Chestnut Hill College Students Kristin Kirsch, Sara Zuber, Amy Bryan and Alyx Banonis pack school supplies for donation.

By Ashley Pavone

You might grab a steaming cup of hot chocolate to keep warm while watching a sports game, or just to stay warm in the winter weather.  But what if buying hot chocolate also meant warming your heart by providing an eager student with necessary school supplies?

Students from Chestnut Hill College (CHC), Mount St. Joseph Academy (the Mount), and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy will be selling hot chocolate, collecting money and supplies for that exact cause at “Stag and Doe Night” on Dec. 8 from 6-9 p.m.

Although students from these schools range in education level from Kindergarten to college seniors, they share one thing: the common mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph — unity and reconciliation.  In addition to this, the desire to help others is what propelled the idea for all the schools to share this connection.

The desire to associate and connect has been in the process for several years, with correspondences from the Campus Ministry centers and directors of each school.  Finally those directors, as well as a handful of students from each school met in late October at Chestnut Hill College.  Each school discussed their mission and how they enact them in various aspects such as academics, spirituality, and athletics.

The meeting “was a chance to support each other on projects and address issues together,” Kate Tully, a junior from Mount St. Joseph Academy, said.  “We were inspired to hear how each school and its students are reaching out to help others.”

Christine Sedlack, an eighth grader from Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, added that the meeting “[gave us the] hope to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Community service and sharing of resources is key to each educational institution. They all tutor students every week, collect items and money for various organizations, and make sandwiches for the homeless.

“My experience going down to Chestnut Hill College was truly enlightening,” Grace Hogan, 8th grader at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, said. “Though we all knew that there was poverty right in our backyard, we are now aware of what we can do.  I learned that together we can all make a difference.”

First up on the schools’ agenda is to expand Mount St. Joseph Academy’s “school-in-a-box” program; a box full of collected items from students, faculty, and administrators of the schools to meet the educational needs of students.  It includes essentials such as pens and paper, but also less recognized items such as dictionaries and calculators.

“All three groups are out to obtain the same goal,” Amy Bryan, a sophomore at Chestnut Hill College, says.  “It is great that we [students of CHC, the Mount, and Norwood-Fontbonne] are all going to work together for our services (such as the) school-in-a-box project.”

The Campus Ministry centers from each school will collect these items for the next few months and following the Mount’s example, will put the boxes together and then deliver the boxes to local schools in need of supplies.

Wondering how you can get involved? Stop by “Stag and Doe Night” in Chestnut Hill on Dec. 8 from 6-9 p.m.  You can also mail supplies or donations to Chestnut Hill College (9601 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, Care of Sister Michelle Lesher in Campus Ministry). For more information, please contact Sister Michelle Lesher at 215-248-7107.

Future plans for the school alliance include addressing issues surrounding their shared mission.

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