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Mission Drive Day

Mission Drive Day

Jesuit High School's annual Mission Drive was an amazing success, generating $13,500 after the completion of Mission Drive Day on Friday (April 22)!

The campus was teeming with fundraising activities all morning Friday, as Jesuit students and faculty raised money on the final day of the month-long Mission Drive through small fees associated with games, activities, food, and various competitions.

The generosity of the student body during weeks of homeroom collections had put the $10,000 goal within reach before Mission Drive Day. The homeroom of teacher Henry Ibanez '86 and Andy Wood '92 was the school's most generous this year, collecting $1,100. Prior to Mission Drive Day, teacher April Bombka pre-sold $1,600 of her legendary "Bombka Cookie Bites." Through food/drink sales during Mission Drive Day, teacher Paula Collazo raised $488 and the Environmental Club raised $591. Other big fundraisers included the SADD Club's spikeball tournament ($367), teacher Nicholas Finch's soccer tournament ($412), and teacher Richard Miller's poker tournament ($335).

Wood, who is Jesuit's Director of Community Service, had established the $10,000 goal for Mission Drive 2022 at Convocation in March. Each year, the Mission Drive selects a new beneficiary, and this year the $13,500 raised will go toward the youth programs at St. Philip Benizi in Belle Glade in the Everglades. (Last year's Mission Drive donated nearly $11,000 to the migrant ELS program at the Jesuit mission in Belize.)

Mission Drive Day began in the Tiger Palace with a school-wide music concert featuring the full array of Jesuit musicians performing before an enthusiastic student body. Music director Nina Wegmann led Jesuit's superlative musicians in an array of works from around the globe, including pieces by Tchaikovsky and Leroy Anderson as well as writers and composers ranging from the Middle East to Hungary, Paris, the Caribbean, and England. The English selection featured the electric guitar of Jake Garcia '25 playing "Do I Wanna Know?" by Arctic Monkeys. 

Also during Mission Drive Day, just before the student-faculty basketball game inside the Tiger Palace, Jesuit football's 2021 State Championship was celebrated with a ring ceremony. County Commissioner Ken Hagan, P '20 and City Councilman Joe Citro were on hand to recognize the Tigers. Hagan announced that this day, April 22, 2022, was proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners as "Jesuit High School Football State Champions Day."

After the rings were distributed to all team members, the football State Championship banner was unveiled in the rafters, and the football championship monument outside the Tiger Palace in the sports monument mall was revealed to display the new 2021 championship slab.  

Among the winners of the various Mission Drive Day games and events on Friday were Brady Hoar '25 and Nick Deakin '25, who earned the prestigious Beil-Menendez Award by winning the bocce tournament; Morty Hanlon '25 and William Butler '22, who won the 3-Point Shootout, defeating Jesuit school counselors Jim Ranieri and Dameon Clay in the final; Aiden Poff '22 devoured a record-tying number of meatballs in defeating eight challengers to win the eating contest sponsored by the Italian Club; Colin Shembekar '25 won the Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament, with Brian Rodriguez '25 finishing second; seniors Dominic Pawlusiak and Dominic Cartaya won the spikeball tournament; the winning trivia tournament team was comprised of juniors Anthony Donnelly, Shane Donnelly, Will Starr, and Dean Schroeder; Vincent Guggino '24 won best overall and Dominic Rozance '22 was most enthusiastic at the disco workout; Christian Solano '24 and Sebastian Johnson '24 captured the pickleball crown; the Super Smash Bros. tournament champion was Derek Lezama '24; and the student team champions in the basketball tournament, led by seniors Butler, Wade Woodaz, and Junior Vandeross, defeated the faculty team in the final event of the day.

The Mission Drive dates back to the 1930s at Jesuit, though Mission Drive Day was established early in the 21st century. One of the school's great annual traditions, the Mission Drive has been a means for Jesuit students across generations to help thousands of people in need. In recent years that has meant reaching children in need in locales such as Colombia, Nicaragua, and El Paso, Texas.

View below a photo slideshow and a video of the music concert from Mission Drive Day. A photo slideshow of the football ring ceremony is coming soon.


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