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The latest news from Bishop O'Connell High School
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  • 02/14/18--12:53: Spring Tryout Schedule
  • Spring Tryouts - Feb. 20-22, 2018

    Below is the spring team tryout schedule, with possible rain information on the bottom of the list.

    If you have any questions, please contact the team coach or Athletic Director, Joe Wootten at

    Boys Lacrosse (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:30 - 6 p.m. at Pine Ridge Park *Bus leaves O'Connell at 3:15 p.m.

    Girls Lacrosse (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:15 - 6 p.m. on Stadium Field

    Baseball (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:30 - 6 p.m. on Baseball Field

    Softball (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:15 - 6:30 p.m. in Auxiliary Gymnasium

    Boys Tennis (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. at Bluemont Park *Bus leaves O'Connell at 3:15 p.m.

    Track (Tuesday - Thursday): 3:15 - 5:30 p.m. on Track

    Golf (Tuesday - Wednesday): 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. at Chantilly National Country Club *Bus leaves O'Connell at 3:05 p.m.

    In Case of Rain:
    This will be handled on a case by case basis. If it is raining, Softball and Baseball will be in the Auxiliary Gymnasium at the following times:
    Softball (3:15 - 5 p.m.)
    Baseball (5 - 7 p.m.)

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  • 02/16/18--10:00: A Reflection on the Week

    On Wednesday, Bishop Burbidge celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass with us. For his homily, he came down from the altar and stood in front of the seniors. He recalled how St. Teresa of Kolkata was once asked "What needs to change?" Her response was, "You and I." Bishop Burbidge then offered a reflection on how, with God's help, we might make positive changes in our lives through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Shortly after he left O'Connell, Bishop Burbidge returned to the Cathedral where he offered another Ash Wednesday Mass that was reported in the Arlington Catholic Herald. You can get a better sense for Bishop's homily by reading this short article.

    At the beginning of Lent, offering up our own suffering, we hold in prayer particularly this week all those who lost their lives in the school shooting in Florida this week, as well as their families and all those who mourn their passing. We pray too for all public servants who play important roles working to ensure that our communities our safe.

    It is very natural in the wake of tragedies like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for parents and others involved in any school community to worry about the safety of their school. Please know that the safety of students at Bishop O'Connell is our foremost concern and I invite you to read this message about our school security posture, what we are doing to review our systems and policies, and how you can help.

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  • 02/23/18--12:28: Black History Month

    February is Black History Month and this week provided us with several opportunities to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans across the history of our nation.

    On Tuesday, students and faculty chaperons headed north for a Black Catholic History tour of Baltimore. Organized by theology teacher David Owens, this tour included a visit to the Basilica of the Assumption (the first Basilica in the United States and the site of Bishop Denis J. O'Connell's ordination on May 26, 1877); the first Black Catholic parish in the United States (St. Francis Xavier); St Mary's Spiritual Center & Historical Site (first Catholic seminary in the United States and home of Mother Seton); and Mount Providence Convent where Mr. Owen's 7th grade teacher, Sister Dinorah Soto, greeted the group.

    Yesterday, Father Michael Thompson, S.S.J, the Superior General of the Josephites, a religious community dedicated to serving African-American Catholics, concelebrated Mass with our Father Gregory Thompson. Mass was followed by a celebration of African American history and culture that included a visit and remarks from Mr. William Fauntroy, an original Tuskegee Airman. Mr. Fauntroy's remarks were followed by student musical performances, poetry readings, dances and games all designed into collective celebration of African-American culture and achievement.

    I had a few opportunities in the days leading up to yesterday's presentation to observe the student organizers pouring over the details of the event. They were focused with great pride of ownership of the event and the appreciation of their classmates was evident when they stepped up to the stage to perform.

    Please ask your students about Mass and the Assembly -- this is a great opportunity to extend the learning that took place yesterday.

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  • 03/01/18--08:00: Summer Camp Schedule
  • 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

    See you this summer!

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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.