June 6, 2016

Pam Shay Celebrated by Faculty and Staff

Scholarship Created in Her Honor

Retiring Principal Pam Shay was celebrated by faculty and staff last week at a reception held in her honor in the Center for Environmental Studies.

President Steve Phelps and Chief Financial Officer Chris Garavaglia spoke about the special gifts Shay brought to O’Dowd and the indelible mark she has left on the school, while Office Manager Jeanne Dupont presented Shay with a hand-made scrapbook that included sweet notes from faculty and staff.


Phelps also announced that a special scholarship – The Pam Shay Endowed Scholarship Fund – has been created in Shay’s honor.

“During Pam’s tenure as O’Dowd’s 12th principal, the school has gotten better in every area for nearly every student. Pam’s leadership has resulted not just in operational excellence, but in ever improving teaching and learning and student personal growth. That is the highest compliment I can pay my esteemed colleague,” Phelps said.


Shay was touched by the kind wishes and reminders of the love of a generous community. “Everything from the thoughtful decorations to the delicious food and drink, and from the generous gifts to the individual notes in a beautiful “Jeanne-made” scrapbook was amazing. Steve’s presentation and Chris’ thoughtful words deeply touched my heart. All of these are treasures that will be with me for a long time to come,” she said.

Members of the community interested in making a gift in honor of Shay can donate online. All contributions to The Pam Shay Endowed Scholarship Fund will be matched, doubling the impact of your gift.


May 24, 2016

Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

May 23, 2016

Rube Goldberg Machine Fair

Rube Goldberg machines are those funny machines that take a lot of effort and complexity to complete a simple task, but they are very fun. Mr. Goss’s Geometry class created a bunch of them, as part of their geometry class. This was really hard to shoot, but enjoy.

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May 20, 2016

2016 Spring Concert Playlist

Tons of amazing music last night. Great job everybody. The Bands were in the zone.

Check out our YouTube videos on our YouTube station.

May 19, 2016

NHS Induction Ceremony

By Camille Porter McAvoy ’16

Current and new members of the National Honor Society, along with their families, gathered in Bishop O’Dowd High School’s small gymnasium on April 21 to celebrate the induction of the new members into NHS. In total, the NHS welcomed 47 new members.

The ceremony, led by NHS President Sydney McGillis ’16, began with a lovely prayer given by current member Kylie Chang ’16. Then, Ms. Shay gave a wonderful Principal’s Address about staying true to yourself through periods of growth and change, aided by a poster with various aphorisms. Finally, Camille Porter McAvoy ’16 gave the NHS Reflection, in which she highlighted the accomplishments and achievements of its new members, as well as a personal reflection about what NHS meant to her.

Seniors Ianna Fong, Molly Zeme, Grace Duncan, and Megan Corbett reminded members of the four central qualities required for NHS membership – Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character – by providing reflections on each quality.

After the opening portion of the ceremony, the new members were formally inducted, receiving a yellow rose, an NHS pin, and signing their name in the official NHS Register to recognize their induction. The ceremony concluded with Camille Porter McAvoy leading the new and existing members in the NHS pledge. The ceremony was followed by a short reception.


NHS would like to thank our moderator Ms. Counts, officers Sydney McGillis, Ianna Fong, Megan Corbett, Grace Duncan, Camille Porter McAvoy, and Molly Zeme, Principal Ms. Shay, and the O’Dowd maintenance staff for setting up the ceremony.

The newly inducted members are:

Class of 2016:

Laila Adranly, Jacob Cala, Jolene Chan, Troy Coaston, Bryce DeWitt, Ben Figueroa, Alexa Hanson, Samantha Hofherr, Frances Keer, Zoe Lozano-Strickland, Amelia Marinai, Yasmine McCroden, Julian Nesbitt, Maddie Parsnick, Georgia Rabara, Annika Sabaratnam, Tommy Vaughan, Danielle Viviani, Nathaniel White and Clotilda Yi.


Class of 2017:

Dana Angeles, Dylan Brown, Natalia Brusco, Audrey Byrne, Antoneil Carter, Brandon Choy, Jerome Deck, Aaron Gonzalez, Mark Gravador, Chase Holliman, Carlie Houser, Stefano Hurtado, Michael Hwang, Aris Jernigan, Olivia Johnson, Eunice Jung, Amado Lozano, Madeleine Murphy, Marina Ramsey, Kate Shiber, Tiffany Sin, Miranda Sinsheimer, Alexis Stanley, Isabel Weinerth, Danielle West, Christian Yau-Weeks, and Sophia Yau-Weeks.


Juniors Emily Gayton and Zoe Sterling Helping Youth in Haiti


When Emily Gayton ’17 traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last summer to fulfill the service learning requirement for O’Dowd’s Anawim Project by working with an organization called Futures 4 Haiti, she had no idea how deeply the experience would impact her.

Emily learned about Futures 4 Haiti through a family friend, Brenda Staley, who founded the organization, which is a school sponsorship program that provides 20 youngsters with tuition, shoes, uniforms and books, as well as food and medical care for the children and their families.

“I expected people to be poor, but didn’t understand just how poor they really are,” she said. “The experience was life-changing. I got a new perspective on how other people live, and was struck by how little they had but how happy they were.”

This August, Emily will return to Haiti, along with classmate Zoe Sterling, to deliver donated goods and spend time with the youngsters. In addition, Emily has partnered with One World Play Project to deliver special ultra-durable One World Futbols so that the youngsters – who have no toys or sports equipment – can benefit from the transformative power of play.

Emily learned of One World Play from Dana Young ’83, the vice president of strategic partnerships for the organization.

“I met Dana Young through the O’Dowd Career Partnerships Program, she connected me with other people from One World Play, and we started a campaign,” Emily said.

The campaign goal is to raise 25 balls to take to Haiti. Get more details about the campaign: http://www.oneworldplayproject.com/campaign/futures-4-haiti/

Meanwhile, Zoe is excited about making her first trip to Haiti to help in the effort. “I’ve heard Emily talk about it so much, I want to experience it myself,” she said.

May 17, 2016

Knut Haanaes: Two reasons companies fail — and how to avoid them

Is it possible to run a company and reinvent it at the same time? For business strategist Knut Haanaes, the ability to innovate after becoming successful is the mark of a great organization. He shares insights on how to strike a balance between perfecting what we already know and exploring totally new ideas — and lays out how to avoid two major strategy traps.

May 11, 2016

Chris Anderson: TED’s secret to great public speaking

There’s no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. TED Curator Chris Anderson shares this secret — along with four ways to make it work for you. Do you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading?

May 2, 2016

Paula Hammond: A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join Hammond’s quest to fight a disease that affects us all.

April 22, 2016

Assemblymember Rob Bonta Shares His Passion for Government


State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American state legislator in the history of California, met with AP Human Geography students on April 15 to discuss city planning, urban geography and more.

Elected to the Assembly’s 18th District in 2012, Bonta represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. His daughter, Reina, is a junior at O’Dowd.

Bonta talked with students about his efforts to increase California’s minimum wage, first to $10 an hour, and then last month to $15 an hour – the highest in the nation until New York followed suit hours after California’s bill passed.

“Today, we passed a transformational measure that reflects a core value I believe all in this chamber can agree with: If you work hard, and play by the rules, you should be able to take care of yourself and your family,” he said after the bill was passed.

Other topics he touched on included the environment, affordable housing, immigration, and racial discrimination and profiling.

Kameela Hall ’18 said Bonta addressed many important and eye opening topics throughout his discussion, and was very keen to share the solutions and positive future for the Bay Area. “Mr. Bonta’s key points encouraged me to become more involved in the creation of solutions and new ideas for our community,” she said.


Last year, Bonta co-authored a bill (AB 953) with Assemblymember Shirley Weber that seeks to eliminate racial profiling by requiring the establishment of a uniform system for collecting and analyzing data on law enforcement-community interactions, and establishing an advisory board to investigate profiling patterns and practices and provide recommendations on how to curb its harmful impact.

Controversy comes with the territory. It’s a place I’m happy to be if it’s doing the right thing

He is currently working on a bill that would require the state to come up with a plan to provide free, universal higher education to all Californians “just as we do at the K-12 level.”

Bonta acknowledges his efforts aren’t always embraced by all. “Controversy comes with the territory. It’s a place I’m happy to be if it’s doing the right thing,” he said.

Bonta said he always had a desire to serve due, in large, part, to his parents’ commitment to social justice. His father was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., marching for equality and justice in Selman. His mother was and continues to be a long-time leader in the Filipino social justice movement.

Bonta grew up in a trailer just a few hundred yards from César Chávez’s home and watched as his parents organized Filipino and Mexican American farm workers.

As a result, one of the first bills Bonta introduced upon being elected to the Assembly required the contributions of Filipinos to the farm labor movement – which have been historically underemphasized – to be taught in schools.

Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Bonta worked as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, and served on the Alameda City Council and as Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda.

Bonta currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee, and the Co-Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.

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Finding God in All Things

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