October 20, 2014

Pope Francis Receives Support for Environmental Encyclical

In January 2014, Pope Francis announced that his next encyclical will address Creation, respect for the environment, and human ecology, with an expected release date is early 2015. He has reportedly spent months drafting his new encyclical, and has called on many (including the Franciscans for Ecology), for support and guidance. Throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall he has also received international support from a number of Bishops and Dioceses. Here are some recent highlights:

1) U.S. Catholic Bishops: The U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, led by Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, released an analysis of the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards Draft in July 2014. The bishops evaluated the proposed EPA air pollution plan on the basis of whether it evidenced respect for human life and dignity, acted prudently on behalf of the public good, gave priority to the poor and vulnerable (already excessively harmed by climate change), served social and economic justice, sought to care for God’s creation and aimed to encourage popular participation. The committee found that the EPA plan largely satisfied the Conference’s ethical criteria, and their concerns lay mostly in ensuring that Congress ensures additional necessary actions.

2) Bishops of the Philippines: The Bishops of the Philippines released a statement signed by their president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan, regarding climate change and care for the environment. In it the Archbishop asks Filipino Catholics if they are doing their part to protect God’s creation, and reflects that the task of addressing global warming, “begins with a deep gratitude for the created gifts God has given us, and a renewed commitment to the sacred trust of caring for these gifts. We are called to respond with care and creativity as individuals and communities, as nations and as one human family.” Read more here…

3) Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB):
The KCCB has joined the the Kenya Interfaith Network on Environmental Action (KINEA) to help the country address the consequences of climate change. The network shall engage in programs related to climate change and livelihood enhancement including; promotion of tree growing in faith owned/managed institutions and land, faith based education for sustainable development, faith based sustainable agriculture and faith based wildlife conservational programs through advocacy, awareness and practice. Read more here…

4) Bishop William Crean of Ireland: in the Diocese of Cloyne, Bishop Crean ( Chair of Trócaire, Ireland’s Catholic development agency), recently called climate change a human crisis that requires urgent attention.He reminded the faith that one of the central tenets of Christianity is the notion of stewardship of God’s Earth and passing it to the next generation in good health. Additionally he added, “While climate change is a technical, scientific and economic issue, it is also a moral one. The choices we make can undermine the wellbeing of millions of people and condemn future generations to live in an inhospitable world.” Read more here…

5) Southern CA’s Diocese of Orange: Bishop Kevin Vann in the Diocese of Orange addressed California’s persistently devastating drought, pointing out that adverse climate and environmental degradation always hurt the poor and vulnerable most. He also recognized the Catholic Climate Covenant for their leadership in providing resources and actions that one can take, locally, nationally and globally, to care for God’s creation. Read more here…

6) Support from Ohio:
Ohio Catholic Rural Life Conference members, Pat O’Bryan of the Social Action Office, Diocese of Cleveland, and Fr. Ed Brienz of the Diocese of Youngstown, have created the “Care for Creation Calendar: A Catholic Calendar Honoring the Patron Saints of God’s Creation,” which includes important public days on behalf of the environment. Check out their calendar here…


Bishop O’Dowd also stands proudly with these supporters as leaders in the Education for Sustainability (EfS) movement. Working each day to strengthen our efforts in creating an environmentally sustainable, socially, just, and economically viable world.

Check out past Sustainability News here

October 16, 2014

Win 2 Tickets to Any Game

These creatures were found in 3 drops of Living Lab pond water.

First person to name 4 of the microfauna(animals) presented in these video will win 2 tickets to any game, including Homecoming.

Answers must be provided in email to drittenbach@bishopodowd.org. The first O’Dowd student to correctly identify 4 of the animals shown in the two pictures(not videos, those are there to clarify) will win. Yes the LeBoa Boys can enter, so that means you better move fast if you are going to beat them.

Don’t forget to go full screen on the video for the best view.

A suggested starting point for your research »

Sarah Bremer on KQED Blog

My students carry GPS-enabled devices in their back pockets (smart phones) and view paper maps as artifacts from a distant past. PBS LearningMedia makes it easy for me to engage these “digital natives.” A quick search turns up high quality, targeted materials that I can easily incorporate into a lesson or homework assignment for my AP Human Geography class.

The first time I used PBS LearningMedia, I simply provided my students with several links and instructed them to explore. Soon, everyone in the room was watching or engaging with one of the tools. Five minutes later, I tore them away from their screens and asked them to discuss what they had learned with their table groups. The room buzzed with voices chatting about the uses and history of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The entire activity took about ten minutes, and the students clearly both learned from and enjoyed the exercise.

Too often, sites with materials for teachers provide multiday lesson plans on relatively narrow topics or require paid subscriptions. PBS LearningMedia provides me with exactly what I need: short, free, and easily accessed materials that I can use to design and enhance my own curricula.

Click to read the resource »

Alumni Will McAneny (’11) Promotes Sustainable South African Organization

Class of 2011 alumni Will McAneny, now a student at Boston’s Northeastern University, is taking full advantage of their cutting edge Experiential Learning Program. He recently spent two semester internships working for a growing South African sustainability organization called Greenpop.

Greenpop, is focused on reforesting our planet, as over 50% of the forests that once covered the earth are now gone. Their work, currently centered in South Africa, focuses on trees because of the environmental, social, and economic benefits that trees provide. At their core, Greenpop aims to start a treevolution that can spread across the world. They see trees as a source of inspiration instead of gloom, and seek to help communities create innovative and sustainable solutions in a fun educational way.

During his time at O’Dowd, Will was an active O’Dowd student participating in Drama Productions, Living Lab and Sustainability Education, Kairos Retreat teams, and more. Today O’Dowd is proud to share a recent TV appearance he made to promote the important Sustainability work that Greenpop is doing in South Africa. Go Will!



Check out past Sustainability News here

October 15, 2014

Jeff Iliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.

October 14, 2014

Harvest Festival Fundraiser a Big Success

Thanks to everybody for helping to make our Harvest Festival Fundraiser a successful event on so many levels with such a solid turnout.

Symphonic and jazz band were the beating heart of the event.

Students with scarecrow they built from scratch.

Students decorated origami butterflies to win special prizes.

Rex bunnies have special fur that makes them SUPER soft.

Mr. Pham knows a great heirloom tomato when he eats one.

Select Photos for Download

Click photo thumbnail to view full size. Full size images can be right clicked and downloaded at 1024px wide by 768px. Photos are also posted to the Flickr account, if you know somebody on yearbook.

October 9, 2014

7 Things about Jase Turner

What inspired you to do this kind of work?
Working with students has never felt like work. From my days as a substitute teacher while playing baseball, to teaching in middle school as a teacher, advisor and dean, working with students to reach their full potential is fulfilling and fun.

What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd?
Director of Academic Support, entering my 4th year.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received (generally – it doesn’t have to be related to O’Dowd)?
Find a balance and pick your battles. It’s about the process, we don’t always see the results we want right away.

What is your favorite thing about your job?
Working with people from every department and supporting families and students t hrough their high school journey.

What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?
Students dictate what programs we offer. Our programs cater to the students’ need. As students change, so do our programs.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?
I was drafted (very late round) out of Skyline High School by the Pittsburgh Pirates before going to college. I choose college (wasn’t a tough decision) and was fortunately drafted after my senior year by the Kansas City Royals. It all worked out!

If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?
The artwork from my kids.

Bonus questions:

What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?
All kinds of music. My current playlist includes Jay-Z, Kanye West, OutKast, Coldplay and Little Dragon.

What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?
Michael Jordan and my grandpa Jesse Gonder, who played in the MLB during the 60s.

October 8, 2014

O’Dowd Green Challenge (OGC) #2- Plastic Bottles

– Challenge Due Date: Sunday October 19th, 2014
– Challenge written by S4S Committee Member: Julian Nesbitt
– Congratulations to Senior Jolene Chan for winning OCG #1!

Background on Plastic Bottles Issue

Arrowhead. Chrysler. Dasani. Aquafina. Fiji. Evian. There is only one thing in this world that comes to mind when a person hears all of these names together: plastic water bottles. We are currently drowning in plastic, and water bottles are one of the biggest culprits. Every single day, over 60 million water bottles are consumed by Americans. Sadly, only one in five are recycled, which means every year we have close to 20 billion plastic water bottles that are thrown away (Container Recycling Institute). Enough bottles to circle around the the earth three times!

Bottles that don’t get recycled end up in landfills, or more often than not in our waterways and oceans. Without a doubt, we have a giant plastic water bottle issue on our hands. Guest speaker Christa Choi shared the daunting issues around plastics in the oceans last week, and how these bottles in the ocean destroy pristine habitats, affect plants and animals in a negative way, and in the end comes back to haunt the health of humans as well.

Challenge and Reflection

  • Fact Investigation: There are several posters around campus describing the bad effects that water bottles have. Write down two intriguing facts, and then do some research of your own. Go deeper into the research by finding five new facts on your own (start with EcoWatch or Food & Water Watch), and looking at the harmful effects of plastic bottles on children and the environment. Share at least four new facts with three friends or family members outside of school. How do they react?
  • Respond: Summarize in a short paragraph the major challenges and effects of plastic bottles on people and the environment. Then explain answers to the following: Where are places in your community that could use help with the plastic water bottle problem? What are three solutions for dealing with this plastic problem? What will you personally do?


How to Submit

Email your Reflection to the Students for Sustainability (S4S) Supervisor: ayeghoian@bishopodowd.org, by Midnight on Sunday October 19th. 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 a few days away!

October 7, 2014

Daria van den Bercken: Why I take the piano on the road … and in the air

Pianist Daria van den Bercken fell in love with the baroque keyboard music of George Frideric Handel. Now, she aims to ignite this passion in others. In this talk, she plays us through the emotional roller coaster of his music — while sailing with her piano through the air, driving it down the street, and of course playing on the stage.

National Hispanic Recognition Program Honors O’Dowd Students

Seniors Emily Caviglia and Sebastian Hurtado have been recognized as scholars by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP), initiated in 1983 to identify outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students.

Each year, the NHRP honors about 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT. These students are from the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and the Marshall Islands, as well as U.S. citizens attending schools abroad.

Students recognized by the NHRP are at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino (based on the program’s definition), have achieved a minimum PSAT/NMSQT/PAA score for their region, and achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher by the end of junior year.

Although NHRP does not provide monetary awards, being named is an important academic achievement.

Next Page >

Finding God in All Things

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