For over 15 years now, the junior classes of Jesuit have participated in a service project unlike many others in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Led by Mr. McDaniel, the junior class guidance counselor, PALS annually orchestrates and executes this service event, known as the CPS Christmas Project.
Christian Koejimans ’14 commented on the upcoming event, “Personally, I’m looking forward to it. Being able to do something good for the community is always fun.”
During each CPS Christmas Project, the juniors purchased gifts for children put under the care of Child Protective Services. Additionally, the children the classes have sponsored are not the normal children one thinks of when they see an ‘Adopt A Child’ sign. These children are those teenagers and young adults who are often forgotten about around Christmas time. Jesuit juniors usually sponsor between 120-200 teenagers and young adults affected by abusive households.
This year, however, Mr. McDaniel and the junior leaders of PALS had to tackle a new beast of sorts.
After being told that the information from Child Protective Services could and would not be given to Mr. McDaniel and his team in time for the juniors to purchase the gifts for Christmas, Mr. McDaniel and Mr. Perry had to find a way to engage the junior class in a bonding service event while embracing the Christmas spirit.
During this uncertain period when the tradition was in doubt, Mead Robuck ’14 predicted, “I bet we still do something. Maybe not the exact same thing we have done in the past, but I still think we are going to do something for Christmas and the Dallas area.”
They found their answer when Mr. Perry inquired about helping out those affected by AIDS in the greater DFW area.
With many of these individuals too sick to find jobs or attain a consistent income, most of them are left alone and not cared for in the Christmas season.
This year, however, the juniors of Jesuit will provide them with a Merry Christmas by donating gifts to AIDS Services of Dallas.
Joe Wengierski ’14 revealed his relief at the projects continuation: “You never want to be the one class that doesn’t do it, but also thinking of all those people less fortunate than us that wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas without us just makes it that much more of a success, although we still have a lot to do.”
After a late start, the junior class did not have much time to finish the project. Only about two weeks before finals, the cards with names, information, and gifts (under $20) were handed out to the junior homerooms.
This year, each individual afflicted with AIDS had two juniors responsible for their Christmas gifts. These two partners sorted out who would buy what and then bring them to their homeroom, where PALS would collect the gifts and take them to the junior commons to have their names checked off the list.
Showing their great flexibility and determination to help the world around them, the Jesuit junior class completed the Junior Christmas Project, sponsoring over 170 families or individuals afflicted with AIDS in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Mr. McDaniel remarked on the change of events this year’s PALS had to overcome: “The CPS project has gone well. We had to switch programs this year so we helped out the AIDS Services over in Oak Cliff and the Holy Cross Church, so the juniors have responded well having ten days less time than the classes before them. So with everything going on, with assessments and just Christmas and all the stuff that’s going on with the different sports and stuff, we really just didn’t have as much time, so I think we did an outstanding job.”
Led by Mr. McDaniel, Mr. Perry, and the junior leadership of PALS, the Junior Class Christmas Project continued its strong legacy and continued to serve the Dallas area by spreading Christmas Cheer.