Homelessness awareness raised and student empathy developed during VDHS encampment

Verbum Dei High School students raised awareness through a poster campaign and the experience of sleeping outside on campus November 20-22.  Weather conditions ranged from cold to wet and cold for the 23 students and their chaperones who put themselves into the shoes of the homeless and listened to the story of a formerly homeless mother.  “A number of our students have a better understanding that each individual’s story is different,” said Karen Chambers of Campus Ministry.  “We don’t know those stories, and so it’s not for us to judge someone based on what they look like or what circumstances they’re in.”  Photo by Karen Chambers, Campus Ministry.

Alumnus Price leads Georgetown University tour

David Price (far right), VDHS Class of 2010, leads his Verb brothers on a tour of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he attends classes as a sophomore.  Twelve students and three faculty chaperones were in the nation’s capitol from November 11-15 for the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In, a social justice symposium and protest action.  Photo by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei.

“Golden Keys,” “Blue Notes,” and soloists to sing holiday classics in first Christmas concert

By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

Two choral ensembles will present Verbum Dei High School’s inaugural  “Christmas at the Verb” concert on December 2, 2011 at 7 P.M. in the Multi-Purpose Room. “This concert will feature the very first performance of the newly-formed  choir, the Golden Keys, several great pieces by the Blue Notes, and feature solo numbers by our very own choir members,” said EJ Vieyra, choir director. “It promises to be a great night of music and fun – just in time to get you into the Christmas spirit.”

The performance will include perennial Christmas favorites including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and “White Christmas.”

The JEDIS (student campus ministry) will sell hot chocolate and cookies.

Suggested donation for the concert is $5 for adults and $2 for children.  All proceeds benefit the VDHS choirs.

Verb in Action walk in “homeless” shoes at LMU

On November 3, 10 Verb in Action students spent the night outside on the Loyola Marymount University campus as part of LMU’s annual Homeless Awareness Week.  The students listened to the stories of formerly homeless speakers and learned that the story of every homeless person is very different.  Verb in Action also developed a small insight as to what it might be like to be homeless, as participants, sleeping on cardboard, were awakened by a slight rain at 5 A.M.  Pictured (from left to right) are Verb seniors Uriel Ceja, Luis Cardenas, Juan Medina, and Eddie Molina.  Photograph by Karen Chambers, Campus Ministry

11 Physics students catapult to understanding











Physics teacher Edward Hairston (left) stood in the line of fire as the partnership of senior students Jonathan Fitzgerald (left) and Rory Riggs(right) manned their catapult and fired volleys of water balloons in a unique applied science project that took aim November 1 on the Verbum Dei High School athletic field.  Photos by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei.

By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

If one were to have passed by the Verbum Dei High School soccer and football practice field on Tuesday afternoon, November 1, he or she might have thought that a siege was underway.  Various designs of catapults and their able crews lobbed projectiles toward targets, namely a tire and then a person.  The project, a throwback to the Middle Ages, was actually a practical application in two-dimensional projectile motion undertaken by Mr. Edward Hairston’s Physics class.

“It was a difficult task, but not only did it make physics fun, but it also strengthened our relationship as a class,” said senior Uriel Ceja.  “The competition was fierce, but the comradary made everything so much more enjoyable.”

The competition was spirited, particularly when the target changed from a tire placed in the field to Hairston himself.  As students lobbed water balloons in his general direction, the dynamic teacher, sporting protective eye wear, stood unflinchingly in the line of fire.

”This project was mainly to increase student enthusiasm and involvement in STEM fields [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math], and I think that that was a success,” said Hairston.  Individuals and teams were challenged to design and build catapults capable of hurtling a tennis ball a minimum of 10 meters (approximately 33’).  Additionally, students were required to employ Kinematical equations to calculate the trajectories of their weapons. Of the 11 students in the Physics class, all but four chose to collaborate on design and operation of the catapults.  The student efforts will be evaluated on design, accuracy, and teamwork, said Hairston.

Despite the prolonged siege, the only casualty of the afternoon was a substantial, but inherently weak, wooden catapult which disintegrated in early use.  “The wood was no match for the sheer power that was torquing it,” said Hairston.