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placeholder September 22, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic High Schools Information Guide

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, blesses the new Center for Environmental Studies.
Courtesy photo

Bishop blesses, dedicates O'Dowd's
Center for Environmental Studies

The recently completed Center for Environmental Studies, the visual centerpiece of Bishop O'Dowd High School's expansive science program, commitment to sustainability and, most importantly, a reflection of the school's Kinship with Creation, was blessed and dedicated by the Most Rev. Michael C. Barber, SJ, bishop of Oakland, on Sept. 5.

Prior to the blessing and dedication, Bishop Barber visited several O'Dowd classrooms, talking with students about his work as a Jesuit, Navy chaplain and reservist, and presided over the opening school liturgy, the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

After Mass, a representative group of faculty, staff members and students, along with invited guests, gathered on the patio of the CES where the O'Dowd chorus performed "Bless This House."

O'Dowd President Steve Phelps welcomed attendees, including Assemblymember Robert Bonta, D-Oakland, and Jonathan Gast, aide to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who presented Phelps a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition honoring O'Dowd's commitment to environmental science and sustainability education.

Project architects Susi Marzuola, Larry Strain and Karen Richards, of Siegel & Strain, were also on hand for the event.

O'Dowd Board of Regents Chairperson Kim Walsh said the creation of the CES was a true community effort.

"As you know, a project like this doesn't come together without the commitment and determination of an entire community — and today we bear witness to the generosity, compassion and dedication of our amazing O'Dowd community," she said.

Principal Pam Shay said it wasn't too long ago that a similar group stood in the same area, breaking ground for the CES.

Today, the CES is in constant use and students have exciting new curriculum options, such as AP human geography. Additionally, science faculty members are immersed in developing an introductory science course for the Class of 2019, Shay said.

As he blessed and dedicated the CES, Bishop Barber said, "We dedicate this building to the education of youth, to the progress of the sciences, to the study of the earth and the environment and to learning. Make it become a center for students and teachers imbued with the words of truth that search for the wisdom that guides our lives and strive wholeheartedly to stand by Christ as their teacher who lives and reigns forever and ever."

Finally, Living Lab Director Annie Prutzman and several students participated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting, officially marking the opening of the CES.

Learn more about the CES, Living Lab and O'Dowd's sustainability efforts at www.bishopodowd.org.

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