Jesuit High School's annual Mission Drive was a tremendous success this spring, raising some $12,000 (exact total to be finalized soon) for this year's beneficiary, Indian Creek Roman Catholic School in Belize.
The month-long drive culminated Friday (April 26) on Mission Drive Day. As always, a school-wide music concert kicked off the morning in spectacular fashion, followed by games, activities, food, and various competitions for the rest of the school day, some of it indoors due to the rainy conditions in the morning.
Jesuit's Director of Community Service, Andy Wood '92, had established a Mission Drive 2019 goal of $10,000 raised for Indian Creek Roman Catholic School, where Mr. Justin Kelley, n.S.J., a 2014 Jesuit graduate, and Fr. Penn Dawson, S.J., a member of Jesuit's Board of Trustees, currently serve. For the past eight years, the Belize school (which is known locally as St. John's) has been plagued by health issues due to mold, as well as structural damage to the roof, and is in dire need of money to fix these problems.
The generosity of the student body during weeks of homeroom collections resulted in surpassing the $10,000 goal before Mission Drive Day. The homeroom of Jesuit teachers Nathan Stibrich and Fr. Vincent Capuano, S.J. was the school's most generous this year, collecting $1,074. Mission Drive Day then generated additional funds via small fees associated with participation in competitions such as video games, bocce, ultimate frisbee, and basketball, as well as food sales.
The Mission Drive dates back to the 1930s at Jesuit, though Mission Drive Day was established early in the 21st century. The day began, as it always does, with a wonderful all-school music concert led by music director Nina Wegmann and Dominic DiCarlo. The musical selections Friday included songs from Aerosmith ("Dream On"), the Beatles ("Yesterday"), Michael Jackson (a medley), and John Denver, whose classic "Country Roads" was performed by the Jesuit choir (pictured on the homepage, and scroll down for video). Jesuit's Spring Music Concert will feature interpretations of these artists and many more, performed by the full spectrum of Jesuit musicians on May 4 at 7:00pm in the MPR.
Among the winners of the various Mission Drive Day games and events were Jonathan Dawson '21 in the Italian Club's meatball eating contest, defending his championship from 2018 by consuming 45 meatballs in three minutes; The Goat Gang – Larry Hodges '19, Dane Belton '19, Junior Vandeross '22, Kiael Kelly '21, Jonathan Odom '20, Clark Wichman '20, and Nash Chillura '19 – won the basketball tournament; and Connor Murphy '19 and Chris Konefal '21 prevailed in the bocce tournament, ending the bocce dynasty of faculty Miguel Menendez and Matt Kaiser.
The day concluded with the annual student-faculty basketball game in front of the student body in the Tiger Palace. The student team, led by Andrew Dansoh '19, Jovan Deeb '19, and Mitchell Johnson '19, benefited from atrocious shooting by the faculty to prevail 28-21, its second straight win over the faculty.
Please view below a video of the choir performing "Country Roads," and below that are two photo slideshows from Mission Drive Day, the first is from the music concert, the second from other Mission Drive Day events.