October 28, 2014

O’Dowd Debate Triumphs At University of the Pacific

O’Dowd Debate turned in an exceptionally strong performance at the 2014 Jon Schamber Invitational hosted by the University of the Pacific hosted over the October 24-26 weekend in Stockton, California. O’Dowd Debate entered teams in all four debate event and advanced teams to elimination rounds in the novice and open divisions of Public Forum, Parliamentary, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate and in the novice division of Policy Debate.

Ryan Seideman & Tommy Vaugahn

The weekend’s most notable victory was achieved by debaters Ryan Seideman & Tommy Vaughan in open Public Forum Debate. Seideman & Vaughan, debating both the pro and neg of the resolution “On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities,” completed preliminary rounds, in a 69-team field, with a perfect 5-0 record and the #3 seed heading into elimination rounds. Seideman & Vaughan defeated two San Jose high schools, Presentation High School and the Harker School, in octafinals and quarterfinals, dropped Fremont’s Mission San Jose High School in semis, and secured the championship by defeating Florida high school Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in finals. This victory marks O’Dowd Debate’s first invitational championship by a non-parliamentary debate team. Seideman & Vaughan also picked up a bid to compete in the 2015 Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky, one of the nation’s most elite and prestigious national high school debate tournaments. Seideman & Vaughan each received a $5,000 debate scholarship to debate at the University of the Pacific. Mr. Seideman also received a speaker award, finishing #2 out of 138 Public Forum debaters.

The remainder of the Public Forum squad fared quite well. Isabel Weinerth & Evin Yang concluded prelims with a 3-2 record but did not advance to eliminations while Alex Badalamenti & Parker Halaburda finished prelims at 2-3. The novice Public Forum debaters, debating in a field of 50 teams, had an exceptional outing, led by Samantha Szuhajs & Beatrice Velline. Szuhajs & Velline ran the table through preliminary rounds and entered eliminations with a 5-0 record. The pair defeated4 Brooks Academy in octafinals but were dropped from the tournament by San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley High School in quarters. Elliott Hunt & Brandon Pang and Michael Jayasuriya & Maya Perkins concluded the tournament with identical 2-3 records.

O’Dowd Debate entered 4 teams into the the 62-team open Parliamentary Debate field. The pair of Shawn Cunningham & Anna Johnson turned in parli’s strongest performance and finished prelims with a 4-1 record but dropped in the octafinal round to Santa Rosa’s Sonoma Academy. Nathan Woods & Danielle Viviani and Mackenzie Mills & Camille Porter-McAvoy finished with 3-2 records while Sean Walsh & Sophia Yau-Weeks ended their tournament with a 2-3 record.

Claudia Hester & Adaya Wyatt

O’Dowd’s two novice Parliamentary Debate teams, competing in a 37-team field, turned in extraordinary performances, led by freshmen Claudia Hester & Adeya Wyatt. Hester & Wyatt powered their way through prelims, compiling a perfect 5-0 record and the #1 seed in elims. The duo dropped Dougherty Valley High School in octos and Windsor High School in quarters before matching up again Carmichael’s Jesuit High School in an exceptionally tempestuous debate in semis. After dropping Jesuit on a 2-1 split, the pair squared up against two seniors from Roseville’s Woodcreek High School. The freshmen duo, debating the affirmative on whether the U.S. should significantly increase investment in developing a vaccine against the Ebola virus, defeated the upperclassmen on a 2-1 split to take and the novice crown. O’Dowd novices Sanah Basrai & Maia Johnson compiled a 4-1 preliminary record but exited the tournament by dropping to Dougherty Valley High School in the octafinal round. The novice debaters dominated the individual speaking awards and swept the top-three spots (out of 74) with Maia Johnson placing third, Sanah Basrai taking second, and Claudia Hester finishing in the #1 spot.

From left to right: Novice Policy debaters Juliana He & Nathan Francis and Zoe Rennie & Aidan Forth.

Novice Policy debate advanced two teams to elimination rounds with the signature performance coming from debaters Nathan Francis & Juliana He. The pair, debating the aff and neg of “The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans,” finished prelims 4-1 and advanced to the tournament’s semifinal round. The duo of Aidan Forth & Zoe Rennie completed prelims 4-1 but dropped in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Mr. Francis was named the #2 Novice Policy speaker. O’Dowd’s Open Policy duo of Karla Ho & Eunice Jung made their debut with a 2-3 performance but did not break to elims.

In Lincoln-Douglas debate varsity debater Koosha Nouri, debating both sides of the resolution “A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased,” advanced to octafinals after completing prelims with a 3-2 record. Fellow varsity debater Graham Clark ended his prelim run at 2-3 and did not break. O’Dowd entered four debaters in novice Lincoln-Douglas with Christian Yau-Weeks finishing a solid 4-1 but did not advance past octafinals. Fellow LD debaters Tyler Jorgensen and Stefano Hurtado finished with winning 3-2 records but did not advance. Connor Tamor ended his tournament with a 1-4 record.

O’Dowd Debate will see its next action this upcoming Sunday, November 2 at a Golden Gate Speech Association league tournament hosted by San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

Fabien Cousteau: What I learned from spending 31 days underwater

In 1963, Jacques Cousteau lived for 30 days in an underwater laboratory positioned on the floor of the Red Sea, and set a world record in the process. This summer, his grandson Fabien Cousteau broke that record. Cousteau the younger lived for 31 days aboard the Aquarius, an underwater research laboratory nine miles off the coast of Florida. In a charming talk he brings his wondrous adventure to life.

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National Hispanic Recognition Program Honors Fernando Fine ‘15

Congratulations to Fernando Fine ’15 who was recently recognized as a scholar by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP). Emily Caviglia ’15 and Sebastian Hurtado ’15 were previously named scholars in the program.

Class Gift of 2015

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Act 17 – Popular Night Rally Vid – 6 Guys and 6 Girls

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Night Rally Unity Act Now Up

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Mock Trial Tryouts Begin

Mock Trial is one of the most prestigious academic activities in the nation. Mock trial teaches students critical thinking skills, effective public speaking, the ability to think on one’s feet as well as self-confidence, all useful tools no matter what occupation students will pursue. More than 400 colleges and universities field 600 teams in addition to over 100 law schools. At the high school level, there is one National Mock Trial High School competition.

Teams in all 50 states receive a fictitious case scenario, develop both a prosecution and a defense, and then compete against other high school teams in their county. The winner of each county goes to the state competition and the winner of each state competes in the National Mock Trial Championship, last year held in Wisconsin. Bishop O’Dowd competes in the Alameda County competition along with 15 other public and private high schools.

College admissions departments give weight to mock trial participation because students are required to work for months on a single case, demonstrating commitment and perseverance, both important qualities in academic success. Rather than multiple competitions, after months of preparation, there are four trials that determine which teams advance. In addition, the small size of the teams [maximum 20 students] requires superior interpersonal skills as teams will spend hundreds of hours working together. The success of the team relies, in no small part, on the team dynamics, rather than on any single individual.

O’Dowd mock trial members have gone on to top colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU, Tufts, Georgetown, as well as the UC system. Many students have continued with mock trial at the collegiate and law school level, which is even more competitive. This year two mock trial alums just notified us that they had been selected as members of their college mock trial team: Laura Penaranda [‘13] for UC Davis and Ariana Donaville [‘13] at University of Oregon. Many have pursued careers in law, while others are now engaged in careers from theatre to public policy advocacy to education.

Bishop O’Dowd in the last decade has consistently been in the top 4 schools in the county, and went to the state championship in 2002. Because of our record in a very competitive county, BOD was invited to the Empire International Mock Trial Invitational in New York City in 2011 where we competed against 60 other teams and won 10th place. Next month our team will be competing at the inaugural Empire Invitation in San Francisco.

This year’s case, People v Shem, is a case involving a high school student accused of art theft, with a pre-trial argument on the 4th amendment constitutional protection against ‘unreasonable search and seizure.’

The BOD Mock Trial team is looking for new members to complete the 20 person team, to replace last year’s graduating seniors. This activity is open to students in all grades. We are looking for students who like to act (there are 8 character witnesses) as well as attorneys, a bailiff and a timekeeper. We will be holding an informational meeting on Friday, October 31st at MP. Students and parents can find additional information on the Mock Trial program at the Constitutional Rights Foundation which provides the case scenario for California, at http://www.crf-usa.org as well as the Mock Trial page on our website.

Interested students can pick up an audition packet beginning Wednesday, October 29th from teacher/coach Bonnie Sussman, in Room 201. The first round of auditions will be held next Wednesday, November 5th from 3:30 – 5:30. Parents with questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Sussman.

Actor Profile for Emma Braden

Shows at BOD-Sugar, Little Shop of Horrors, The Laramie Project.

What is your favorite memory of BOD drama?
“I enjoyed dressing in 1920′s fashion in Sugar. The movement of the dresses made them a lot of fun to dance in. Marcelling my hair was laborious but it was fun.”

Describe your role in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
“Nurse Ratched is the cold-hearted, autocratic head nurse with a warm facade that enables her to control the entire ward with an iron hand.”

How does this play fit in with BOD’s charism?
“The play portrays despicable behavior that results from not recognizing and respecting human dignity, thereby violating joy and suppressing social justice with characters that lack strength of character.”

Why should student take drama at BOD?
“The drama department creates a tight-knit family where expressing passion and individuality is not merely acceptable but encouraged. Being a member of the department gives me a sense of belonging to something greater, bringing me fulfillment from an openness of expression.”

October 27, 2014

TEDx Youth at Sacred Heart Cathedral – Speakers Wanted

Hi All,

Hope you can help spread the word! We are hosting our very own TED Talk in January, TEDx@SHC. This is an entirely student-run event, and we welcome students from our sister schools to apply to be speakers! We are also still accepting applicants for the audience. I hope you will share this opportunity with your student leaders… can’t wait to see what the students come up with!

Please see the release below for more information. Feel free to contact me with questions, too.

Sacred Heart Cathedral
Click for the event page »


SHC is pleased to announce the inaugural TEDxYouth@SHC event taking place on January 17, 2015. This event created by and for the young people of San Francisco invites local youth to apply to participate as speakers or attendees.

TED, an organization dedicated to spreading good ideas through short, powerful talks, created TEDx to give local communities the opportunity to host TED-inspired events. TEDx events take place all over the globe and feature talks on a range of topics that spark community connection and meaningful conversation.

TEDxYouth@SHC brings together San Francisco youth through an entirely student-run event. “Students will design the set and website, gather sponsors, coordinate sound and lighting, write the speeches and get the word out,” says event student-leader Rebecca Harvey ’15.

The event celebrates the voices of San Francisco youth, a community whose experience and leadership will define the future of the City. As SHC instructor and TEDxYouth@SHC moderator Dr. Ramsey Musallam shares, “No one over the age of 19 is allowed onstage.”

“We’re working together to come up with the best ideas to make this event as memorable as possible. The agenda is to find the best student speakers we can, to tell their stories and represent the San Francisco community,” says Rebecca.

To ensure the most meaningful experience for both the speakers and the audience, TEDx requires attendees to complete an online application. The application deadline for both youth speakers and attendees is November 1.

For a sample of inspiring TEDxYouth talks, click here.

October 24, 2014

Night Rally Videos are Up

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Finding God in All Things

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