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Counting Our Blessings: A Thanksgiving Message from President Kim Walsh

Dear Dragon Community,

As we approach Thanksgiving I am filled with gratitude for the vibrancy, connection, and community on our campus. Every day, our students are learning, growing, leading, inspiring, performing, competing, advocating, serving, and ultimately thriving. It’s an absolute joy to witness.

In our Interfaith Thanksgiving Liturgy this week, Father Jim Sullivan reminded us about the power of counting our blessings. I watched our students proudly carry banners that represent the faith diversity of our community - Catholic and Orthodox, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Indigenous, Non-Denominational, and more - and was struck by all the ways we practice belonging and interconnectedness at O’Dowd.

I am deeply grateful for the many years I have been blessed to serve this community, and for the abundance of talent, dedication, and faith our faculty/staff, students and alumni bring to building a more just, joyful and sustainable world.

Just this week, one of our alumnus, Damon Covington ’91, was sworn in as Oakland’s Fire Department Chief. “I learned everything I know about serving the community from my O’Dowd education,” he said.

Damon Convington ’91 and O’Dowd President Kim Walsh at his swearing in ceremony, Jack London Square.
Damon Convington ’91 and O’Dowd President Kim Walsh at his swearing in ceremony, Jack London Square.

Also this week, art teacher Thien Pham, who has taught at O’Dowd for over 20 years, was listed in the Washington Post’s “Ten Best Graphic Novels of 2023,” for Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam, which tells the story of his families refugee journey through Thailand to the United States.

And this week, we have a team of students, Jack Kenny ’24, Ariella Garfinkle ’24, and Max Hamilton ’24, who have formally launched FEAR (Fentanyl Education, Action, and Reduction). Their goal is to lead policy change in local school boards and legislatures to prevent Fentanyl overdoses and increase access to safety resources.

There is always so much to be grateful for at O’Dowd. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are courageous, creative, and committed to building a more beautiful world. And each of you, in our Dragon community, help to make O’Dowd stronger, every day. Thank you.

Enjoy your time connecting with friends and family this holiday, Dragons!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Kim Walsh



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