September 19, 2014

Zoowalk 2014

Hey everybody, we will post our photos of you on Monday, in the meantime, here are some pictures and a video from the Oakland Zoo. Watch the video below.

Madison Beglinger won the giraffe feeding for Zoo Walk and invited Corrinne Wong and Deirdre Carson to help feed the giraffes at the Oakland Zoo. [Personal comment: Zoos usually depress me but Oakland Zoo does a great job of taking care of the animals. Consider going there, or visiting them at one of their conservation talks. Students get special discounts.]

September 17, 2014

Diable Magazine – CES Dedicated Sept. 5

Read more &raqo;

September 16, 2014

Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace.

If you’re raised on dogma and hate, can you choose a different path? Zak Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His story is shocking, powerful and, ultimately, inspiring.

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BOD Drama Announces Spring Musical!

The drama department has announced that Hairspray will be the 2015 spring musical. This will be a BOD premiere.

Hairspray is a musical based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same title. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and “downtown” rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful array of characters. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show. Hairspray is a social commentary on the injustices of parts of American society in the 1960s.

The popular musical written in 2003 won eight Tony Awards out of thirteen nominations and ran for over 2,500 performances. A successful film version starred John Travolta, Zac Efron and Queen Latifah.

Performance dates will be April 24, 25, May 1, 2, 8, and 9 at 8:00 PM, and May 3 and 10 at 2:00 PM in the theater.

September 11, 2014

Laura Trice: The power of saying thank you

In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words “thank you” — to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it.

Austin Zhang Named 2015 National Merit Semifinalist

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced that Bishop O’Dowd High School’s Austin Zhang ’15 is among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Zhang, along with the other academically talented high school seniors, have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships, worth about $33 million, that will be offered next spring.

Steps in the Competition

About 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of United States high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Additionally, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.

Approximately 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in the spring of 2015. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.

About 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2014 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Since then, more than 300,000 young people have earned the Merit Scholar title.

O’Dowd Green Challenge (OGC) – Examining the Drought

– Challenge Due Date: Sunday September 21st

Background on CA Drought

Quick think fast! What has been on the news lately centered around water? That’s right, the drought. Right now California is facing the worst drought on record – it is the first time “exceptional drought” status has been used (learn more from this NBC News Video). Small towns are feeling the brunt of the drought, but it is affecting the entire state (learn more at CA Drought).

Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californian’s to significantly reduce their water consumption (, and has imposed regulations state-wide. In fact, if a state water regulator catch someone being a water waster (overwatering, leaky sprinklers, etc.) they could register a fine for water wasting (learn more from thisBay Area News Video)

While California’s mega-drought might seem out of control, the solution is simple and easy: think and act water consciously! Be aware of water use at home as you get ready in the morning, wash dishes, and get ready for bed. Additionally, remember that much of our water consumption also comes from the production of the food, energy, and other products we use every day, so cutting down on consumption means being water conscious!

Challenge and Reflection

  • Investigate Your Habits: Go around your house and make a list of 10 things that contribute to your water footprint and estimate the amount of water that you are using. Then check out National Geographic’s Water Footprint Calculator to see how accurate your estimates were.
  • Respond: Write a paragraph reflection about what you learned from the news resources, videos, and from examining your habits more closely. Then share a few ways of how you are going to think and act more water consciously moving forward.


How to Submit

Email your Reflection to the Students for Sustainability (S4S) Supervisor:, by Midnight on Sunday Sep 21st. You will be in the running for an O’Dowd Green Challenge prize, and will also receive spirit points for your class – yes, spirit week is just 37 days away!

September 9, 2014

Living Lab Club Gets off to a Tasty Start

Contributed by Annie McAneny ’15

A wonderful MP (Meeting Period) was had by all who attended the first gathering of the Living Lab Club for the 2014-2015 school year. Students from all four classes (freshman-seniors) came out to the Living lab to help nurture O’Dowd’s ecological haven, and to take part in creating the Living Lab’s first soup.

The afternoon centered around the Living Lab’s Edible Garden, with some students weeding, and others spending time harvesting a dozen different varieties of organic vegetables with “Veggie Queen,” Devra Laner (a long standing Living Lab volunteer extraordinaire).


Finally, everyone came together to prepare a soup made of 100% living lab produce. Living Lab leaders Mr. Tyler, Mr. Beeby, and Ms. Prutzman were delighted to break in the new garden kitchen setup! The soup was also served at O’Dowd’s lunchtime cafe – a great way for students to experience local food.



There really is no better way to spend your MP! The Living Lab Club extends many thanks to everyone who came and joined us in the sunshine. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled so you can join us for our next meeting!.

September 8, 2014

Bishop of Oakland Michael C. Barber Blesses and Dedicates Center for Environmental Studies

Bishop receives gift of Living Lab veggies at Opening School Liturgy.

The recently completed Center for Environmental Studies, the visual centerpiece of Bishop O’Dowd High School’s expansive science program, commitment to sustainability and, most importantly, a reflection of the school’s Kinship with Creation was blessed and dedicated by Bishop of Oakland Michael C. Barber, S.J., on Sept. 5.

Prior to the blessing and dedication, Bishop Barber visited several O’Dowd classrooms, talking with students about his work as a Jesuit, Navy chaplain and reservist, and presided over the opening school liturgy, the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

After Mass, a representative group faculty, staff, students, along with invited guests, gathered on the patio of the CES where the O’Dowd chorus performed Bless This House.

O’Dowd President Steve Phelps welcomed attendees, including Assemblymember Robert Bonta and Congressional Aid Jonathan Gast, from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, who presented Phelps with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition honoring O’Dowd’s commitment to environmental science and sustainability education.

Project architects Susi Marzuola, Larry Strain and Karen Richards, of Siegel & Strain, were also on hand for the event.

O’Dowd Board of Regents Chairperson Kim Walsh said the creation of the CES was a true community effort.

“As you know, a project like this doesn’t come together without the commitment and determination of an entire community – and today we bear witness to the generosity, compassion and dedication of our amazing O’Dowd community,” she said.

Holy Water and Ribbon Cutting

Bishop blesses grounds with holy water

Principal Pam Shay said it wasn’t too long ago that a similar group stood in the same area, breaking ground for the CES.

Today, the CES is in constant use and students have exciting new curriculum options, such as AP human geography. Additionally, science faculty are immersed in developing an introductory science course for the Class of 2019, Shay said.

As he blessed and dedicated the CES, Bishop Barber said “We dedicate this building to the education of youth, to the progress of the sciences, to the study of the earth and the environment and to learning. Make it become a center for students and teachers imbued with the words of truth that search for the wisdom that guides our lives and strive wholeheartedly to stand by Christ as their teacher who lives and reigns forever and ever,” Bishop Barber said.

Finally, Living Lab Director Annie Prutzman and several students participated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting, officially marking the opening of the CES.

Learn more about the CES, Living Lab and O’Dowd’s sustainability efforts…

Click photo thumbnail to view full size. Full size images can be right clicked and downloaded.

Photos by Lisa Coffey-Mahoney

September 5, 2014

Going Solar at Home

Thinking of Going Solar at Home? Now It’s Easier Than Ever!

If you are someone who has thought of going solar at home, but haven’t had the time yet to make it happen, this project is for you. The East Bay Community Solar Project (a non-profit organization focused on bringing solar to the masses) has addressed one of the most common barriers to action: finding a quality low-cost provider.

This spring, the East Bay Community Solar Project organized a committee of community members to put five different solar companies through a rigorous review based on price, quality, and social responsibility. This process – called the “Solarize” Model – has proved to be a responsible hassle free way of getting solar into communities efficiently and effectively.

Competitive Bidding has come to a close, and the Contractor Selection Committee chose RGS Energy to be the bulk-discount provider for the East Bay Community. The deadline for signing-up to be a part of this bulk-discount offer is October 31st, so act quickly.

To learn more about the benefits of this project, or to sign-up today, click here.

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Finding God in All Things

9500 Stearns Ave | Oakland, CA 94605 | Phone: (510) 577-9100 | Fax: (510) 638-3259