March 30, 2015

O’Dowd Wins Two State Championships!

The boys’ and girls’ basketball teams achieved an unprecedented milestone over the weekend, both winning state championships – the boys an Open Division title and the girls a Division III title – at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. Each championship was significant, but for different reasons. Read more…

Karate Form Dance to “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy

Amazing Ballet Folklorico

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Multicultural Week Playlist

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String Orchestra and Symphonic Band Win Top Ratings

A huge congratulations to our O’Dowd’s String Orchestra and Symphonic Band for their excellent performances at the CMEA Band and Orchestra Festival.

String Orchestra received unanimous superior ratings from the judges and Symphonic Band received 2 superiors and 2 excellent ratings for theirs. Way to go O’Dowd musicians!

If you play an instrument and want to join us contact Mr. Randolph asap.

March 27, 2015

O’Dowd Takes Part in Sustainable Food Movement

Early this spring, Students for Sustainability (S4S) and the Living Lab Club celebrated O’Dowd’s involvement in the sustainable food “Farm to Fork” movement with a Sustainable Food Film Festival (featuring Food Inc.) and CA Thursday lunchtime activities.


S4S sets up Bike Blenders for organic smoothies

Living Lab Mediterranean Lentil Soup served Thursday

Sustainable food is not new to O’Dowd, as we made the switch to the highly esteemed Epicurean Group for our Cafeteria Dining Program in Fall 2013. Epicurean takes an artisan and sustainable approach to community dining, and support local and organic farms, ranches, and fisheries to provide fresh, honest, and local foods. Students at O’Dowd are happy with the high quality food choices, and even featured Epicurean and head chef Todd Morales in the most recent edition of the Crozier (O’Dowd student newspaper).

Even though O’Dowd has a regular supply of high quality sustainable food everyday, we knew we could get even more through a micro farm to form program using our very own Living Lab produce. The program was inspired in Fall 2014, when the Living Lab Club began cooking a monthly “Living Lab Soup” using freshly harvested veggies from the edible garden (learn more about the first Living Lab soup here).

First Living Lab Club Soup Event – September 2014

The monthly soup has proven to be such a success, that the Living Lab staff and Epicurean chefs decided to partner together to make fresh Living Lab produce a staple in O’Dowd lunches. While the living lab is not yet able to produce enough to do this everyday, each Thursday, Epicurean and the Living Lab work together to make a soup and/or salad made almost entirely from Living Lab produce. Any extra produce is also incorporated into other delicious items on Thursday such as wraps, panini, or the Thursday entrée. This program has proven to be highly popular as each week the Living Lab soup sells out quickly.


Living Lab Thursday Soup a Hit!

Kitchen Herb and Lettuce Garden

The Living Lab actively seeks to find ways to grow beyond being able to incorporate Living Lab produce in the Epicurean program, and has even installed a lettuce and herb garden just outside the cafeteria for easier access by the kitchen staff.

The Living Lab Thursday food program is also part of a larger sustainable food movement happening in CA called CA Thursdays, which was recently featured on the PBS NewsHour. O’Dowd is proud to be a part of this larger sustainability effort, and will continue to lead by example through unique programs like Living Lab CA Thursday’s at the Cafeteria.

Click on the “Initiatives” tab of O’Dowd’s Sustainability Page to see our other exciting sustainability efforts.

Kevin Cushing’s Letter to the Community

March 26, 2015

Dear Bishop O’Dowd Community,

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to accept the position of Principal at Carondelet High School. My twenty-seven years at Bishop O’Dowd, as a teacher, coach, and administrator, have been a gift. In being part of an environment where students experience success on so many levels, academically, athletically, and in their myriad activities, I have seen how transformative a Catholic education, one that focuses on the education of the whole person, can be. All those thousands of young people over all those years have been my inspiration, have filled me with hope, and have made me a better human being.

Over the years I have also seen some of the struggles that young women face in the world today, academically, socially, and athletically, along with the amazing strides that have been made in those areas. The opportunity to mentor, guide, and help the young women at Carondelet High School find a voice to speak for their equality and to demand that the concept of social justice be applied to their lives as well as to others in need is my primary reason for accepting that opportunity, that and the fact that it cuts my commute by over an hour per day!

In my letter expressing my interest in the position of Principal at Carondelet, I shared my educational philosophy. It is long, so I won’t include it here, but at its heart is the idea that all students can learn through hard work, concentrated study, self-analysis, and the building of confidence. In an atmosphere where they are allowed to explore their faith and their interests and to pursue what they are passionate about, young people learn not just specific skills and concepts, they gain a positive sense of identity and self-worth, they become more compassionate and empathetic, they become agents of change for the world around them.

This is exactly what happens at Bishop O’Dowd. I have experienced it so often, with so many young people. As the days pile up and the years move along, it is all too easy to forget that, to overlook the impact we all have on the young people we interact with everyday. As I ready myself to leave this community, I am reminded of how wonderful this place is and how dedicated and amazing the people here are. You all have your hearts in the right place, and you all create your own unique opus of giving. It has been an honor to be a part of this community!

With Gratitude,

Kevin Cushing
Assistant Principal
Dragon for Life

Developing Leaders of Competence, Conscience and Compassion

March 20, 2015

Earthworm Observation in Mr. Brammer’s Class

Students were instructed to observe and record what they saw as live earthworms crawled around on trays with towelettes. Several kids felt very grossed out by the worms, but then…

She doesn’t want to touch it, but it’s an important part of learning to observe.

Mr. Brammer showed photos from atrip to the rainforests of Ecuador where he had found 4 foot long earthworms crawling around on the ground. Apparently they killed by constriction like a python (just kidding). Anyhow here are some shots he shared with me.

Apparently the earth worms are quite strong as well.

March 19, 2015

Sea Urchin Egg Fertilization in AP Bio

March 19, 2015

This is an addendum to a post made last year. Read that post below this one.

AP Bio students examine fertilized sea urchin eggs under microscope.

The eggs have been fertilized. The “shield” is up to to keep other sperm from inseminating the egg. The dark spot is the beginning of cell division.

24 hours later, the eggs aren’t looking so good. They have been attacked by protozoa, super tiny organisms. The cell division has gone horribly awry.

Roll over the image below to see the magnified view.

The eggs are the large things that are all mangled. High mobile organisms are moving in among the eggs, however they are still much larger than the protozoa that are swarming the eggs. They appears as a fuzzy little halo around the eggs.

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March 24, 2014

The original post:

AP Bio students think of names for the sea urchins. The sea urchins provide eggs and sperm for the fertilization experiment.

Definition: Cytokinesis is the process in which the cytoplasm of a single eukaryotic cell is divided to form two daughter cells.

Cytokinesis is Halfway Complete

Sea Urchin eggs in Various Stages of Cytokinesis

Upper Right: Sea urchin with fertilization membrane (thin circle) that protects the egg from being fertilized by additional sperm after initial fertilization.
Bottom Left: Egg begins to elongate as cytokinesis begins.
Bottom Right: Egg has is about half way through cytokinesis. Remnants of fertilization membrane (thin circle) remains.

Sea Urchin Egg has Divided into 8 Cells

Microphotographic Video of Blastula

The really cool stuff I shot kicks in after 15 seconds. You can get this same effect by putting your iphone or camera over the microscope lens.

Pluteus Stage

Photo by Chris LeBoa.

Student uses iPhone to take pictures of sea urchin fertilization through microscope.

Brief description of sea urchin fertilization

Fertilization is the union of two gametes, the sperm and the egg to create a new organism. Although some unicellular animals reproduce asexually, sexual reproduction is the preferred method of propagation in most multicellular animal species. The resulting zygote contains genetic information from both parents. Sea urchins and other echinoderms have long been favorite subjects for the study of fertilization and early development. They produce large numbers of gametes which can be combined to create embryos which rapidly develop in real or artificial sea water. The embryos are transparent, allowing the direct observation of internal and external structures.

Learn more…

March 18, 2015

Shimpei Takahashi: Play this game to come up with original ideas

Shimpei Takahashi always dreamed of designing toys. But when he started work as a toy developer, he found that the pressure to use data as a starting point for design quashed his creativity. In this short, funny talk, Takahashi describes how he got his ideas flowing again, and shares a simple game anyone can play to generate new ideas. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)

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Finding God in All Things

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