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Jesuit High School

Principal's Blog

In this blog, Principal Paul Hogan will regularly share with us his insights and observations. We hope you enjoy Paul's posts!

MaxPreps and the Magis

Fr. JK Adams, SJ reminds us regularly that the “core sin of Ignatius in his youth was vainglory—so all of us at Jesuit schools have to be on guard against that.” Vainglory means “excessive elation or pride over one's achievements or abilities” (dictionary.com).

Father, forgive me, for I am about to demonstrate excessive elation and deep pride in the achievements and abilities of the student-athletes at Jesuit High. But I know that St. Ignatius too would be proud of “his kids.”

This week, Jesuit High School of Portland, Oregon was named the top high school athletic program in the country, based on our teams’ overall performance in the 2015-16 school year. Just to be clear, that means Number. One. In. The. U.S.A.!! To place this achievement in appropriate context, there are over 37,000 private and public secondary schools in the US.

Click here for the official announcement, which includes some fun video footage from last year’s state championship football system.

Jesuit’s teams again won the 6A All-Sports Award, which tallies up a school’s total number of playoff points across all varsity sports. We also learned this week that Jesuit’s student body has again won the Oregonian Cup, for the 12th time since the award’s inception in 1999. On August 9, we received this letter from the OSAA:

Congratulations again to your school for being named the OSAA Oregonian Cup 6A winner for the 2015-16 year! This award is the highest award given by the OSAA and exemplifies overall excellence in academics, activities and athletics. It honors your students, teachers, coaches and the entire school community and is a reflection of the hard work, dedication and passion your school represents.

The final Oregonian Cup standings are available at www.osaa.org/awards. Congratulations on winning this prestigious award. Your community, students, faculty, coaches and administrators should be extremely proud of your accomplishments this year.

We are fortunate to have coaches who are knowledgeable, fully committed to our mission, and who know how to get young people to buy in to a team-first ethic in a me-first world. Many of them, including the majority of our head coaches, are full-time, on-campus Jesuit educators. We have talented student-athletes who know that hard work will trump talent every time, especially in high school. We also are blessed with fantastically supportive parents, alums, teachers, and other boosters.

So, yes, we are bursting with pride over the achievements of our student-athletes and their coaches. But more than trophies and the accolades our teams have earned, we are particularly proud of the manner in which our student-athletes played all those thousands of games. For the second year in a row, Jesuit had no ejections or red cards in OSAA sports. I believe our friends at St. Mary’s Academy are the only other 6A school with a similar ejection-free record for 2015-16. As Peter Weber of the OSAA told our student body last year, that level of sportsmanship is extremely rare at a school of Jesuit’s size.

So let us celebrate, not with vainglory and chest-beating, but with humility—and gratitude. Our students and coaches know that all of their efforts towards achieving the magis and seeking age quod agis are carried out ad majorem dei gloriam (if you know what I mean!).

Paul Hogan

Photo (top) of "frosh football in the rain" by Ramsey Sullivan

Posted by etuenge on Thursday August 11
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Double Dig It

Just when we needed it most, some very good news came last week, from the usual source—Jesuit students—wrapped in wonder, hope, and some deep math deductive digging and scientific service.

So, sit back and prepare to feel some positive vibrations. Let me introduce you first to Mr. Chaitanya Karamchedu of the Jesuit Class of 2017 (pictured at right - at Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair this May). During his three years at Jesuit, Chai has tackled questions that perplex the scientific community and challenge humankind’s survival.

When I contemplate the paucity of clean, accessible water for millions around the world, I shake my head in despair and pray for a solution.

Not Chai. Chai set about figuring out a solution. Read this wonderful Valley Times article about Chai’s innovative approach to freeing the water molecules in the ocean in order to provide a low-cost method of creating fresh water.

On his way to India to visit family this summer, Chai was invited to an IEEE conference in Beijing to present a paper on a different topic: complex plant growth. Chai was the only high schooler invited to one of the world’s most important conferences for geoscience. Amazing!

Along with rising junior Arnob Das, Chai also earned high honors and rubbed elbows with Nobel laureates in science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May. ISEF is where Chai’s water desalination techniques turned heads across the globe.

Says Chai of his recent experiences: “While at ISEF, we spoke to professionals, but we were mainly with our peers—kids very interested in science. The IEEE experience was much more professional, with a different caliber of scientists. I felt like a muggle at Hogwarts!”

Speaking of global head-spinning, meet Ashwin Sah ’17 (second from left in photo above, taken at the International Math Olympiad in Hong Kong this summer). Those of us on campus know Ashwin as one of Dr. Gorman’s math whizzes—and a funny, caring, lovely young man. As a freshman, Ashwin moved immediately past Calculus BC into Dr. Gorman’s Discrete Mathematics class. Dr. Gorman has long regarded Ashwin as a special young man, with not only a head for mathematics, but the heart and fortitude to pursue his gift as far as it would take him.

Says Dr. Gorman of Ashwin, “I enjoying telling people about Ashwin because of the person he is, and not only because of his mathematical skills. I want other students to be inspired by Ashwin to develop their own unique talents.”

In early July, Ashwin’s math skills brought him to Hong Kong as one of the six members of the US Math Olympiad team. That means that Ashwin is one of the top six math students in the whole US (!). He was selected from the hundreds of thousands of secondary students who participate in high-level math competitions around the US each year—an already elite crew of mathematicians.

We hear with some frequency that America is way behind other nations in math. Good news: The US team WON the International Math Olympiad—the premier competition in the world—for the second consecutive year!! Here are a couple of articles from newspapers you may have heard of—the New York Times and Washington Post.

If Ashwin and Chai are the future (and they are!), we have plenty of room for hope. For now, let’s enjoy their present, and their presence among us, and the remarkable gifts they bring to our community and our planet.

Last school year’s theme had to do with digging deep to find meaning in our lives. This summer, Chai and Ashwin are giving us reason to double dig it. Thanks, lads, for giving us bright, shining hope in what has been a tough summer for our nation, and for allowing Jesuit High to bask in the reflected glow of your incandescent intellects.

Paul Hogan
Posted by etuenge on Thursday July 21
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