Holiday cheer has definitely arrived at Bayshore Boulevard. Students and teachers alike have brought the Christmas spirit to the Academy community through endeavors that are both fun and Christ-focused.
The Christmas spirit started on an appropriately spiritual note on November 28, with each grade taking turns lighting the Advent wreath in the school lobby. The seniors were the first class to participate in this sacred tradition. Led by campus ministry officer Sister Mary Patricia Plumb, SNJM, the students read passages commemorating the symbolic significance of the advent wreath as a ray of hope in the cold winter months. Reconciliation followed on Thursday morning, December 1, to allow students time to prepare for Advent and Christmas. The last all-school Mass of the year will be on Thursday, December 8, to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The lower school joined the spirit on their Community Service Day on November 30. Featured speaker was Joseph Deng, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” and now a nurse and American citizen. Deng has made it his mission to continue to support his people back in Sudan, who have poor medical care. Academy students and families opened their hearts and pocketbooks to donate medicine that Deng will send to Sudan. Local ABC News featured his visit.
Students took the initiative in putting the Christ in Christmas through charitable service projects. Students from all grades spent their lunches in Ms. Maureen Kearney’s room wrapping Christmas presents for the children of Faith Children’s Home, along with collecting food for Christmas for the children. On Tuesday, November 29, the club hosted the children with a party to open their presents, including a visit from Santa and Christmas Carols sung by the Quarter Notes led by Ms. Linda Ruescher. Sister Ann Regan, Assistant Principal Mr. Jack Mullarkey and Ms. Kearney were there to support the girls.
Senior Victoria Sierra put Academy in the Christmas spirit through organizing a Red Cross bakesale that benefited families who are temporarily homeless because of natural disasters. Another senior, Mary Green, organized students into making Christmas cards for the armed forces in Afghanistan as part of her NHS project.
“I felt it was important to show support for our troops during the Christmas season. This event is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our appreciation and begin the Christmas season,” said Mary Green.
The members of Teen Leadership Council are combining service and festivities with their annual Christmas party on December 7. Academy students will join with their Jesuit counterparts to provide light refreshments for Academy middle school students. Beyond the bonding experience, students will serve the community by donating food items for Faith Children’s Home.
Also on December 7, students will sign up for their service choices for Community Service Day. The French Club plans Christmas Caroling in French and will visit other clubs on blue club day, December 7. The Spanish Club celebrated the holidays at their white club meeting on November 30. The Multimedia white club spent time in the Archive Room helping Achona staff members prepare a Christmas video for the online newspaper.
Academy students will also have the chance to enjoy some unexpected Christmas treats. For the first time this December 9th, Academy is putting on a Madrigal Dinner. Madrigal Dinners are dinner theater events with a Medieval theme that high school students typically host and perform. The Quarter Notes will be leading the performance at 6:30 pm in the Brady Center.
The Academy has another first in the form of a Taize Evening that will take place on December 11 at 7pm in the Blessed Marie Rose Chapel. Taize originates from a movement that seeks to bring Christians of all faiths closer to God through innovative forms of prayer that includes meditative singing, scripture, and contemplative prayer. There will be two more Taize services offered during the year.
The only problem facing the Academy community this season will be which event to attend as they celebrate the joyful spirit of Christmas.