July 27, 2016

O’Dowd Students Honored at 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Scholarship Gala


Evan Smith ’20 is the first recipient of the high school award bestowed by 100 Black Men of the Bay Area chapter, and received a $2,500 scholarship at the organization’s gala held on July 24 at Oakland’s Sequoyah Country Club.

Prior to this year, the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area chapter only gave scholarships to college students. Past O’Dowd parent Keith Robertson, a member of the group, advocated for the support of young men of color in high school.

Scholarship recipients are required to maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average, participate in the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area mentorship program, and participate in community service.

In addition to Evan, Julian Nesbitt ’16 received the $2,500 Willie Mays Scholarship, and Alexius Loman ’16 and Michael Cunningham ’16 each received the $3,500 James Thigpen Scholarships.

The chapter awarded over $50,000 in 2016, and has given roughly $1.25 million in scholarship money since being established in 1988. Get more information…



July 26, 2016

Open House

Open House

July 25, 2016

Aliyah Turner ’16 Accepted Into Top Acting Program


Aliyah Turner ’16 has come a long way since her first acting role – the baby elephant in Jungle Book.

An accomplished dancer and actor, Aliyah was one of only 18 applicants (from a pool of more than 1,000) accepted into the acting program at UCLA’s elite School of Theater, Film & Television. She begins her studies in September.

The interview/audition process was rigorous and included participation in an information session, the performance of two contrasting monologues (one classical and one contemporary), an interview in which applicants are asked to discuss their goals and aspirations for studying theater, and a movement audition where judges assess how applicants comport themselves in a group setting and how they respond to challenges.

Aliyah said the process was nerve-wracking. “Throughout the whole thing they are taking notes on you, observing you, and writing your number down … or not writing your number down,” she said.

Expanding Her Creative Repertoire

A competitive dancer since the age of three who has performed locally and nationally in several different styles of dance, Aliyah was chosen two summers ago, along with several other top performers from the Castro Valley Performing Arts program, to attend dance classes full-time at the famous Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey Schools in New York City for a week.

Her creative repertoire expanded to acting when she got involved with the Neighborhood Youth Theater in Castro Valley about 10 years ago. She pursued drama O’Dowd, starring in several performances including Godspell, Hairspray and A Chorus Line. She credits Drama Director Dennis Kohles and drama teacher Trina Oliver – “MizzO” as she is affectionately called – with cultivating her passion for acting. “They are very professional and knowledgeable about acting and that really opened up my eyes to the possibility of pursuing it as a career,” she said.

MizzO was instrumental in helping Aliyah prepare for her UCLA audition, as well as the other auditions she had at Pepperdine University, Chapman University and Loyola Marymount University.

“MizzO came to me at the beginning of senior year and asked if I was interested in pursuing acting after high school. When I said ‘Of course,’ she said we needed to start working on monologues and training for the auditions and interviews. She was a big help,” Aliyah said.

Aliyah prepared “Waiting for Lefty” as her contemporary piece and a monologue from “As You Like It” for her classical piece. She performed the classical piece at the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival in May, and ended up placing in the category. “That really boosted my confidence for the auditions,” she said.

For the past year, Aliyah has taken film and screen acting classes at Film Acting Bay Area (FABA) in Emeryville, where she has been provided several casting opportunities. She’s appeared in a short film, Through the Windowpain, and will star in an episode of FABA’s new, dramatic WebSeries The Traffick in August. She’s also secured a role in the upcoming feature film Taking Liberty.

Aliyah says what she enjoys most about acting is “telling a story and getting people out of their reality and making them believe and become invested in something she is creating.”

Looking ahead, Aliyah hopes use the actor showcases at UCLA as a springboard to a film acting career. “I can’t wait to start auditioning and truly living out my passion,” she said.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

July 22, 2016

Design Hub: Call for Materials for Reuse

The Design Hub is a new initiative at O’Dowd that coordinates student-centered design and fabrication ventures throughout the school. The Hub supports collaboration between academic, clubs, the student government, and service activities. As part of the emphasis on sustainability at the school, the Hub plans to utilize reused materials as much as possible. Listed below are some materials that are expected to be needed. Please bring you materials to Dr. Dave Hodul in room 110.

Yogurt cups and food tubs
TP and paper towel tubes
K’Nex and Erector sets
Board Games
Hardware: Hinges, etc.
Screws, Nails, Washers, etc.
Hand tools
Electronic Components
Marbles, dice, game pieces
Sheet metal
Paint Brushes
Drawing Materials
Sports equipment: Balls, etc.
Fabric, canvas
Art supplies
sewing machines, needles, thread, scissors, buttons, snaps, safety pins, bobby pins, wire, wood, toothpicks, twine, clothespins, saran wrap, salt, rulers, seam rippers, tracing paper, mylar, tyvek, plastic spoons.
Office supplies
You get the idea
Use your imagination

Thank you so much for everything that you bring,
Dr. Dave Hodul and Briana Loewinsohn co-facilitators of the Design Hub

July 20, 2016

O’Dowd Receives Federal Green Ribbon Award

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July 19, 2016

Summer Academy Collage Self Portraits




Painting 5

July 1, 2016

Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong

Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: “What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?”

June 10, 2016

Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

June 8, 2016

O’Dowd Hosts 4th Annual Sustainability Symposium for Secondary Schools

Bishop O’Dowd’s Department of Sustainability hosted the 4th annual Sustainability Symposium for Northern California Secondary School Educators. Representatives were present from: Bishop O’Dowd, De La Salle, Moreau Catholic, Saint Ignatius, Head Royce, Harker, Prospect Sierra, College Preparatory School, Mercy, Strategic Energy Innovations (great curriculum resources), and Santa Clara University.
Curriculum Table
The event kicked off with a delicious lunch featuring local Living Lab produce, and dynamic conversation at each table group, celebrating progress made at each school site, and sharing greatest challenges. Just after lunch there were brief presentations from various representatives highlighting best practices in facilities management and local conferences. The majority of the afternoon was spend on collaborations focused around problem solving on challenges related to work across the Campus Facilities, Curriculum, Community Engagement, and Cultural shifts.
Campus Table
The symposium ended up being a wonderful exchange of ideas, and a great opportunity for educators and students to reenergize their spirits in this challenging work.

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Finding God in All Things

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