I recently attended the Archdiocesan Catholic Prayer Breakfast at the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral.  Lou Holtz, former head coach of Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship football team relayed the following story:

As Lou drove up to his home, he remarked to his wife of over 50 years, “Did you ever imagine we would live in such a beautiful house.”  She responded humbly, “Well…it isn’t our house…it is God’s house.”  Fast forward to August of 2015, when the Holtz family home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  Coach Holtz turned to his wife and said, “You think God would take better care of his house!”

Like the Holtz family, Verbum Dei High School is God’s house, and we are just temporary stewards.  Figuratively speaking, sometimes lightning strikes here as well.  Even though this 50 year old institution undergoes continuous upgrades and renovations to provide a safe and comfortable environment conducive to learning and achievement, there are challenges presented to us almost on a daily basis.  Roofs leak after getting sunbaked in the Los Angeles summer heat.  Our fleet of 12 vans require regular maintenance to safely transport Verbum Dei gentlemen to their CWSP worksites, field trips, Christian Service and athletic contests. On occasion, we have to rescue students whose van’s transmission has failed or the battery has died.  Sometimes, we battle fire alarms that mysteriously go off for no apparent reason or discover that a power outage has disabled the air conditioning that keeps the school’s information technology infrastructure from collapsing.

These challenges, daunting as they sometime seem, are an opportunity to serve the gentlemen of Verb and its tremendously gifted faculty and staff.  We are truly grateful to all who work and volunteer to make Verbum Dei High School…God’s House…a home for our community.

3 National Championships, 6 State Championships, and 21 CIF Championships

September 15, 2015


3 National Championships, 6 State Championships, and 21 CIF Championships


Competitive athletics are an integral part of the overall educational experience in the development of a Verbum Dei gentleman.  The balance of excellence in academics and athletics is “The Verb Way.”    The program includes Football, Cross Country, Basketball, Soccer, Track & Field, and Volleyball.  Verbum Dei fully supports the CIF’s sportsmanship program:  “Character Counts – Pursuing Victory with Honor.”   


The Characteristics of a Verbum Dei Gentleman Student-Athlete


Competitive Greatness

(Fight with Integrity)

Team Spirit

(Commitment, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Self-Control)


(Optimum Physical Condition which Breeds Discipline Poise, Confidence, and Skill)


(Ad Majorem De Gloriam – For The Greater Glory of God)

Great Place. Great Program. Great People.

Great place. Great program. Great people.

Our Verbum Dei gentlemen are starting their 4th week of internships with the Corporate Work Study Program. Can you believe that! I’m still processing that summer is almost over and the school year is in full swing.

And so, we have managed to seamlessly pull off the start of another academic year. By we, I mean Mashanda, Lizette, Jeff, Joe, Caisen and myself! And, it’s not because we’re pros at what we do, it’s because we have a phenomenal team tirelessly pouring our hearts out to ensure the multi-layered details of our program fall perfectly into place. You’d think doing so gets easier the more we do it, but the start of a new academic year brings about multiple challenges… will our partners show up to our annual job fair, too many freshmen, not enough seniors, will we have sufficient job placements, how many students can we put in a van, and the list goes on and on. Each team member tackles different aspects of this logistical monster and they do it with care, poise and confidence.

The ins-and-outs of the Corporate Work Study Program would be more challenging to undertake were it not for the A-list qualities we possess as a team – organizational expertise, student-centered decision making processes, individual personalities, passion-filled hearts, goal-oriented mentalities, go-getter attitudes, flexible temperaments, and a willingness to strive for departmental success. Sound like I’m bragging? I am. I definitely am. Verbum Dei is a great place with great people.

While we have an entire school year ahead of us, I am certain that it will be a productive one. We can finally sit back, breath and reflect on our undertakings.  No major mishaps or set-backs during the first weeks…well maybe one or two, but manageable and they actually made us chuckle!  We did great team! I am proud of you.

What’s New for the 2015-2016 School Year

What’s New for the 2015-2016 School Year

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.- 2 Corinthians 9:6

Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. – Psalms 126:5

I remember when I was in high school it seemed like every time I turned around someone in my family or at my church wanted to talk to me about the future. “Where do you want to go to college?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Maybe this is happening to our students. Sometimes those questions can be overwhelming.  I have told our students to keep in mind (and in their hearts) that the decisions they make today will impact the choices they have tomorrow. The verse above explains just that. The sacrifices our students make today- to study, attend office hours, persevere in times of struggle- will always, ALWAYS pay off. As we embark on a new school year, let us take heed to the scripture found in 2 Corinthians and Psalms and have faith that God will honor our service, passion, and sacrifice.

In Him,

Dr. Odom Lucas

Interim Principal
Verbum Dei High School


What’s New in 2015/2016

Verbum Dei Writing Lab

The VDHS Writing Lab, open Monday through Thursday from dismissal to 3:45 P.M. in Room 103, is an as-needed resource available to all Verbum Dei gentlemen regardless of grade level.  All students are welcome to work on writing assignments and papers for any course in a focused, productive environment.  VDHS laptops and personal electronic devices may be utilized in the classroom for word processing and research assignments only.  English teacher Mr. Stradley is available during this time for assistance with revision, editing, research, and formatting and citation.  Individualized assistance may be limited depending on the number of students requiring assistance on any given day, but all students should expect to have an opportunity to interact with the teacher on a one-on-one basis when working in the Writing Lab.  No reservations are required; however, as the Writing Lab is available on a first come, first served basis, it is important that students begin long-term assignments early to avoid a last minute rush and to avoid encountering a full Writing Lab.

AP Classes

We are offering a total of 5 AP courses for the 2015-2016 school year. New courses are noted in bold italic.


AP US History                            AP English Literature

Instructor: Jesse Jovel                   Instructor: Ken Favell


AP Calculus                                 AP Government

Instructor: George Chahrouri       Instructor: Maria McDonald


AP Spanish Language

Instructor: Max Olmedo

Invocation at the Reopening of the Martin Luther King Hospital

On August 7, I was invited by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to give the introductory invocation at the reopening of the Martin Luther King Hospital.  Besides the Supervisor, in attendance were Mayor Garcetti, Congress Member Janice Hahn, other dignitaries as well as hundreds of community participants.  I wanted to share my invocation comments with the Verbum Dei community:

  • Verbum Dei
    • Founded in 1962 as a School of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, run by the Society of the Divine Word
    • The Jesuits were asked to assume the leadership of the school in 2000, to build on its proud history and to devise a new model of education:
      • We are a College Prep School for the young men of the Greater Watts Community
      • Every student works one day a week in a corporate office which provides career training and scholarship money.
      • The Verb offers a full range of sports and club activities
      • 100 % of those that graduate are accepted into college.
    • We are dedicated to the students of Watts, and the Verb provides a special education for any young man who has the grit and determination to be successful
    • We are also dedicated to the community of Watts and support every effort that makes life better for all members of the community.
  • Because Verbum Dei is dedicated to the community, I am delighted that Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has asked us to participate in this event today.  The reopening of MLK hospital speaks of a New Day for the hospital and for South Los Angeles.
  • These days especially, we recall the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
  • This year we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Riots/Revolution that occurred in 1965.
  • Whatever we call it, there was some movement forward in civil rights at that time, but there were lots of people hurt in the mayhem.
  • Today, we are experiencing another Civil Rights Moment in this country.
    • What we are celebrating here today is what can happen when people come together not for the destruction of an old order, but the for the building of a New Day
  • The words that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize come to mind on this occasion of the reopening of MLK Hospital.
  • Dr. King stated:
  • “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
    • (December 11, 1964 upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize at which he acknowledged all those who non-violently work for justice)
  • Today is such a moment. So let us pray together as a community:
  • Loving God, bless our efforts today;
    • Bless the doctors and nurses and staff who will work in this facility;
    • Bless the administrators with the wisdom to direct the hospital for the good of all;
    • Bless our civic leaders with compassion and continuing support for these efforts;
    • Bless the community with insight and patience as we move forward together to a New Day.
    • We ask this all in your holy name.
  • Amen