DOVER — Nearly 30 miles separate Jesuit High School and some of East Hillsborough's most impoverished migrant communities and families, but students from the school recently bridged the divide with two special efforts.
On Dec. 17, the Jesuit service club Agmen Christi provided dozens of gifts to migrant children in the Palms of Dover community. The children have a gift list, and children/gifts are matched to members of Agmen Christi, who buy the gift, wrap it, tag it and deliver it.
On Dec. 16, the Jesuit basketball team conducted its annual gift giving. It "adopts" a migrant family, which comes to Jesuit on a Saturday before Christmas and enjoys a special pre-game event.
Guided by head coach Neal Goldman, team members receive specific gift requests. Before school, the team took a trip to Walmart to purchase all of the presents.
Coach Goldman brought the family into the locker room and, with the lights dimmed, "Jesuit Santa" (former team manager Sebastian Rivers '16) came out in his blue Santa suit and brought out a bag full of gifts for each child.
Julie Snyder with the Migrant Education Program helps coordinate all Jesuit's efforts with the migrant families, including both the Jesuit basketball team and Agmen Christi outreach events.