October 24, 2014

Night Rally Videos are Up

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Senior Flash Mob – Jump On It

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Holocaust Film Screened at O’Dowd

More than 150 O’Dowd students got an intimate look into the life of a Jewish partisan during a special screening of the documentary film Survival in the Forest: Isidore Karten and the Partisans held in the theater Oct. 20. The film’s west coast premiere was held in San Francisco that evening, with an east coast premiere set for New York City on Nov. 3.

Founder of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation (JPEF) of San Francisco, Mitch Braff, arranged for the screening with social studies teacher Bonnie Sussman, who teaches a semester-long Holocaust class at O’Dowd. She also leads a Holocaust Study Tour each spring, serves on the Regional Education Corps of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and works with the JPEF.

Survival in the Forest: Isidore Karten and the Partisans details the experiences of two New York teenagers who travel with their father to Poland and the Ukraine to learn about their grandfather’s experiences as a partisan during the Holocaust. Watch film trailer…

Braff came to O’Dowd last spring to show a rough cut of the film to students in Sussman’s class. The students had the opportunity to critique the film and make suggestions at that time.

On Oct. 20, Braff and JPEF education manager Jonathan Furst brought along Harry Karten and his sons, Jonathan and Izzy, who spoke about the resistance work of family patriarch, Isidore Karten. After the screening, students had a chance to ask the Karten questions.

The film was particularly interesting to Meredith McCleary ’15, whose great uncle was a partisan fighter in Russia. In fact, she’s currently undertaking an independent study project on partisan fighting on the eastern front during World War II.

“It was really interesting to hear their story. Not many people know about the partisans,” McCleary said.

While six million Jews perished in the Holocaust, it’s estimated that more than 30,000 escaped from Nazi ghettos and camps to form or join organized resistance groups.

Partisan Isidore Karten was responsible for saving some 400 Jews – including more than 50 children – guiding them to a forest near Swirz, in what is now the Ukraine, where they hid in underground bunkers.

Still, dozens of Karten family members were killed. “I never knew my grandparents nor most of my family,” Harry said.

Harry was impressed by the attentiveness of O’Dowd students to the subject matter.

“I was looking at you while the film was showing and everybody was staring at the screen – nobody was talking or twitching. It hit everybody in some way, and I think when you walk out of here you’re not going to be the same person that walked in,” he said.

Harry hoped that the students learned that not all Jews went like sheep to the slaughter in World War II. “There was resistance,” he said.

McCleary was struck by how different life might have been for so many families had the Holocaust never occurred.

“Six million (people killed) is such an indiscriminate number. You just can’t fathom how many people that is,” she said. “But when you hear the personal stories you really understand the impact.”

Added classmate Kelly Johnson, “It’s hard not to think about all the lives that could have been.”


October 21, 2014

O’Dowd Debate Shines at James Logan

The Bishop O’Dowd Debate Team’s policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum debaters turned in a sterling performance at the year’s first Golden Gate Speech Association tournament hosted by James Logan High School on October 11.

O’Dowd’s policy squad entered teams into competition in the junior varsity and novice division with JV debaters Juliana He & Zoe Rennie concluding the day with a 2-2 record. Novice debaters Nicholas Entrekin & Jenay Hatchell and Simone Dilk & Anna Dubon made their debate debuts with 2-2 finishes while novice duo Nathan Francis & Julia Kernan-Woitalla ended their first competition with a fine 3-1 winning record. This year sees our policy squad debating “The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans.”

O’Dowd’s Lincoln-Douglas squad entered debaters into all three divisions with captain Graham Clark scoring a fine 3-1 performance in varsity debating the current topic that ” A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.” JV debaters Tyler Jorgenson and Christian Yau-Weeks concluded the tournament with perfect 4-0 records while fellow JV members Stefano Hurtado and Matthew Tracey-Cook tallied solid 3-1 records. Novice debaters Connor Tamor and Malia Thornton debuted with very respectable 2-2 marks.

Public forum also entered teams into the three divisions to debate the pro and con of the resolution: “On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.” Last year’s state qualifying duo of Isabel Weinerth & Evin Yang turned in a perfect 4-0 run through the tournament with their score being mirrored by the paring of Tommy Vaughan & Anna Johnson. Mr. Vaughan qualified to the state tournament last season in public forum while Ms. Johnson qualified to the national tournament. Fellow varsity members Alex Badalamenti & Parker Halaburda saw their 2014-2015 debut end with a 1-3 finish. JV duo of Elliott Hunt & Brandon Pang turned in sterling work with a 4-0 day while novice debaters Samantha Colbert-Neal & Beatrice Velline had a fabulous 4-0 debut with fellow novice public forum debaters Michael Jayasuriya & Samantha Szuhajs and Maya Perkins & Angelina Sandino both turning in 2-2 debuts.

O’Dowd Debate will see its next action this upcoming weekend at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.


Holocaust Film Screened at O’Dowd

Watch more videos on our YouTube channel

More than 150 O’Dowd students got an intimate look into the life of a Jewish partisan during a special screening of the documentary film Survival in the Forest: Isidore Karten and the Partisans held in the theater Oct. 20. The film’s west coast premiere was held in San Francisco that evening, with an east coast premiere set for New York City on Nov. 3.

Founder of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation (JPEF) of San Francisco, Mitch Braff, arranged for the screening with social studies teacher Bonnie Sussman, who teaches a semester-long Holocaust class at O’Dowd. She also leads a Holocaust Study Tour each spring, serves on the Regional Education Corps of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and works with the JPEF.

Survival in the Forest: Isidore Karten and the Partisans details the experiences of two New York teenagers who travel with their father to Poland and the Ukraine to learn about their grandfather’s experiences as a partisan during the Holocaust. Watch film trailer…

Braff came to O’Dowd last spring to show a rough cut of the film to students in Sussman’s class. The students had the opportunity to critique the film and make suggestions at that time.

On Oct. 20, Braff and JPEF education manager Jonathan Furst brought along Harry Karten and his sons, Jonathan and Izzy, who spoke about the resistance work of family patriarch, Isidore Karten. After the screening, students had a chance to ask the Karten questions.

The film was particularly interesting to Meredith McCleary ’15, whose great uncle was a partisan fighter in Russia. In fact, she’s currently undertaking an independent study project on partisan fighting on the eastern front during World War II.

“It was really interesting to hear their story. Not many people know about the partisans,” McCleary said.

While six million Jews perished in the Holocaust, it’s estimated that more than 30,000 escaped from Nazi ghettos and camps to form or join organized resistance groups.

Partisan Isidore Karten was responsible for saving some 400 Jews – including more than 50 children – guiding them to a forest near Swirz, in what is now the Ukraine, where they hid in underground bunkers.

Still, dozens of Karten family members were killed. “I never knew my grandparents nor most of my family,” Harry said.

Harry was impressed by the attentiveness of O’Dowd students to the subject matter.

“I was looking at you while the film was showing and everybody was staring at the screen – nobody was talking or twitching. It hit everybody in some way, and I think when you walk out of here you’re not going to be the same person that walked in,” he said.

Harry hoped that the students learned that not all Jews went like sheep to the slaughter in World War II. “There was resistance,” he said.

McCleary was struck by how different life might have been for so many families had the Holocaust never occurred.

“Six million (people killed) is such an indiscriminate number. You just can’t fathom how many people that is,” she said. “But when you hear the personal stories you really understand the impact.”

Added classmate Kelly Johnson, “It’s hard not to think about all the lives that could have been.”


Avi Reichental: What’s next in 3D printing

Just like his beloved grandfather, Avi Reichental is a maker of things. The difference is, now he can use 3D printers to make almost anything, out of almost any material. Reichental tours us through the possibilities of 3D printing, for everything from printed candy to highly custom sneakers.


Best Freshman Hallway in 30 Years says Brian Cushing

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2015 Holocaust Study Tour Now Accepting Applicants

The Holocaust Study Tour is a program which brings students from 3 high schools [New Jersey, Kansas, California] to Europe for two weeks to intensive study the Holocaust and has been doing so for over 10 years. The teachers at these schools have all known and worked with each other for 15 years because of theirwork with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as Regional Education Corps members. Students are accompanied by the former director of Yad Vashem’s Education Department as our historian.

Students study the historical antisemitism in Europe, Nazis rise to power, actions and inactions of bystanders and collaborators, resistance on the part of Jews and the Final Solution, while also learning to work and learn with students from other parts of the country. We have a theme each year as a thread which follows students throughout the trip, such as ‘Identity’, ‘Stereotypes’, or “Citizen involvement.”

Students are forced to confront a very dark period in history, examining decisions people made and reflecting upon their own decision-making methods. We’ve also made connections to local communities in the Czech Republic, working with the mayor of Trsice, for example to honor the small village for their rescue efforts of a Jewish family over the course of three years. Students two years ago dedicated a memorial they funded to honor the town. Students make lasting friendships with students from other schools, sharing in a once in a lifetime educational experience. Interested parents/students should contract Ms. Bonnie Sussman bsussman@bishopodowd.org

Download the Holocaust Study Tour Information and Application »


Alumni Return to Campus for Homecoming

Nearly 75 alumni spanning five decades returned to the O’Dowd campus on Oct. 17 for the second annual Alumni Homecoming Beer Garden event.

“It was fun to visit the campus and to see all of the improvements made since 1990.”

The event took place in Dominican Hall lounge and courtyard prior to the O’Dowd vs. Berkeley High football game. Alumni were provided tickets to the game and many stayed after the social event to cheer the Dragons to a 48-7 victory.

“I appreciate the effort the school exerts with events like this because it maintains traditions. These events also allow alumni to see the progress and investments the school is making in an institution that laid the foundation for our lives. I think that encourages alumni to stay present, participate and support the school,” Leslie Sims Robertson ’81 said.

The 1989 East Shore Athletic League championship team was honored at the event, and several team members were on hand including Chris Aparicio ’90, Eric Bjornson ’90, Jason Concannon ’90, Jerry Forristal ’90, Jason Kelly ’90, Brice McKeever ’90, Alexander Quinn ’90 and Mario Perez ’91.

“It was also good to see how well my fellow alumni have landed.”

Bob and Arleen Maginnis, parents of team member John Maginnis ’90, were also present. Arleen brought along a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings and photographs from the championship season which the event attendees enjoyed paging through.

The former players were excited about being honored, returning to campus and reconnecting with teammates.

“It was fun to visit the campus and to see all of the improvements made since 1990. I am impressed with the significant investments in the facilities to maintain O’Dowd’s place as a premier high school in the East Bay,” Quinn said.

“It was also good to see how well my fellow alumni have landed, although much of us have remained in contact over the years, which is likely a reflection of the bonds we made playing football at Bishop O’Dowd High School,” he added.

Perez thought the event was great. “I had a good time talking to my old football buddies and the faculty. I think the beer garden is great way to get alumni to come out and socialize,” he said. “And our Dragons got a big victory. It was a win, win!”

Introduced at halftime of the football game, the alumni football players received a rousing welcome from the sellout crowd. The 1989 team posted a perfect 10-0 mark before losing to DeAnza of Richmond in the North Coast Section playoffs.

In 11 games, the 1989 team averaged 6.8 yards per carry and gained 1,966 yards on the ground, and 6.7 yards per pass for 1,529 yards in the air, for a per game offense of 317 total yards. The team was led by quarterback Bjornson who passed for 1,418 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, a large contingent from the Class of 1967 turned out for the Alumni Homecoming Beer Garden including Cathy Adamo, Suzy Arnhart, Tim Duggan, Robert Herrick, Mike Mulhern and Charlene Viramontes Schembra.

Special thanks to the O’Dowd Athletic Department for providing the alumni complimentary tickets to the football game and to Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery for donating beer for the event.

Click photo thumbnail to view full size. Images can be right clicked and downloaded at 1024px wide by 768px.


Ethan Grossman ’18 – The Voice of O’Dowd

If you ask Ethan Grossman ’18 to name his favorite professional athlete, you’ll get a surprising answer.

“Talking about sports is a joy for me. I never expected that I would have this opportunity. It’s a dream that came true.”

Unlike most teens, Ethan doesn’t cite a past or present NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL great. Instead, he points to Giants play-by-play announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. “I’ve always looked up to them and thought that it would be awesome to do their job,” Ethan said.

As the “Voice of O’Dowd” on High School Cube, the platform O’Dowd is using to livestream athletic events, Ethan is on the path to achieving his dream of being a professional announcer.

Ethan has electrified the airwaves with his knowledgeable, enthusiastic play-by-play announcing of varsity football games and will continue to call the action during basketball season. Listen to a sample of his work…

Getting Started

Ethan first learned of the opportunity to do play-by-play announcing in August, when Associate Athletic Director Carlos Arriaga invited students to come to a meeting to learn about how they could participate with livestream broadcasts. Ethan subsequently got Arriaga’s OK to call the football team’s home opener on Sept. 12.

Arriaga said that while it was unusual that he would entrust a freshman with the microphone, Ethan’s interest in and knowledge of sports was impressive.

“You always have reservations when someone is doing something for the first time – especially in such a public forum. But we thought we’d give it a shot and see how it went,” Arriaga said. “Within the first few minutes of the first quarter I knew he was perfect for the job.”

Ethan admits that he was a bit nervous before calling his first game. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But everything just came naturally.”

Prior to each game, Ethan meets with Arriaga to get the scoop on key players from the opposing team, and he tries to gather background information that can be used as “color” filler in between plays. But that’s easier said than done.

“I heard Mr. Cushing playing a broadcast and I heard my voice. That was a little odd.”

“It’s not like college or the pros where there is a lot of information out there. Mostly I just have to be ready to gauge who the star players are once the game starts,” he said. “Because there is a lack of information there are gaps during the broadcast when I’m not saying anything and it’s kind of awkward. But I just have to push through.”

Ethan hasn’t yet developed his catchphrase (think Chris Berman’s “He. Could. Go. All. The. Way.” or John Madden’s “Boom!”), and isn’t going to try and force one. “All the best announcers have an iconic phrase,” he said. “It will eventually come naturally.”

Being the Eyes, Ears and Heart of the Game

Ethan understands that his role as a play-by-play announcer is to cover the game fairly and accurately while informing and entertaining the audience.

“It’s hard since we have only one camera and we’re not able to do replay. Explaining things well is really key so people can understand (a play) they’ve missed by just by listening,” Ethan said.

Ethan says family members, friends and O’Dowd faculty and staff have been complimentary of his work as a play-by-play announcer.

Still, he’s adjusting to hearing his own voice on game rebroadcasts and clips. “I was walking down Hurley Hall one day and I heard Mr. (Kevin) Cushing playing a broadcast and I heard my voice. That was a little odd. I didn’t say anything – I just kept walking,” Ethan said.

Cushing says Ethan’s skills as a play-by-play announcer are terrific. “My observation is that we have a burgeoning Bob Costas. Ethan’s enthusiasm and clear descriptions make the livestream events a must watch,” he said.

Ethan’s favorite sport is baseball and he’s a lifelong Giants fan. That’s why he has such an affinity for announcers Kuiper and Krukow, as well as Dave Flemming and Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller.

“Kuiper and Krukow are the classic team. Both of them played, which is a huge advantage when you are listening to them because they give so much insight,” Ethan said. “They have great voices too.”

While Ethan has his sights set on becoming a professional announcer, right now he’s enjoying his high school gig.

“Talking about sports is a joy for me. I never expected that I would have this opportunity. It’s a dream that came true,” he said.


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Finding God in All Things

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