Students from St. Andrew Nativity School in Northeast Portland, a Jesuit tuition-free middle school, have taken the school’s mission to become “people for and with others” to heart. They have also worked to fulfill the Jesuits’ global mission to end poverty and protect the environment. 

The school doesn’t have a choir program, but when Catholic Charities of Oregon approached staff about having students sing at the annual Celebration of Hope Gala, religion teacher Emily Ruef got to work. More than half of the students signed up to join the choir and perform at an event that raises money to help an estimated 20,000 people in need every year.

The students overcame any fears and sang for the first time in front of a large audience for a good cause.

To further fulfill their mission, students this school year participated in a competition to see which class could raise the most money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Students collectively raised nearly $1,000.

The middle schoolers also serve food to homeless people at Blanchet House monthly, and eighth graders recently visited to a local elementary school to read to kindergarten students. They hope to make it a regular service activity.