Heartfelt Thanks to Our Legion of Wonderful Volunteers

To all the volunteers who helped our school community this year, the Dragon Parents Board would like to offer a big “Thank You!”

Whether you served on our board, helped at an event, cooked or baked up a storm, drove on trips, stuffed envelopes, tutored our students, acted as a team or mentor parent, you contributed significant support to the school and our kids and we sincerely appreciate it.

Over the past few weeks, Kasia Ekstrand, the Dragon Parents Volunteer Coordinator, and Sophia Bucheli, Campus Ministry Chair, worked together to send handwritten notes to the school’s wonderful volunteers. Sorting through her database (note: which captures many but not all of the projects and events to which parents contribute their time), Kasia started to compile a list of everyone who had volunteered at least twice during the year.

“Before I finished compiling names that started with A and B, I realized that we had hundreds of individuals to recognize,” Kasia said. So she re-prioritized to capture those who volunteered at least four times. Still, an overwhelming list.

The tandem team settled on going as far as they could with their supply of cards, braving writer’s cramp, but realize they missed sending a personal message to many dedicated volunteers. Next year more cards will be ordered and more Board members will participate in this important task

As Kasia put it: “Just let me say this – you are all amazing and make our school community what it is. Thank you again!”


Year in Review: Dragon Parents Board Built a New Foundation

Working together throughout the past school year, the Dragon Parents Board literally reinvented itself to strengthen the connection between O’Dowd program needs and the talents of the parent community, and to create a meaningful sense of community and commitment.

Besides sponsoring a lineup of wonderful hospitality and educational events throughout the school year and launching the Amazon fundraising program, the Dragon Parents Board undertook a strategic realignment of its mission and structure to ensure sustainable outcomes.

Following the success of popular events like TeacherTalks and the Distracted Driving seminar, the Board saw the opportunity to improve its coordination with the school’s Parent Education program. This led to the creation of a dedicated Parent Education Chair who will work closely with O’Dowd parent education program director, Mark Lederer.

Likewise, the Board identified other needs and created additional new Board roles. For example, now individual class-year representatives will focus on the unique needs of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior families. The Board also added a coordinator to promote its merchandising partnership with the school related to sales of parent O’Dowd spirit-gear and making those and other logo gear available at events.

“I am appreciative of the attention to alignment with our school in terms of volunteer actions and advocacy,” said O’Dowd Principal James (J.D.) Childs. “This is such important work on behalf of our school.”

Outgoing Board President Lora Johnson, who served two years during which the Dragon Parents evolved into a well-coordinated and efficient auxiliary in support of the school’s mission, also expressed gratitude and appreciation to fellow board members.

“The service ethic and commitment of the Dragon Parents Board has been truly inspiring to me,” Lora says. “We are now better aligned with the school’s programs and goals, and we’ve identified new talent in the parent body to help us move forward in the coming years.”

The Dragon Parents will celebrate outgoing members and welcome newly confirmed executives, chairs, and coordinators this week.


TBD for school year 2017-18.


TeacherTalks@O’Dowd Reveals Our Faculty’s Passions

Organized by the Dragon Parents, the second annual TeacherTalks@O’Dowd drew a good crowd to the Theater on the evening of February 15. In the tradition of TED Talks, some of O’Dowd’s esteemed faculty demonstrated their passion for teaching — giving current and prospective parents a better appreciation about what’s really happening in the classrooms and performance spaces at school. Following a welcome reception, the program included a rousing performance of a scene from the hit Broadway show Hamilton. There were also interactive art exercises, a discussion about the nature of matter, mathematical tips on making the most of our busy schedules, and a discussion about race and society.It Can Wait-Distracted Driver Program Comes to O’Dowd »

2017-18/2018-19 Dragon Parents Board* Announced

Thanks and congratulations to the dedicated parents listed below who have been confirmed as Dragon Parents Board members for 2017-18/2018-19. Questions? Contact dragonparents@bishopodowd.org.

Molly Natsues**
Vice President Kim Hoglund
Secretary Christine Make
Treasurer Courtney Shepler
Communications Chair
Skip Fogarty**
Development Chair Chris Bunn**
Parent Education Chair Almetria Vaba
Volunteer Chair Kasia Ekstrand**
Hospitality Co-Chairs Nicole Paez**& Mary Schirmer**
Kairos Reception Coordinator
Anna Raphael**
Retail Coordinator Sheron Campbell
Arts Representative Andrew Danish**
Freshman Mentor Parent Laura Post**
Program Coordinator
Freshman Class Representative Peggy Desler
Sophomore Class Representative Abby Franklin
Junior Class Representative Tere Hanson**
Senior Class Representative Lisa Thompson
Tech Support Sunny Lal**


*Executive and Chair roles are elected roles with term limits; Coordinator and Representative roles do not have term limits.
**Continuing board members; some in new roles

Dragon Parents Board Meetings

Our meetings are open to all interested parents and are normally conducted on the second Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Join us in the Tutoring Center adjacent to the Library, using the entrance facing the Quad. Here’s the full schedule for 2016-17 including links to minutes and agendas.
September 21 (Kickoff Meeting & Social)
October 12 (Meeting Minutes)
November 9 (Meeting Minutes)
No meeting in December
January 11 (Meeting Minutes)
March 22 (Meeting Minutes)
April (Meeting Cancelled)
May 11 (for Board members; outgoing and new member celebration)

If you have a specific topic you’d like to discuss with the Board, please send an email to dragonparents@bishopodowd.org.

Programs Sponsored by Dragon Parents

Freshman Parent Mentor Program
All freshman parents at O’Dowd are assigned to a volunteer parent “mentor” who knows the ropes at our school. They provide monthly email updates about what’s going on for your kids at school, and everything you need to know to make sure they’re prepared. Download the latest letter for December 2016 »

O’Dowd is excited about its new partnership with Carpool-to-School, the online carpool service that’s fast, easy, secure, and exclusive to the O’ Dowd community. This partnership comes after a school-wide transportation survey, co-sponsored by the Dragon Parents Group, uncovered an opportunity to increase the number of daily carpoolers (from 32% to at least 50%). Let’s make it happen! Make a positive impact on the environment by registering today»


 O’Dowd receives a generous percentage of your purchase amounts when you access the Amazon marketplace through this Dragon Parents webpage. Please bookmark this page, share it with friends and family, and remember to start your Amazon shopping here on the school website. It turns shopping into an act of giving!

Shop now »



When you shop, online or locally, merchants give back to O’Dowd.
To register:

  • Go to www.escrip.com »
  • Search “Bishop O’Dowd High School” or ID #139840033
  • Click “Sign Up”
  • Register

2015-16/2016-17 Dragon Parents Board


Pictured left to right (Click here for individual bios): Susan Andres (O’Dowd Marketing Director & DP liaison), Tere Hanson, Molly Natsues, Jacqui Diaz, Mary Schirmer, Nicole Paez, Lora Johnson, Ben Sparks, Andrew Danish, Ron Brown, Kelly Parker, Skip Fogarty. Not pictured: Sophia Bucheli, Kasia Ekstrand, Chris Bunn, Sunny Lal

What Do the Dragon Parents Do?

Our children’s academic, spiritual, emotional and social growth during their time at O’Dowd is supported by a dedicated team of people: faculty, administrators, coaches, and of course — us, the parents!  The Dragon Parents believe this special combination of people, talent, and commitment is what makes our school community so strong and vibrant.

Our primary focus is engaging the parent community to support and increase O’Dowd’s capacity to deliver the exceptional programs and events which are so valuable to our students. Many important school initiatives are boosted by “volunteer power.”

Specific programs initiated by Dragon Parents include: freshman mentor parent newsletters, teacher appreciation events, parent mixers, TeacherTalks@O’Dowd and much more.

We’ve seen that every parent has something unique to contribute and that your participation enhances the educational experience of every student.  Of course, we always welcome your ideas about our programs and goals. Please send these to dragonparents@bishopodowd.org.

Get Involved
There are many ways to help our students, faculty and school by volunteering your time and talents.  When you registered your student(s), you indicated your volunteer interests.  The Dragon Parents volunteer coordinator will notify you when appropriate opportunities arise. If you’re eager to get started, email volunteer@bishopodowd.org.

  • Help to plan or volunteer at the Crab & Pasta Feed
  • Bake brownies for prospective families
  • Chaperone a college trip with the Career Partnership Program
  • Spend a day at a homeless shelter with the sophomores
  • Be a team parent for a sports team
  • Serve as a freshman mentor parent
  • Cook a pot of soup for the teachers
  • Help with visual art, drama and music happenings
  • Share career advice at an Evening with the Professionals
  • Help with tutoring, counseling, mailings, or administrative tasks
  • Take photos at events

Contact Us

The best way to reach the Dragon Parents is at dragonparents@bishopodowd.org. Our Communications Chair will route your idea or question to the appropriate board member.