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Catching the Holiday Spirit

Community service starts with Kennedy Administration


In the spirirt of the season, teachers and staff of Kennedy High School have begun gifting their service and demonstrating their acts of kindness not just within classrooms, but outside of school too. 


 The winter season is the most notable time for giving and spreading cheer, possessing many to give back to their communities out of the kindness of their heart. Nevertheless, the cheer and unity promoted by holidays like Christmas has certainly made its mark on the school here at Kennedy. 

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While many students participate in community service opportunities throughout their academic year, teachers and staff members may conduct or partake in this behavior behind the scenes as well. Some examples are the multitude of drives offered by different teachers throughout the winter months.


Kennedy superstar and Spanish teacher Maria Prado hosts a toy drive with her SRLA club every year to donate to children in need. Prado collects donated toys in her homeroom a few weeks prior to her club’s half marathon event. At the event, SRLA officers give out toys and school supplies to kids in need in Tijuana. 

“We have a marathon on Sunday the 20th and our SRLA officers go and donate the toys to the kids in Tijuana. We try to collect toys like jump ropes so that way they have something to do and can stay active”, explained Prado. She personally hosts this event to share her love for helping children in need and simultaneously promote her passion for fitness. 


Kennedy United leaderships have also taken their stance in organizing drives to give back to those in need during the winter season as well. One example is Rise Council that initiates a glasses drive in the month of January to donate to children who suffer from poor vision problems. Rise members and GLEAM magnet teacher Mrs. Richards collect used eyewear to be reused for better purposes while promoting sustainability. Richards explains that this type of contribution really focusses on improving children’s education. 


Following similar steps is spanish teacher and Link Crew advisor Elizabeth Ortiz who more closely partners with the school to conduct food drives with the Link Crew organization during the holiday season. Near the end of November, the club will gather canned goods, hygienic supplies, and clothing materiala to donate to those in need. 


As many of the faculty members pursue their community involvement within school confines, others have also chosen to help out in their own time. A prominent model example of this is science teacher Madelyn Masterson. Mrs. Masterson and her family works with the Ignite a Light of Hope Foundation every Friday to provide food to the homeless. She states that her and her husband work with the Foundation to also run a toy drive located in Castaic closer to the Christmas season. 


“During this time, we send announcement to the community asking for donated toys. During the week of Christmas, we open the facility for community members and offer the toys to children in need,” Masterson adds. 


Service volunteers outside of the school facility also includes magnet coordinator Mandy Arentoft who participates in the adopt-a-family program that gives gifts to a family in need. Teacher librarian Marina Cedillo has also mentioned volunteering for her church in the past during this time of year. 

CSF similarly is conducting a Candy Cane note drive to give back to the Kennedy staff and educators where students can volunteer to make cards and pass out candy. As with Kennedy counselors, they encourage various service opportunities where students can help out around their local communities, handing out flyers for opportunities helping children or elderly in need around parks, community centers, or other programs. 


Witnessing the continuous efforts teachers make to give back to others inspires not only their own community, but their students as well. The holiday season is a time to spread kindness and love which the school’s staff-star models certainly make sure to express. It’s important for school’s to have such dedicated teachers so students can learn the act of selfless deeds that prospers goodness within schools and build the leaders of tomorrow. 

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