The Mission Drive
Jesuit High School's annual Mission Drive dates back to the 1930s, though Mission Drive Day was initiated in early in the 21st Century. Each spring over a five-week period, the school-wide, student-driven Mission Drive raises money for a worthy cause. It all culminates on Mission Drive Day, which includes a wonderful all-school music concert and an array of games, activities, food, and events across campus. Mission Drive Day competitions such as ping-pong, video games, dodgeball, and many more each have small entry fees that help generate funds for the Mission Drive.
View below a photo slideshow from the 2023 Mission Drive, which generated $18,689 – one of the highest totals in drive history –after the completion of Mission Drive Day on April 21! Each year, the Mission Drive selects a new beneficiary, and the $18,689 raised in 2023 will go toward St. John's College High School in Belize City, a Jesuit boys school that incurred damage from Hurricane Lisa and whose staff is in need of computers. (The 2022 Mission Drive donated $13,500 youth programs at St. Philip Benizi in Belle Glade in the Everglades.)
THE MISSION DRIVE - A LOOK BACK
Jesuit High School's annual Mission Drive was an amazing success, generating $13,500 after the completion of Mission Drive Day on April 22). The campus was teeming with fundraising activities all morning, as Jesuit students and faculty raised money on the final day of the month-long Mission Drive. 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 teachers Henry Ibanez '86 and Andy Wood '92 was the school's most generous this year, collecting $1,100.
Jesuit High School's annual Mission Drive was a tremendous success in 2021 generating nearly $11,000 for the migrant ELS program at the Jesuit mission in Belize. Among the winners of the various Mission Drive Day games and events were Caleb Williams '21 and Wade Woodaz '21, who earned the prestigious Beil-Menendez Award by winning the bocce tournament. The day concluded in the Tiger Palace with a school-wide music concert featuring the full array of Jesuit musicians under the direction of Nina Wegmann performing before an enthusiastic student body. It was punctuated by Jesuit's electrifying drumline, led by drum major Edward Morrison '21, and the unique upside-down drumming of Miggy Sumagang '21.
The Mission Drive was a massive success despite the disruption of Covid-19, which cancelled Mission Drive Day. However, through generous donations from students and the Jesuit community, the school's first online Mission Drive raised $10,585 for Feeding Tampa Bay.
Jesuit's Director of Community Service, Andy Wood '92, established the annual fundraiser's beneficiary as 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, served. 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 was in dire need of money to fix these problems. Mission Drive 2019 raised vastly exceeded its goal, raising some $12,000 for the school.
Mission Drive 2018 was spearheaded by students Sebastian Torres '19 and Andrew Hanna '19, as they worked through the charitable organization Fe y Alegria to benefit displaced children in Colombia. Decades of civil strife in Colombia has created millions of displaced children without access to education and basic needs. The 2018 fundraiser collected $10,261 for the children.
The beneficiaries of Mission Drive 2017 were the children of Belle Glade and their local parish, St. Philip Benizi. Belle Glade, an impoverished migrant community on the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee, for years has been visited several times annually by the Jesuit service club Agmen Christi. When all monies had been collected, Jesuit students had raised $10,423.
In 2016, Jesuit students set a new Mission Drive record, raising a total of $13,559. The beneficiary of Mission Drive 2016 was the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. For four consecutive years before Mission Drive 2016, a group of Jesuit students and chaperones had traveled to Nicaragua for a week in the summer to serve the destitute in Matagalpa. The Mission Drive 2016 funds were earmarked for three things: a chapel for Matagalpa’s prison, operation of the local youth center (La Casita), and to send six Matagalpan youths to World Youth Day. The funds were disbursed via the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who host Jesuit's annual mission trip to Matagalpa.
Mission Drive 2015 benefited The Lord's Ranch in El Paso, Texas, which has served the poor and destitute of that region for decades. Jesuit students generated $10,987, which went toward several special projects at The Lord's Ranch.