that evening all of the schools from around the country gathered for a Masquerade ball where the results of the festival were announced. Each group was given a rating based on the score they received for various music performance elements. 65-79 Good "Bronze," 80-89 Excellent "Silver," and 90 – 100 Superior "Gold." 

    Choral Awards:
    O'Connell Singers in the "Women's Chorus" category - "Gold" – 2nd Place
    O'Connell Men's Chorus - "Gold"
    O'Connell Concert Choir - "Gold" – 2nd Place
    Andrew Oliveros - solo award
    Top Sweepstakes Choir Program Award

    Instrumental Music Awards:
    String Orchestra - "Gold" – 1st Place 
    DJO Jazz Band - "Silver"
    Audrey Somerville - vocal soloist award
    Danny Campbell - tenor sax soloist award
    Symphonic Band - "Silver"

    As the icing on the cake, the O'Connell music program (instrumental and choral combined) won the Grand Sweepstakes Award for the best music program at the festival, having earned the most 1st and 2nd place awards with the highest number of points (over 300). Due to their high level of performance excellence, all three choirs and the orchestra were invited to participate at Carnegie Hall next year.  Student Andrew Oliveros was recognized for student leadership.
    The trip closed Sunday with a celebration of Palm Sunday at Ignatius Chapel at Loyola University where our choir students sang with the chapel choir. The afternoon was spent at the Audubon Zoo, before catching a flight back home.

     "We are extremely proud of all of our students and the hard work they put into this festival," said choral director, Mr. Peter Kadeli. "Their success demonstrates the strength and high standard of excellence of our music program."

    "This group of students represented O'Connell so well, both on and off stage," added Mr. Isaacson.

    The music program is very grateful for Mr. Tim Coffin, Mrs. Laura Ryan, and the Fine Arts Booster for all of the hard work they put into planning this trip, and to the parents and staff members who helped chaperone the trip. 

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  • 04/12/18--13:22: Mary Poppins - Apr. 26-29
  • Mary Poppins

    "Winds in the East, there's a mist comin' in. Like something is brewin,' and 'bout to begin...."

    Get ready to 'Step in Time' for a 'Jolly Holiday' with your 'Spoonful of Sugar,' as the Bishop O'Connell Players present...


    Show dates and times:

    Thursday - Saturday, Apr. 26-28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Apr. 29 at 2 p.m.

    General admission is $10. Seniors and students are $5.

    Reserve your ticket today!

    Questions? Call our box office at 703-237-1448.

    Don't miss out on this wonderful show for the whole family!


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  • 04/13/18--10:14: Better Together

    I hope that everyone enjoyed a blessed Easter holiday.  As we end this week and the third quarter, the view out the window here on Little Falls Road looks like resurrection, rebirth, renewal...Spring.  I hope the rest of the spring sports season has many more days like this for our athletes to compete and our fans to enjoy.

    Below is a link to a wonderful video produced by Porto Charities that highlight's the great work that Porto does throughout the Diocese of Arlington and features students, parents and teachers from Bishop O'Connell. It tells a beautiful story in about five minutes and I encourage you to take the time to view it. 

    Watching it may also inspire you to join us at Bishop O'Connell tomorrow morning for our Better Together 5K and Kids Fun Run to support our Expanded Services.  You can still register at  Looks like it will be a nice morning and I promise it will be fun.

    If you can't see the video link above, it can be viewed at