April 27, 2016

New ASB Officers


Tyler Manca ’18, treasurer; Isabel Hallock ’17, secretary; Antoneil Carter ’17, vice president; and Will Huntington ’17, president.

Alum of the Month – May


Nicole Cober ’89 Shares Her Journey to Fulfillment

Nicole “Nic” Cober ’89 will be the first to tell you that loss can lead to abundance.

At major turning points in her life – including losing her high paying attorney position due to firm downsizing, and having to shutter the doors of her successful spa and hair salon chain as a result of the downturn in the economy – Cober found a way to switch the narrative in her head, replacing fear and doubt with faith and positivity.

Her soon-to-be released book, “CEO of My Soul – The Self-Love Journey of a Small Business Owner,” details her personal journey and offers a practical how-to-guide for entrepreneurs.

“Fear makes you think the next thing is inherently worse,” she said. “If you lose a job, you immediately think you’ll be homeless, not that you might become president of the next company you work for.”

You can’t be your own enemy, Cober said. “Once I was able to forgive myself for my failures and start to move forward, I soared,” she said.

Bouncing Back from Failure nicole_cober_head2

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Sociology from UC Berkeley, Cober graduated from Howard University School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Journal, the moot court team and served as class vice president for two years.

After serving as a senior law clerk for the Chief Judge of the DC Court of Appeals, Cober landed a plum job as a litigation associate at one of Washington DC’s largest and most renowned law firms, Dickstein Shapiro (now closed), where she worked for four years. “I was a generalist, but I did antitrust litigation as well as insurance coverage litigation,” she said. “But it wasn’t a good fit. I was miserable, and knew I needed to do something else.”

Still, Cober was nervous about the future.

She flipped the script and launched Soul Day Spa and Salon, a spa and hair salon with locations in Washington, DC, and Maryland. Over the course of the next 10 years, the spas were acclaimed for quality services and avant-garde branding, and Cober annually partnered with a women’s shelter in the nation’s capital to provide complementary service to residents.

But when the economy tanked, Cober struggled, and she was forced to close the business in 2010. “I practiced law under the radar for a couple of years, trying to heal my wounds,” she said.

“It’s really hard when you are finally working in your career and it’s not what you thought it would be”

Today, she is the Principal Managing Partner of Cober Johnson & Romney, which specializes in small business advocacy and development.

“I’m really taking the lessons I learned early on as a small business owner and helping people either get their ideas off the ground or grow their businesses,” she said. “I like to say I’m their cheerleader because most small business owners have great skills and great managerial instincts – that’s how they got their business off the ground. I am there to make sure they have best practices in place and to support them.”

Cober is also a sought-after media influencer who provides her expertise to an array of local and national media in the form of on-air interviews, print editorials, advice columns and expert quotes. She is a regular small business contributor for American Express Open Forum, Black Enterprise and Citibank’s Women and Co., and she serves as a regular on-air small business consultant for Fox 5 DC and WJLA-TV’s NewsChannel 8.

And she’s a mentor for SCORE and an instructor for the “Emerging Leaders Initiative,” two programs that are affiliated with the Small Business Administration.

A Positive Point of View

Cober says that it can be difficult for people to switch things up after devoting several years, and lots of money, to pursue a law or graduate degree. “It’s really hard when you are finally working in your career and it’s not what you thought it would be,” she said. “But my parents were awesome when I was faced with stressful circumstances with my jobs. They are two of the most encouraging, supporting and optimistic people. They trusted my judgement, and to have that kind of support behind me during transitional times turned fear into faith and helped me believe in myself again.”

“CEO of my Soul” is Cober’s way of helping others. She stresses that obstacles are “not the end of the road, but simply the end of a chapter in your book.”

In addition to professional challenges, Cober experienced several personal struggles that caused additional stress.

“What worked for me was loving God, loving myself, and loving others – in that order,” she said. “I had been out of alignment, putting jobs and relationships at the forefront. Once I stepped back and prioritized in a different way, I had a different outcome. That’s when I was able to truly find inner peace and was able to move forward.”

Self-love is essential for success, Cober said. “We are all on a journey, we are all doing the best we can. Instead of listening to that critical voice inside, you need to focus on learning lessons from your failures so that you can move forward in life. Being kinder to yourself, forgiving yourself, and getting a support system in place will help you move on,” she said.

Cober’s book is due to be released on May 2. Learn more about Cober and her book at http://niccober.com/

Joshua Prager: Wisdom from great writers on every year of life

As different as we humans are from one another, we all age along the same great sequence, and the shared patterns of our lives pass into the pages of the books we love. In this moving talk, journalist Joshua Prager explores the stages of life through quotations from Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, William Trevor and other great writers, set to visualizations by graphic designer Milton Glaser. “Books tell us who we’ve been, who we are, who we will be, too,” Prager says.

Test 1

This is my first post!Desmos_Warriors_Emblem_Goss

Please create your own image from Desmos like the one above.


April 26, 2016

Brief Poll – We need your opinion

We are currently redesigning our new website and would value your feedback.

Attention Junior Parents – Who is the Lucky Winner?

reserved_parkingAttention Junior Parents – Who is the Lucky Winner?

Is Your Student Dreaming of a Parking Spot?

After much anticipation….we are pleased to announce that Walter Keast has won the drawing. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets.

Didn’t win? Is your student still dreaming about having a Student Parking Spot in the Quad? Your student can sleep in a few extra minutes with a reserved spot waiting for them only steps from the school’s front door.

Here’s your second chance! The Online Auction is open for bidding on a second reserved parking spot in the quad. Don’t miss out! The auction closes at midnight on April 29th.

Questions regarding the drawing or auction? Contact Cathy McFann at cmcfann@bishopodowd.org or (510) 553-8632.

Note: This parking spot is valid for one senior during the 2016-2017 school year.
Bid here »

Senior Parents – Who is the Lucky Winner?


Dreaming of Reserved, Up-Close Graduation Seats?

After much anticipation….we are pleased to announce that Louis Mischeaux has won the drawing. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets.

Didn’t win? Still dreaming of being the family in the Reserved, Up-Close Graduation Seats? No waiting in line! No wondering if Grandma will get a seat! No stress on Graduation Morning!

Here’s your second chance! The Online Auction is open for bidding on a second set of 6 reserved, up-close seats at the Paramount Theater for the Class of 2016 Graduation Ceremony. Don’t miss out! The auction closes at midnight on April 29th.

Questions regarding the drawing or auction? Contact Cathy McFann at cmcfann@bishopodowd.org or (510) 553-8632.

Note: These 6 reserved seats are in addition to the 8 seats each senior family will receive. All 14 seats will be together in an up-close location.

*For questions regarding graduation, please contact Ms. Saunders at ssaunders@bishopodowd.org

Click to bid »

Class of 2020 Welcomed to O’Dowd

Members of Bishop O’Dowd High School’s Class of 2020 gathered together as a group for the first time at the new student orientation, “Navigating O’Dowd,” held on campus April 23. The program is designed to help students achieve a smooth transition into high school, and to educate parents about O’Dowd’s programs and services.

The event began in the large gymnasium, where President Steve Phelps and Principal Pam Shay welcomed the parents and students, and Associated Student Body President Sean Lee talked about his O’Dowd experience.


The students then headed to the football field, where current O’Dowd students engaged them in fun, team-building activities. Their parents, meanwhile, remained in the large gym where they participated in a parallel orientation session that featured presentations by administrators, teachers and counselors.


After the formal program, the students and their parents had an opportunity to meet with faculty, staff, students and coaches who were at informational tables in the annex and on the Quad. They also had a chance to purchase Dragon logo wear.



April 25, 2016

Actor Profile-Taylor Daniel


Role: Cassie Ferguson
Year In School: Sophomore
Theater Experience:
“I was Little Inez in Hairspray here at O’Dowd. I do a lot of outside theater.”

Describe your role in A Chorus Line.
“I play a well known dancer who everyone thought would become a star. She had a previous relationship with the director, Zach, that didn’t end well. This relationship complicates her audition dynamic.”

What themes and/or subject matter of the show attract you?
“The idea that so many different people with different backgrounds can find comfort and love in the same industry.”


What challenges, acting, singing, or dancing, does this production present?
“I would have to say all three; singing, dancing and acting. That’s actually my favorite part about the show. You have to work hard to be excellent in all three disciplines.”

Describe life as a BOD Drama Student?
“Life as a BOD drama student is extremely exciting. The kids in the drama program are very enthusiastic and so talented. Everyone is so much fun to be around.”

Career Day Encourages Students to Plan for the Future


When Michael Goorjian ’89 was offered a chance to audition with a local community theater company as a middle schooler, he jumped on it. Not because he had a particular interest in acting, but because the opportunity offered a chance to get out of class.

Later, when Goorjian got to high school and attended his first O’Dowd play, he was inspired. He quickly immersed himself drama, starring in multiple shows during his four years on campus, including Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell and The Wiz.

Today, Goorjian is an Emmy-award winning actor, filmmaker and writer. He’s starred in dozens of films and televisions shows, and is probably best known for his role as Justin, Neve Campbell’s love interest on the Golden Globe winning series Party of Five, as well as Heroin Bob in the film SLC Punk.

In a nod to his alma mater, portions of his first major independent film, Illusion, in which he directed and starred alongside Kirk Douglas, were filmed at O’Dowd.


Currently, Goorjian is a member of the cast of an HBO film that will be released later this year, The Wizard of Lies, starring Robert De Niro, and is set to release his debut novel, Beatrice, in October.

Goorjian was one of more than 40 professionals who participated in O’Dowd’s Career Day, held on April 22.

Junior students were able to choose from various presentations by alumni, parents and members of the community who discussed careers in many fields, including architecture, engineering, business, finance, health care, technology, law enforcement, journalism and marketing.

Goorjian talked about the importance of having passion for your work. “Fame is not why you should get involved in the entertainment industry,” he said. “Try to remember what you love and have that be what drives you.”

Carl Ballantine ’17 recently played the same role as Goorjian did while a high school student – Billy Bibbit – in an O’Dowd production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ballantine enjoyed hearing about Goorjian’s career journey.

“I was impressed with the diversity of work he’s done,” Ballantine said. “It’s great to have someone in that depth in the industry that came from O’Dowd. It’s inspiring.”

After their presentations, the Career Day speakers were invited to join faculty members and staff for lunch in the theater lobby.

Career Day speakers included:

Kris Drobocky Baitoo ’88 (business consulting)
Adele Moore Berry ’89 (branding consultant, creative director, entrepreneur)
Megan Boddum ’00 (educational app development)
Louie Brandt ’85 (law enforcement)


Jesse Byrd ’05 (business/writing)
Jamilla Churchill RN, BSN, MSN ’95 (nursing)
Damon Covington ’91 (firefighter)
James Cunningham (mobile technology)
Shana Daum (sports media/public relations)


Isabelle Dupont ’06 (Facebook)
Sabrina Farrell ’90 (law-prosecution)
Christopher Fee, M.D., ’89 (emergency medicine)
Cynthia Ferrari (marriage and family counselor)
Matt Foley ’95 (deputy district attorney)
Special Agent Peter French ’84 (law enforcement-FBI)
Gerald Gallardo ’98 (firefighter/paramedic)
Michael Goorjian ’89 (acting, filmmaking, writing)
Michael Haas (engineering-renewable energy)
David Green ’03 (firefighter)
Erin Jaeb (art and design)


R. Patrick Malkassian ’89 (international business)
Susi Marzuola, AIA, LEED BD+C (architect)
Anne McFarland, LCSW (social worker)
Brice McKeever ’90 (business/marketing)
Gina Nasrah ’94 (physical therapist)
David Olmos (journalism-print)


Meredith Parry (corporate law)
Dan Oppenheimer (biotech/business)
Jaseon Outlaw, Ph.D. ’96 (clinical psychologist and university administrator)
Matt Powers ’99 (geological engineering)
Michelle Prior-Alameda (fashion design and merchandising)
Katrece Raine ’89 (hospitality industry)
Steve Sciamanna ’74 (chemical engineering)
Brian Shaw ’83 (sports)
Molly Promes Swenson ’97 (architecture/project management)
Debra Waterhouse (nutrition and counseling)
Mark Wayland ’88 (computer software sales)
Dr. Kirsten Williams (veterinary medicine)
Anne Woods (finance and accounting)
Dana Ciraulo Young ’83 (public relations)
Nora Garcia Zepeda (medicine)

Jesse Byrd – Tips for Working at Google

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Finding God in All Things

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