Eagles bow to Bishop Montgomery 21-14

By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

In what could be billed as a defensive showdown in the Del Rey League opener, the Verbum Dei Eagles fell to the Bishop Montgomery Knights 14-21 September 30 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles’ Rancho Cienega Park.  Touchdowns were far and few between, and the defensive lines and rushing of both squads kept the scoreboard barren for nearly the entire first half.  Senior Full back Avery Crump plowed past the line of scrimmage to score one of the Eagles two touchdowns in the second half.

Bishop Montgomery, defending Del Rey League champions, effectively utilized on-side kicks numerous times to maintain possession, while the Eagles struggled to adapt to this strategy.  The Eagles’ offense was primarily based on a running game; Verb’s passing game, so devastating to their opponents in earlier pre-league games, was largely absent Friday.  Turnovers occurred with frequency.

When the Knights lost possession on downs after a failed 37-yard field goal attempt, the Eagle offense had a glimmer of hope for victory with a final down-field march in the last minutes of the game.  The Eagles made a valiant drive toward a mid-field first down with a series of punchy running plays gaining 4-5 yards each, but the clock was against the offensive squad.  The possession returned to Bishop Montgomery on downs with less than minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

The 3-2-0 overall Eagles will take on Bosco Tech October 8 in their second of six league games.

LSU churro-eating contest won ably by junior

Various techniques and strategies marked the Latino Student Union’s churro-eating contest September 30.  Most contestants took a one-by-one approach, while others attempted to eat the four churros simultaneously in Pan-Flute style (see upper left).  The contest and Jamba Juice gift card were won by junior Jorge Contreras, who consumed four churros faster than any of his competitors.  Photo by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

“History Maker” Dr. Benjamin Wright, noted pop and R&B arranger, shares passion for music

By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

“No matter what you’re doing, you can’t look over your shoulder; there’s always someone badder than you,” said musical arranger/producer/studio owner Dr. Benjamin Wright.  Wright began his September 23 presentation by asking the audience if anyone lived in Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Encino, or Malibu.  Seeing no raised hands, he said, “We will not allow that to become a stumbling block, but to become an incentive to work harder.”  Wright spoke to Verbum Dei students and staff as part of the History Makers program, a national effort to acknowledge the role of African-Americans in history.

Wright came to Los Angeles from Greenville, MS to pursue a career in the music industry.  “Surround yourself with quality people,” said Wright, who has worked with many luminaries of the pop and R & B genres including Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson,  Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Outkast,  and Justin Timberlake.  Wright asked Verb students if they worked 9-5 jobs daily, paid rent, were married, or had children of their own.  Hearing nothing, Wright said, “Then there is no excuse – your job is going to school and making As.”   “Music was my whole life; nothing else mattered,” said Wright of his school years.  “I became an honor student because I didn’t want to lose band.”

“We wanted to play what was on the radio at the football games,” said Wright.  “If you want to play the Number 1 song, then go write it,” replied Wright’s high school band director.  While the sound was admittedly terrible to his ears, Wright was inspired to study arrangement for his career.  “The reaction from the crowd was so appreciative,” admitted Wright.  “It did something to me.”   Wright, who returned to school later in life, attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music when he felt he needed to expand his knowledge into symphonic arrangement.

History Makers’ theme for 2011-2012 is “Commit,” and the organization has recruited more than 500 prominent African-Americans to inspire commitment in American youth.  The program will be heard by 25,000 students from 37 states and 30 cities throughout the United States.

Jewish and Israeli soph students visit the Verb

Junior Verb gentlemen Clifford Simms, Eduardo Ramirez, Emmanuel Caceres, and Christopher Gomez host local Jewish and Israeli sophomores during September 21 visit.  Photo by Karen Chambers

By Jared Rhaburn, Class of 2013

On September 21 Verbum Dei had students from New Community Jewish High School in West Hills came to the campus, a visit which most students say they will never forget. The group was comprised of a mix of students from “New Jew,” the nickname the American students have for their school, and foreign exchange students from Israel. The entire group was made up of sophomore students. Only good memories and new friendships came out of the experience.

The Verb gentlemen and visiting students interacted in a socially active environment, which allowed the students to learn more about each other and to have fun.  As well as connecting on an intellectual level, many of the students started to connect right off the bat through mainstream culture. Everyone from the teachers to the students could find someway to relate to the new people that they met. Students found that a plethora of the students had a love for Bob Marley and the different types of his songs. Each person learned something and had the opportunity to ask something about each another’s culture.

Some students learned about “Pesach,” or Passover; Verb students were in awe at the fact that their new friends get three weeks off for this holiday.  However, they mostly learned that the main reason for the holiday is to celebrate the Hebrew people’s liberation from the Egyptian pharaoh.  This truly rich experience allowed everyone to experience such diversity.

Back to School Dance draws Verb gents/guests

Local high school students enjoy music and dancing at Verbum Dei’s Back to School Dance on September 16. Photo by Joseph Sanchez

By Max Barnes, Staff Writer

Verbum Dei’s Annual Back to School Dance brought in a record number of students to the Multi-Purpose Room on September 16. Students must have had no problem spreading the word about this event as Verbum Dei collected over $2,000 in entrance fees.

Students were surprised to note that most attendees came from schools outside of our local community, but local schools showed their support as well.  As a result, the dance allowed for various cultures to come together for a night to socialize, to dance, and just to have all around fun. Throwing glow jewelry about the MPR, DJ Atomic turned out to be a pretty good success as he scratched a handful of different music for students and guests to enjoy.  Lighting effects and a smoke generator contributed to the party atmosphere.

Verb’s Homecoming Dance is slated for Saturday, October 22.

Latino Student Union seeks in-kind donations

By Orlando Vargas, Latino Student Union

The Latino Student Union (LSU) at Verbum Dei High School is accepting donations of personal hygiene items to assemble care packages for the Guadalupe Homeless Project (GHP) of Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights. Any donations of the following items would be greatly appreciated: backpacks, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, soap, deodorant, and shampoo. Donations should be dropped off by September 30 to the Campus Ministry Office or to Ms. Villanueva’s office.

“We would also like to give a big shout out to Sister Marilyn [Ficht, RSHM] for her generous donations to our cause,” wrote Orlando Vargas, LSU member. “Sister Marilyn, you rock!”

The on-campus organization is proud to announce that the students participating in the October Service Plunge will cook dinner and socialize with the GHP men on one of the three nights.

Verbum Dei Varsity Eagles triumph over Animo South LA High School in first football outing

Eagle Wide Receiver Dylan Hall flys above rival defensemen during Verbum Dei’s 41-0 victory over the Animo South Los Angeles High School Panthers September 3. Photo by Joseph Sanchez

By Billy Paredes, Staff Writer; Daniel McDonald, Contributing Writer

The Verbum Dei Varsity Eagles enjoyed a triumphant victory of 41-0  over Animo South Los Angeles High School on September 3. The pressure was on in Verbum Dei’s season opener, but the Eagles were able to build confidence by scoring the first touchdown on the opening kickoff.

After two consecutive turnovers on four downs, the Eagles pulled ahead tremendously. “Our guys were hungry to hit a different team, tired of hitting each other,” said Offensive Line Coach Jason Miller.  Running Back Anthony Charles was selected by the coaching staff as player of the week.

“This was a great start to our season; I hope to see that the team is able to ride the momentum a long way,” said Verbum Dei Principal Dr. O’Connell following the game. “However, our Eagles must remember to learn from their mistakes in this game, continue to practice to a high standard, and, most importantly, remember not [to] let the victory get to their heads and stay focused.”

Among the faculty attending the game was teacher and Verbum Dei Drumline Coach and Moderator, Mr. Victor Cancino. “I hope to see both the Varsity Eagles and Drumline build confidence from their performances today,” said Cancino.  “Staying united and focused is also crucial. I also hope that our students do not become over confident and remain determined at the task at hand.”

The Varsity Eagle football team will face Santa Ana Valley High School Saturday, September 10 at the Santa Ana Stadium.  Game time is 7:00 P.M.

Verb’s artists sought for VOA mural contest

Verb students contributed to the creation of this mural in Boyle Heights as a community service project in conjunction with the 2008 Peace Jam, held on the Loyola Marymount University campus. Photo by John Stradley, Present Dei Moderator

Art teacher Ms. Vella has entered Verbum Dei in a mural contest sponsored by Volunteers of America. This art contest is open to all Verb students. If any student is interested in participating, he can contact Ms. Vella via email at avella@verbumdei.us for more information. Students can also register on their own on line by September 30 at www.voala.org . There is an entry fee of $25 for each student; however, Ms. Vella is working with the contest organizers to have those fees waived. Contact Ms. Vella for more information about this great opportunity.

Jesuit Excellence Tour alights at Verbum Dei

Senior Darrin Cottrell speaks with a representative of Creighton University of Omaha, NE at the September 14 Jesuit Excellence Tour stop in the VDHS Gymnasium.  College Guidance Director Martinique Belgarde related that the JET Coordinator and university representatives were heard to comment that Verbum Dei remains the best high school that they visit on the entire tour.  Photo by Stephanie Andrade, Development Department