April 24, 2015

O’Dowd is Awesome

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One Book, One Community – A Long Walk to Water

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985.

The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay.

Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Info for Students

Student Reading Assignment

One Book, One Community Project
Bishop O’Dowd High School

What’s the assignment?

All students are expected to have read A Long Walk to Water before arriving on campus for the fall 2015 semester. There is no written assignment during the summer although you may want to research the author or events in Sudan to provoke your thinking about the book.

How will I use this book?

You will be involved in classroom discussions of the book in your classes as well as have opportunity to attend theme-related events on campus. You will be tested in class on the first day of school to make sure that you read the book. The test will consist of straightforward objective questions on significant events from the book.

How do I obtain a copy of the book?

The book will be available through www.bishopodowd.bkstr.com. You are welcome to purchase the book through a bookstore of your choice.

A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair will provide a 20% discount for the Bishop O’Dowd community.

6120 La Salle Avenue
Oakland, CA. 94611

What are the product details?

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a true story
ISBN: 978-0547577319
Author: Linda Su Parker
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Authors
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 128

Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready

This is why we fundraise for Doctors Without Borders.

In 2014, the world avoided a horrific global outbreak of Ebola, thanks to thousands of selfless health workers — plus, frankly, thanks to some very good luck. In hindsight, we know what we should have done better. So, now’s the time, Bill Gates suggests, to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. As he says, “There’s no need to panic … but we need to get going.”

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Earth Day – Students Learn About Fair Trade

O’Dowd Poised to Become an Official Fair Trade School

Though most are too young to vote in elections, O’Dowd students can have an impact when it comes to supporting Fair Trade products by voting with their wallets, says Gina Pearson.

“Your money is your voice. Buying Fair Trade products and supporting stores that carry Fair Trade products – or asking a store to carry them – is one of the best things that you can do.”

Pearson, who has been at the forefront of the Fair Trade movement, and was part of the team that established Boston as a Fair Trade city in 2010, was O’Dowd’s featured Earth Day speaker and met with students during MP on April 21 in the Center for Environmental Studies. She is married to Jeremy Pearson, the Living Lab’s ecological gardener.

“I like to use the slogan ‘for the people, for the planet’ because the basis for Fair Trade is in social justice for the workers. But another big part of being certified Fair Trade is that you have to live up to certain environment guidelines.” Pearson said.

Pearson explained that Fair Trade certified products come from farms that are certified independently to provide fair wages, adhere to strict environmental standards, and have long term contracts that facilitate competition in the international market.

The most common Fair Trade products include coffee, chocolate, cotton sugar, bananas and rubber, Pearson said, though many other products, such as flowers and herbs, are becoming Fair Trade certified. “It’s kind of a long process to get there,” she said.

The impact of Fair Trade is significant, Pearson said, resulting in higher overall wages, community development, better working conditions, money directly to farmers/factories, long-term positive environmental impacts, the growth of skills and employment, community and worker empowerment and products that are brought to a larger audience.

Fair Trade products are becoming more mainstream, Pearson said. “We’re seeing places like Walmart and Starbucks carrying Fair Trade products, which is exciting, but we all have to get involved,” she said.

Alice Beittel ’15 and Sasha Durst ’15 support the concept of “voting with your dollar” to change the world. “One of the easiest ways is to ask the larger grocery stores to carry organic or Fair Trade products,” Beittel said.

Meanwhile, O’Dowd is on track to become an official Fair Trade school, working with Fair Trade USA on this effort which will include creating an understanding of Fair Trade via the classroom and school events, and offering fair trade products through the food service, vending machines and offices.

The school currently has a Fair Trade purchasing policy as well as an apparel purchasing policy in place and is in the process of reviewing its relationship with vendors to find companies that focus on Fair Trade, fair labor and other socially just practices.

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Gene Yang Nominated for Two Eisner Awards

The 2015 Eisner Award nominees were announced today, and Gene Yang is nominated for two categories.  One for Best Publication for Teens for Shadow Hero and another for Best Writer, for his work on Avatar: The Last Airbender and for Shadow Hero.  

Read more…

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at O’Dowd

This past winter, Bishop O’Dowd High school took a major step forward in its sustainable transportation initiatives by installing two electric vehicle-charging stations (EVCS) on campus. Recognizing the growing movement of electric vehicle ownership in the United States (especially in California), O’Dowd developed infrastructure that would support faculty/staff and families who are interested in going green with their transportation.

O’Dowd’s on-campus electric-vehicle-charging stations are 208V chargers, which allow for the recharging of up to four all electric vehicles (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) at a time. Under this system, each car takes three-to-four hours to fully charge (learn more about EV infrastructure »).

The O’Dowd system is currently a private system open to faculty and staff or students who own electric vehicles. Our first faculty member to take advantage of this opportunity is English teacher Lani Wolf, who is very aware of climate change issues and the need for individuals to be a part of the solution.

Wolf has driven a Nissan Leaf since last October when she made the decision to better care for the environment in her daily commute from Fairfax in Marin County to O’Dowd.

“I just couldn’t continue burning that much gas – 70 miles worth – every day. That kind of consumption just isn’t okay anymore in today’s world. So, I now lease a fully-electric Nissan Leaf, with zero emissions. Also, as an incentive, Nissan offers free charging at many stations for two years, and I also get to drive in the HOV lane and pay half for tolls over the Richmond Bridge,” she said.

“The savings in gas and toll covers the $200 monthly lease cost – so the car essentially costs me nothing, and plugging in the car is actually easier than pumping gas. Most importantly, I feel that I’m actually doing something to help the environment rather than just sitting by helplessly as the oceans rise. Eventually, electric cars will be powered by such renewable energy sources as wind and solar, which is really exciting! And thanks to O’Dowd for supporting me in my effort to ‘be the change’ with the on-campus charging station!” Wolf said.

Part of Wolf’s interest in sustainability stems from her sister, Dr. Shaye Wolf’s, involvement in sustainability research as Climate Science Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. Dr. Wolf inspired students last year as one of the featured speakers in the Sustainability Guest Speaker Series, and was also recently featured in an article (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/16/2014-hottest-year-on-record-scientists-noaa-nasa) from The Guardian, which declared 2014 to officially be the hottest year on record.

The Department of Sustainability at O’Dowd hopes that the combination of cutting edge research from scientists like Dr. Wolf, and the leadership of individuals like President Steve Phelps, who drives a hybrid car, and Lani Wolf will inspire the O’Dowd community to be a part of sustainable solutions. And when people are ready, O’Dowd now has the sustainable transportation infrastructure to support them.

CPP Visits Crime Lab

Students participating a Career Partnerships Program field trip got a real-world view of how forensic science is used in crime-solving when they visited the Oakland Police Department’s Criminalistics Laboratory on April 22.

Located on the sixth floor of the Oakland Police Department, the laboratory has four operational units – firearms, latent prints, forensic biology and drug analysis.

Criminalist/Supervisor of the Drug Analysis Unit Sandra Sachs, Ph.D., and her colleagues talked with students about how they analyze physical evidence collected from crime scenes in the laboratory, prepare written reports of their findings, and sometimes are called upon to explain complicated scientific evidence to juries in court.

The students got to look through a sophisticated comparison microscope that allows criminalists to analyze side-by-side specimens, learned that there are three main fingerprint patterns – loops, whorls and arches, watched a criminalist demonstrate the swabbing method to collect a DNA sample from a T-shirt, and got an overview of the presumptive and confirmatory tests used to identify drugs.

“I signed up for this trip in hopes of better understanding what occurs within a crime lab. I am very interested in science and math and hope to one day have a career that incorporates both,” Madisen Bilodeau ’17 said.

After talking with the various criminalists working at the lab, Bilodeau said she learned that the courses she takes in college will directly affect job opportunities she has later in life. “Most of them took many different science courses to get where they are now,” she said.

Victoria Keast ’17 said the visit helped shape her plans for the future, as it encouraged her to study science in college. “There are so many interesting and fun careers in science. The thing I found most interesting about the visit to the Crime Lab is how the lab uses technology that ranges greatly, such as Super Glue in a fish tank (which helps reveal latent fingerprints) to robots that extract DNA,” she said.

April 21, 2015

Art Show Opening Gala Friday April 24

April 20, 2015

O’Dowd Students Have Strong Showing at NorCal Mountain Bike Races This Season

Six students from O’Dowd are among more than 30 student-athletes on the Oakland Composite Mountain Bike Team, racing all over northern California. Though O’Dowd is not a school sponsored team, there are enough O’Dowd student-athletes participating that the school is scored separately from Oakland Composite.

Oakland Composite has had an impressive year, with three athletes winning their division, many more making the podium and several placing in the top 10, putting the team second among 20 teams for the northern NorCal league.

O’Dowd riders include Sam Fletcher ’15, Matthew Tracey-Cook ’17, Lulu Fletcher ’17, Zach Jolly ’18, Charlotte Low ’18, Caleb O’Hare ’18 and Kai Kirsch ’18. Several of the O’Dowd athletes have made it to the top 10 in their field. Matthew Tracey-Cook was freshman State Champion last year and has had an outstanding season this year, winning three of the four varsity races.

If you are interested in being a part of this exciting team, talk to one of these student athletes or contact Morgan Fletcher, Oakland Composite coach, at morgan@hahaha.org or call/text him at (510) 847-1696. High school students with beginner to advanced cycling skills are welcome.

Sierra Steinwert ’18 Participates in Hula Festival in Hawaii

Sierra Steinwert ’18 competed in the prestigious Merrie Monarch hula festival in Hilo, Hawaii, earlier this month.

To earn a place on the dance floor, Sierra trained three to four days a week from September through December, then stepped up her training to four to five days a week in January, and February and six days a week in March and April – often practicing until 11:30 p.m.

Sierra has been dancing hula since she was four-years-old, dancing as a keiki (child) and this was the first time she had danced as a wahine (woman). She dances with the Academy of Hawaiian Arts in Oakland, which offers hula classes for dances of all ages, as well as classes in Hawaiian music, ‘ukelele and singing, and workshops in Hawaiian crafts. The academy’s founder, Kumu Hula Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu, wrote/arranged and sang two of the songs in Lilo & Stitch: Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride and He Mele No Lilo. The Academy of Hawaiian Arts was one of only two mainland groups invited to the hula festival.

You can watch the wahine performances of kahiko (old style) and ‘auana (new style) below:

kahiko performance:

‘auana performance:

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Finding God in All Things

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