During this holy time of year, we celebrate the birth of our Lord. Praying a novena is a wonderful way to prepare us spiritually to receive Jesus into our hearts. A novena (from the Latin word novem, meaning nine) is a traditional prayer that is said for nine consecutive days. We invite you to join us in this tradition. Every day, from now until December 24, we will post a new reflection on our Facebook page.
Two years ago, a New York non-profit, 92nd Street Y, started #GivingTuesday as a way to celebrate and encourage giving during the holiday season. More than 2,500 charities, volunteer organizations, corporations and foundations across the nation joined together to participate in this call to action.
This year, Chaminade College Preparatory has joined #GivingTuesday. On Tuesday, December 2, the Chaminade family is asked to help celebrate this day by:
- Giving back to Chaminade’s teachers, coaches and mentors who are dedicated to making the Chaminade experience excellent by contributing a gift to The Chaminade Fund
- Taking a picture to share why they give, and uploading the picture onto Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtags #UNselfie, #GivingTuesday, and #chaminadeccp
- Share how they give back to Chaminade in comments
The success of #GivingTuesday depends on a collective effort, which starts at the individual level, and branches out to the Chaminade family, the local community, the nation, and eventually to the world. It is about small acts, which have a big impact.
Robotics teams from Chaminade’s middle and high school each turned in top performances at the Vex Robotics Competition held on November 22 at Granada Hills Charter High School. In all, one team from the middle school –Team 83 as they are known in the tournament circuit, and three squads of the high school’s Team 1138 competed against 34 other area teams in the 2014-15 game called Skyrise. Collectively they finished the day with five awards, two of which qualified teams for the state championship in February.
The middle school’s Team 83 finished a fourth seed after qualifying rounds, and battled through several tough elimination matches against mostly high school teams –including the second-seeded Team 1138B from Chaminade, to emerge as tournament champions and earn a spot in the Southern California State Championship. They were also recognized by judges with the Design Award; given to teams who demonstrate a professional and well-documented design process.
Team 1138, the “A” squad from Chaminade’s high school, received the tournament’s top honor, the Excellence Award, given by judges to the team determined to be best overall team at the competition. This also qualified them for a spot at the State Championship. However the 1138 team also had a world record setting performance in the Programming Skills challenge in which they scored 27 points in one minute using only programming code and sensor inputs, eclipsing the previous world record by four points. If their score remains in the top 30 worldwide by February, they will have a direct qualification to the World Championship held in Louisville, Kentucky in April.
Team 1138-B, already qualified for States at a previous tournament, finished second in qualifiers and battled through to the very last round of the finals against the middle school to finish as tournament finalists. They were then recognized by the judges with the Innovate Award, given to the team with an innovative approach to solving game challenges.
Team 1138-C, while not coming home with any awards, performed admirably despite several technical problems in the early going. This mostly rookie squad still stands an excellent chance of qualifying in their final tournament in December once they solve some mechanical issues. The young squad received much attention for their innovative design and showed great spirit in battling through challenges and breaking in new drivers.
This was likely the most productive single event in Eagle Engineering’s 12-year history; however they are not resting on these accomplishments for very long. Their next tournament is December 7 at Windward School, followed by a new season with the larger FRC robots beginning on January 3.
Chaminade’s middle school and high school Mock Trial teams have both advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 Los Angeles County Mock Trial competition. In the first four rounds of competition, the high school team faced Notre Dame Academy, Sierra Canyon, Damien, and a closely contested round in the quarterfinals against San Marino. The high school team is one of four remaining out of the 94 that started the competition. This is the seventh time in eight years the middle school has advanced to the semifinals.
Semifinals will be on Monday, November 24 at 5:00 p.m. at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Chaminade College Preparatory senior, Amit Dodani was recently awarded a 2014 Peace First Fellowship. This national award recognized five youth peacemakers across the country, and each winner will receive $25,000 over the next two years to “further their peacemaking work.”
Peace First is a Boston-based non-profit organization, which is dedicated to creating the next generation of peacemakers. Dodani was chosen as a fellow because of, My Name My Story (MNMS), the social leadership organization he founded in December 2011.
Since then, MNMS has grown into a national movement impacting 30 school campuses across four states, including Archdiocese schools in Los Angeles, and the first collegiate MNMS club at Texas Lutheran University. Dodani himself has reached out to more than 15,000 students through MNMS Inspire Empathy keynote talks.
“Although I was honored to fly to DC, visit the National Press Club, White House, Supreme Court, and the Institute of Peace,” said Amit, “I was simply there to represent the entire MNMS community and people who helped me make my MNMS dream a reality: my family, teachers like Mr. and Mrs. Bader who helped me overcome my speech challenge and Ms. Julie LaBelle who embraced the program and help make it what it is today; and most importantly the amazing MNMS Student Leaders and Chaminade Faculty like Mr. Williamson who make all this possible.”
Ms. Julie LaBelle, Chaminade Student Activity Director and MNMS School Club Advisor, who has been instrumental in creating the curriculum for the Leadership Days, Inspire Empathy Days, and the MNMS Resource Guide said “My Name My Story has become an important aspect of the Chaminade community as well as an excellent model for other schools to implement. My Name My Story school clubs, programs, and events, like the Inspire Empathy Day and Social Entrepreneurship Camp, offer schools like Chaminade the opportunity to inspire student leaders to be empathetic leaders in their communities, and to create a positive culture on their campus. At Chaminade, My Name My Story has also helped us fulfill our Marianist Characteristics of family spirit, service, justice, and peace and adaptation and change.”
As Dodani heads off to college next year, he is excited to continue to spread the message of empathy and scale MNMS with the support of organizations like Peace First and work towards the MNMS goal of connecting “One Million Stories that Inspire” and empowering youth to be powerful change agents in their communities.