To kick off the holiday season at Academy, the Teen Leadership Council hosted its annual Christmas party for AHN middle school students on Wednesday, December 7. Gathered in the courtyard amidst sparkling lights and glittering ornaments, club members donned reindeer earred-headbands to express their Christmas spirit, while their Jesuit counterparts played the roles of “Santa’s helpers” by wearing elf hats. The 39 high school girls and 15 high school boys mixed and mingled with the middle schoolers, grazing on doughnuts, muffins, and other breakfast goodies, along with candy canes, the quintessential Christmas treat. Santa Claus himself even made an appearance at the party, taking pictures with students and spreading Christmas cheer.
After the initial half-hour of socializing, TLC members and their circles got down to business. Sixth-grade circles and their leaders decorated Christmas cards for Hope Children’s Home, while the seventh and eighth graders transported non-perishable food items collected by the lower school for the Hope Children’s Home Christmas dinner. These activies built teamwork amongst the students while also allowing for a period of reflection on the many blessings bestowed upon Academy boys and girls this holiday season.
According to Ms. Debbie Lubrano, TLC faculty moderator, the club collected over 100 bags of art supplies, socks, and food, stocked with items such as rice, cereal, canned vegetables, and pasta. In addition, many elementary school parents generously donated grocery-store gift cards amounting in total to over $350, which were given to the St. Joseph Church food pantry. Ms. Lubrano said, “We could not have done it without the help of the lower school students and families, along with our middle-school guidance counselor Mrs. Millyan Cabrera.”
By mentoring its circles on the importance of service and exciting the middle schoolers for the fun-filled weeks that compose Christmastime, TLC once again demonstrated its leadership in the Academy community. Established over five years ago, the Teen Leadership Council runs monthly circles with AHN middle school students, along with quarterly circles with Academy freshmen and sophomores.
In addition, TLC participates in many area service and leadership events, such as Relay for Life, Take Back the Night, and the Young Women’s Leadership Symposium. The club looks to further its work in the Tampa Bay community as it prepares for more outreach activities in the second semester.