September 30, 2015

Students Register to Vote

Representatives from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters visited Mrs. Harjehausen and Mrs. Sussman’s American Government classes on Sept. 28 in order to give the students the opportunity to register to vote, as well as hands-on experience with a voting machine. Students filled out their voter registration forms in class, and are now officially registered voters. Then, Jeffrey Normant of the Registrar’s office distributed a mock ballot which students completed and fed into the same voting machine that is used countywide at the polling places. Students left class with an “I Voted” sticker and valuable information about the voting process.

September 29, 2015

Samuel Cohen: “Alzheimer’s is not normal aging — and we can cure it

More than 40 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to increase drastically in the coming years. But no real progress has been made in the fight against the disease since its classification more than 100 years ago, until now.

Don’t Miss the 2015 Harvest Festival on Oct 11

Please join the fun at Bishop O’Dowd High School’s annual Harvest Festival, set for Sunday, Oct. 11, from 1-4 p.m., in front of the Center for Environmental Studies. 

We’ll celebrate the bounty of the Earth, music, art and living lightly on our planet! There will be delicious and fun activities for the whole family! Watch performances by O’Dowd’s String Orchestra and Jazz Bands, meet our farm animals, get your photo taken with a chicken, get involved with science, taste our tomatoes and pumpkin soup, learn how to live lightly on the earth, paint your face, decorate a pumpkin, make a scarecrow, participate in a scavenger hunt, win prizes, and buy pumpkins, yummy barbecue and homemade baked goods! Tickets are $5 per student, $10 per adult and $20 per family.

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Reflection on Pope’s Address to Congress

Peace and Justice teachers Kris Koller and Beth Mueller were able to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the event, and Beth provided some reflections about the experience.

Hours after departing from D.C., I was still elated. Pope Francis’ words to Congress had refreshed my spirit and affirmed my vocation to working for social justice. I am not alone in reveling in these personal spiritual moments that arose from the experience of Pope Francis’s U.S. visit. People traveled from all over the world to just be near him. Throughout different interviews with those who just met Francis (or even those who saw him from afar, like me) individuals continuously remark how they feel wonderful and filled with God’s love.

These shared, fulfilling spiritual experiences of encountering Pope Francis in one way or another have provoked me to reflect on Pope Francis as an icon for our modern Church. Philosopher Jean-Luc Marion’s work explains the way icons are supposed to function. In iconographic artwork, the artist and the icon itself are a conduit to God. Icons point us to something greater and bigger than ourselves. Icons attempt to make visible the invisible. Creating this passageway to God, icons are a means by which God (via the icon) gazes upon the icon gazer.(1) By casting Francis as an icon, he is a means by which we see God and God lovingly gazes at us. As a spiritual icon for us, Francis helps direct our gaze to Jesus and, consequently, our most-loving God the Father.

However, Francis helps us recognize that God’s love does not end with simply feeling loved. Instead, this loving gaze leads us straight to the hearts of those who suffer most. The gift of God’s love requires us to meet human needs, alleviate suffering of the most broken, and– above all –work for social justice.

The message of Francis is clear: there is no compromise when it comes to putting the marginalized, the disenfranchised, at the center of the Church and at the center of our lives. Jesus himself socialized with, dined with, and befriended those pushed aside in 1st century Palestine and therefore Christians are called to a radical lifestyle of centeredness around the poor.

Jesus calls Christians to emulate him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father” (Jn 14:6-7). Pope Francis, our living, breathing, conduit to God, has reminded us through his U.S. visit that the uplifting love of God bears with it a summons not only to accept that love for ourselves, but to love in return those most vulnerable.

(1) Jean-Luc Marion, God Without Being

The entire school community paused last Thursday morning to watch a replay of the Pope’s address to Congress. You can watch it too…

Yosemite Institute Photos

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September 28, 2015

Actor Profile-Nathalie Rivera

What is your theater background?

“I’ve been doing musical theater all my life. At O’Dowd, I played Sandy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and last semester I played Brenda in Hairspray.”

Describe how Godspell differs from other shows?

“Godspell is unique because it’s based on stories from The Bible. It brings a sense of comedy to these tales. I guess you could say it’s fun and inspirational at the same time. The show does have emotional moments. The humor is a way for audiences to learn the message of the play.”

What is your role in Godspell?

“We’re all playing version of ourselves, so I guess you could say I’m playing me. I get to sing a really upbeat song called Oh Bless The Lord. Even better, I get to belt as loud as I want.”

What themes from Godspell are reflected in our school’s charism?

“Finding God in All Things is exactly what Godspell is all about. Throughout the show we act out parables from The Bible, which, in theatrical terms, calls us to Joy, Social Justice and Community in Diversity. It’s a perfect fit for O’Dowd.”

How would you describe students in BOD theater?

“Students in BOD theater are some of the most open-minded, accepting and loving people I’ve met at school. I’ve got high energy and a flamboyant personality, which, at O’Dowd, are qualities that are welcomed and celebrated by other drama students. I feel at home with everybody and know I can always be myself.”

How to Save Your Hearing – Audiologist Talks with Psychology Students

Think the temporary hearing loss or ringing in your ears that you experience after attending a rock concert or Warriors game at Oracle Arena, using a leaf blower to clean up the yard, or cruising around on your motorcycle for several hours isn’t a big deal? Think again.

Audiologist and O’Dowd parent Leigh Kjeldsen wants you to know that it’s not only how loud the noise is, but the length of time you are exposed to the noise that can wreak havoc on your hearing – and permanently.

Kjeldsen met with students in Steve Phelps’s and Sarah Bremer’s psychology classes on Monday, and discussed the anatomy and physiology of the ear, noise induced and hidden hearing loss, and consequences of hearing loss. She also provided information about the many career opportunities currently available in audiology, ranging from research to clinical roles.

Everyone is born with a fixed number of hair cells in their inner ear. Once they are dead, they can’t be replaced and hearing is permanently lost, Kjeldsen said. “Hearing aids won’t give you back hearing in the areas where the hair cells and corresponding nerve cells are damaged or destroyed. If you’ve got nothing left there, you can’t hear anything in that frequency – even with a hearing aid.”

She explained that sound volume is measured in decibels (dB), and the level at which OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) sets limits on noise exposure in the workplace begins at 85dB. “If your work place has ambient noise of 85 dB, your company has to start implementing a hearing protection program which can include things like educating employees about hearing loss and offering hearing screening,” she said. “At 90 dB, companies have to mandate their employees wear some hearing protection, but they can still work an eight-hour day.”

The Sight & Hearing Association created a “noise thermometer” – ranging from 30 dB (whisper) to 140 dB (jet engine at takeoff) that details a noise’s potential to do harm to hearing. As noise levels increase, it takes less exposure to affect your hearing.

Rock concerts are near the top of the thermometer at 120 dB, with hearing damage possible in less than 8 seconds. Stadium games and leaf blowers register at 115 decibels, with hearing damage possible in 30 seconds, and riding a motorcycle coasts in at 97 decibels, with hearing damage in 30 minutes.

Even listening to an iPod or other personal music device can have a detrimental effect on hearing, Kjeldsen said. The noise thermometer lists this activity at 100 dB, with risk of hearing damage in two hours.

“I recommend the arm’s distance rule,” she said. “If I am arm’s distance away from someone and she has her headphones on, she should still be able to hear what I am saying over the music she’s listening to. If she can’t, it’s too loud.”

If you can’t avoid noise exposure completely, there are certain precautions you can take, Kjeldsen said, including turning down the volume, limiting exposure time and protecting your hearing by using earplugs or earmuffs.

Interestingly, many people who score in the normal range on hearing tests often suffer from hidden hearing loss, Kjeldsen said. “I have patients who come in and say they can’t hear in background noise, or can’t hear new friend who has a soft voice with an accent, but they can still hear beeps on a hearing test,” she said. “Research is showing that if you’ve had a lot of noise exposure there can be lots of degeneration going on behind the scenes, and we don’t have a test (to determine) that.”

The consequences of hearing loss can be quite serious, including lower earning power, social isolation, loneliness and depression, Kjeldsen said.

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In addition, recent studies have linked hearing loss to dementia.

A longitudinal study conducted over 16 years and published in 2011, shows that people with normal hearing have a fairly high probability of remaining dementia free, while those with hearing loss have a lower probability of remaining dementia free.

“The whole interaction isn’t necessarily understood and at this point – it’s a correlation between the two,” Kjeldsen said. “But it’s pretty concerning.”

2016 National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students Announced

Ten Bishop O’Dowd High School seniors were recently named commended students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jolene Chan, Benjamin Garvey, Frances Keer, Trevor Link, Sydney McGillis, Joshua Mills, Cole Molyneaux, Thomas Vaughan, Nathaniel White and Molly Zeme are among some 34,000 students throughout the nation being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, the commended students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

September 25, 2015

CPP Visits Berkeley Labs Biofuels Research Facility

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Initially the biofuels will be black, prior to processing by microbes.

The biofuel manufacturing process.

After bacteria process the biofuel it is clear.

About the Berkeley Labs

Senior As Game

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Finding God in All Things

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