Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School
|Bishop O'Connell High School|
|6600 Little Falls Road
Arlington, Virginia 22213
|Oversight||Diocese of Arlington|
|Head of school||Joseph E. Vorbach, III Ph.D.|
|Enrollment||Approx. 1,200 (2008)|
|Student to teacher ratio||14:1|
|Athletics conference||Washington Catholic Athletic Conference|
|Rival||Paul VI Catholic High School|
|Accreditation||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools |
Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School (also known as DJO) is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school founded in 1957 in Arlington County, Virginia. It was established by the Diocese of Richmond, but has been under the direction of the Diocese of Arlington since 1974. The school is named for Bishop Denis J. O'Connell, Bishop of Richmond from 1912 to 1926.
- 1 Academics
- 2 Activities
- 3 Notable alumni
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Footnotes
- 6 External links
Advanced Placement Program
Honors classes are also offered in a variety of academic areas. These courses are offered at the honors level:
Bishop O'Connell High School participates in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). In this league, O'Connell participates in all major sports against other Catholic high schools of the D.C. metro area.
Since the mid-1980s, the school's primary athletic rival has been Paul VI Catholic High School, located in Fairfax. The rivalry has sometimes resulted in high tensions between the schools, due to vandalism incidents and problems at sporting events. In late 2009, tempers flared so high that police action had to be taken to cool the rivalry.
Boys' Varsity Team
These are some statistics from the last five years of O'Connell Varsity Boys' Basketball:
Girls' Varsity Soccer
Boys' Varsity Soccer
The boys' soccer team beat the 19-0-1 DeMatha Stags on October 31, 2006 in the conference quarter-finals. The victory prevented DeMatha, who at one point this season was ranked number 1 in the nation, from winning their 4th straight WCAC title. This resulted in the defeat of DeMatha's 67 game unbeaten streak. The team then lost to Paul VI 2-1 in the semi-final round of the WCAC tournament.
O'Connell has over 60 student-operated clubs. Their focuses are generally academic, charitable, and common interest. These clubs currently include: (listed alphabetically)
The O'Connell Superdance is an annual 12-hour dance-a-thon held at the school which raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Superdance is organized and run by students. It was started under the administration of principal Msgr. James McMurtrie. O'Connell students began holding the Superdance in 1976 because students wanted to speed the discovery of a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF), a fatal disease of the lungs which had claimed the life of sophomore Brenda O'Donnell on April 14, 1975. Her sister Maura was a senior in 1976 and also had cystic fibrosis. Their brother, Sean, died of cystic fibrosis that same year.
Maura graduated and went on to nursing school at Marymount University, continuing to support the Superdance in hopes that a cure would be found. Her last Superdance was in 1978 when she came out of the hospital just for the event. In a speech delivered to the O'Connell community she said:
"All of you I know have dreams – dreams of college, of success, of love and happiness – dreams of the future. We with cystic fibrosis have dreams too. Your wonderful all-out efforts and work for this dance-a-thon may help make some of our dreams come true."
Two months later, she too died of this disease.
Over the past thirty seven years, O'Connell students have raised over $4,000,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. Bishop Denis J. O'Connell's Superdance is the largest high school fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the nation, and one of the largest high school fundraising events in the country.
Chunky Soup Drive
The Chunky Soup Drive is held annually throughout the month of October. Students have a month to collect as many cans of Chunky Soup as possible. At the end of the month, cans are collected and donated to Christ House homeless shelter in Alexandria, Virginia. According to the school, this event yields over 8,000 cans of soup each year. This year students collected the highest number of cans ever: over 12,800.
- Bryan Louiselle (1984): Music Adaptation and Arrangement, notable for Disney's High School Musical
- Edward DeMarco (1978): current acting director of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA)
- Pat McGee (1991): Singer, songwriter, guitarist; founding member and frontman of the Pat McGee Band.
- Bob Asher: Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears
- Casey Crawford: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Gibran Hamdan: Buffalo Bills
- Ralph Hawkins: Former NFL coach began his coaching career at O'Connell in 1958
- Eric Metcalf: Cleveland Browns
- Mike Martz: St. Louis Rams not THE Mike Martz
- Terrence Wilkins: Indianapolis Colts
- John Arsala (1995): Played professionally in Europe for Polonia Warsaw. Member of the United States National Olympic Development Program: 1991 - 2000.
- Nataly Arias (2004): Member of the Colombia National Soccer team during the 2011 Woman's World Cup in Germany
- Kate Ziegler (2006): Former World record holder in the 1500m freestyle
The morning of May 7, 2002, on D.C. metro area shock jock Elliot Segal's radio program, DC101's Elliot in the Morning was conducting a contest. The winners of this contest would be cage dancers at an upcoming Kid Rock concert at George Mason University's Patriot Center. Wanting to be contestants, two sixteen-year-old O'Connell students, claiming to be eighteen, called the show. Instead of discussing the contest, the students discussed alleged sexual activity at O'Connell. The students, who had used false names on air, were suspended the same day for their comments. The principal addressed the student body over the PA system and criticized the content of that morning's show. The following day (May 8), Segal, angered by the students' suspension, personally insulted the principal on air, making lewd insinuations about his family. He also mocked the school's mission statement. The two days of broadcasting were ruled indecent by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a result, in October 2003, sixteen months after the incident, DC101's parent company Clear Channel Communications was fined $55,000.
Bishop O'Connell has been scrutinized in the past years for being unwelcoming and creating a hostile environment for homosexual students. In June 2016, a male student Jack Mackinnon was expelled on the grounds of his homosexuality. The school has defended the disciplinary action by stating that the student was breaking student code, by engaging in lewd sexual acts with other male students in the bathroom. The case is still in court and has not yet been resolved legally. 
- Statistical information gathered from O'Connell's official site's O'Connell: History & Enrollment Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. page.
- SACS-CASI. "SACS-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- "DJO" is an abbreviation for "Denis J. O'Connell."
- Advanced placement course listings taken from Academics: AP Program Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. on O'Connell's official site.
- Only offered as a combined AP Physics C Electromagnetism and Mechanics class
- Only offered as a combined Macro/Micro Economics class
- Honors course listing found on individual department pages within O'Connell's Academics: Available Courses Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. page.
- Statistics taken from O'Connell Boys' Basketball page Archived October 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine..
- National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)
- Club names/info taken from O'Connell Clubs Page Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Helping Hands
- Martha's Table
- Pure Love Club
- O'Connell Admissions Page Archived May 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Bryan Louiselle Archived October 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- O'Connell Boys' Basketball official site Archived October 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine..
- Atlantic Magazine article on the incident: Air Pollution
- FCC Transcript of Elliot in the Morning's offensive material from May 7th and 8th, 2002 
- Mission Statement: "Our mission is to provide students an education rooted in the life of Christ and to foster the pursuit of excellence in the whole person." (quoted from O'Connell Website Archived 2007-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.)
- FCC Announcement of Fine (Released October 2, 2003)