Duchesne Academy will host Catholic high school educators from across the Omaha area for a first-of-its-kind educational technology conference on October 11, at 8:45 a.m. at Duchesne Academy.
This event will include speakers, discussion sessions, and vendors. Kelly Gomez Johnson will deliver the keynote address about equitable teaching and leadership practices in STEM education. Gomez Johnson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Her work and leadership projects have attracted nearly $4 million in funding since 2016.
Presenters and attendees will dive into the topics and funding models that are unique to parochial schools.
“Timely professional development is hard to come by during the school year. By hosting this event on an in-service day, we are providing teachers new tools they can take back to their classrooms the very next day,” said Jason Schlesiger, Duchesne Academy Director of Technology.
The conference will also feature a presentation from Julie Sigmon, Director of the Omaha STEM Ecosystem, a citywide partnership to maximize STEM, learning initiatives encompassing the Greater Omaha area, including 12 school districts.
Other topics include how to create virtual field trips in a post-Covid world, cyber security, incorporating art into STEM curriculum, and establishing sustainability programs.
When I was young I attended public school, which meant going to CCD. (Now it is called Religious Ed.) It also meant that my parents had to be very intentional about raising my brothers and me Catholic.
One of the ways my mom did this was by talking to us about prayer and asking us to pray together, especially in times of trial.
I remember when a well line broke on the farm, my mother gathered us to pray to Mary and ask her to help us find the break so we would have water for the livestock. The first prayer card I received from my mom was of St. Joseph. I remember having a discussion about his role as foster father and the power of praying to him specifically.
Over the years she and I have called, texted or shared in conversations and requests to have each other join in praying to St. Joseph for someone or about a particular issue.
When Pope Francis announced that 2021 was the year of St. Joseph, I was delighted! My mom sent me a whole book of prayers to St. Joseph. Tucked in the pages is the prayer she taught me, years ago, but there are so many other beautiful prayers there too!
I have spent 2021 contemplating the quiet, loyal foster father of our Savior. I love that prayers to St. Joseph are often labeled, ‘for impossible causes’ or ‘difficult situations.’ Guided by the Holy Spirit, St. Joseph faced a difficult situation with kindness and compassion and he was witness to the impossible made possible.
Maria Cruz wanted share part of her culture with her daughter’s classmates. Mrs. Cruz, who is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, prepared on Wednesday a special lunch for students of enchiladas, beans, and rice. Her daughter is Sophia Becerra, A’22.
Maria Cruz leads Duchesne Food Program staff in making enchiladas, rice, and beans, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
The meal was part of Duchesne’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Cruz was excited to celebrate introduce some teens to a new culture through food.
“It represents what we do, what we like, our culture, our food, our traditions, our language,” she said.
Jacqui Caniglia, Duchesne Food Program Manager, was eager to welcome Mrs. Cruz to the kitchen.
“The best part of being down here is when we have our community come in to cook and serve with us,” Caniglia said.
Students were excited to try the authentic food and Mrs. Cruz was happy to serve students and teachers.
“I love Duchesne. I love how they work together, the students with the teachers, and overall they care about each other.”
Seniors Sabrina Sulaymonova and Jackie Barnes each say they had to get creative when they were planning service projects at the start of the school year because many places stopped allowing outside visitors. The two and their classmates decided they would find ways to serve others wherever and however they could.
“Service this year has been a lot of seeing what we can do in our immediate community and really getting our school community involved,” Barnes said.
Barnes partnered with other students to form a UNICEF club. The group offered opportunities for other students to raise awareness about important issues and raise money locally to support UNICEF causes.
“In a lot of my classes we talk so much about the experiences of others and how our actions impact other people. I think that is it special that we are so focused on others while simultaneously discovering ourselves,” Barnes said.
Sulaymonova agrees that identifying their passions enables students to tap into a deeper source of motivation.
“Duchesne taught me to find my passion and ultimately put that toward my service. I learned that service is important because there are so many people in this world who are in need and it is our job as women of the Sacred Heart to assist those people when they are in need,” Sulaymonova said.
Sulaymonova worked with other students to send letters to Religious of the Sacred Heart sisters who were isolated in their homes during severe Covid waves in California.
“My theology classes especially have taught me that God’s love is very impactful and if we can show that to other people we can make a significant impact on people’s lives,” she said.
OMAHA – There are many barriers female athletes face when it comes to competing on an even playing field, but one that many people overlook is access to basic sporting apparel. That is why Duchesne Academy soccer players worked together to collect new sports bras for The Sports Bra Project.
The Sports Bra Project provides new sports bras to girls & women in areas where the lack of access to this basic piece of equipment can prevent participation in sports. The SBP works with a number of different local groups to distribute the bras to girls who need them. The varsity and junior varsity teams collected and donated 54 sports bras to Football for the World Foundation, a local nonprofit that donates soccer equipment to children locally and globally.
“I think a lot of people overlook the fact that undergarments, such as sports bras, really do play a vital role in our daily lives and we can take them for granted. It was really cool to see our teams come together to provide for others who share our same passion for sports,” said Cora Zeger, A’22.
Junior Varsity Head Coach Emily Michaels brought the idea to Duchesne and led the effort.
“I thought it was a unique opportunity for us as an all-girls school to lead a drive for the SBP. As females, we do face more barriers and challenges when it comes to equal opportunities. Having a group of powerful, strong female athletes rally behind this cause is great,” Michaels said.
Varsity Head Coach Lauren Mueller said a major part of Duchesne’s program is service and building community. She and Michaels said they are proud of their players for embracing this project.
“They absolutely see the value in community service and involvement. It is also humbling for us to realize and reflect on the fact that that we do not have the barriers to playing the sport that we love that many other girls and women do,” Mueller said.
The results of this drive have inspired the teams to find more ways to help fellow athletes.
“Although we will never know the exact people that our donations will reach, it is really encouraging to know that other female athletes will get to experience the joy that being a part of a team brings all of us and empowers me to do more,” said Madison Smith, A’21.