St. Joe youth show their giving spirit

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005

Sometimes in sports, winning really is not everything.

The St. Joseph Flyers won their basketball game against Rock Hill Tuesday but the real victory for the Catholic Community came by raising $1,000 to be donated to tsunami relief efforts in Asia.

The school donated all the proceeds from ticket sales, program sales, split the pot tickets and the junior class' concession sales. Even though the private school that includes only 86 students in grades seven through 12 does not have lots of funding in the budget, they selflessly donated the proceeds.

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"The kids, faculty and staff have all been talking about how we needed to do something because it is such a tragedy," said Sissy Clyse, development director for the Ironton Catholic Schools. "Being a Catholic school, we teach compassion all the time and the need to be responsible within the world. This gives the students an understanding and helps them make a difference."

Initiated by co-development coordinator Cathy McKnight, Clyse said the students really ran with the idea. The junior class even sacrificed its concession sales that normally go toward their prom.

Crosby Clyse, Sissy's son and junior class president, said the disaster has been talked about a lot and has never been far from the students' minds this week.

"It was very important to everyone in our class to help (the disaster victims) feel as equal and significant as everyone else," he said. "We are trying to do our part to help them reestablish their lives."

All the Catholic schools were involved in the fund-raising event and each school plans to do more, Clyse said. Donations will be collected Friday at St. Lawrence and St. Joseph during a casual-dress day. A prayer service will be conducted at 8 a.m. at the high school.

Both the Clyses hoped their efforts will spark other schools to lend a helping hand as the entire world tries to deal with the cataclysmic event.

"I hope this starts a chain of events where all schools and all people get involved," Sissy Clyse said. "I can't imagine anyone watching the news and not wanting to help."

At least one school district, Fairland, already had several events of their own in the works.

The Fairland High School National Honor Society will have a tsunami relief benefit at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the high school cafetorium. Contemporary band Checkerboard will perform. Admission is $5 and refreshments will be sold.

The giving does not stop there. Fairland East and Fairland West elementary schools are each collecting coins in the classrooms. The Fairland Middle School National Honor Society is also collecting donations.

For more information, call the high school at 886-3250.