In an extraordinary show of generosity, school spirit, and commitment to serving their communities, nine East Coast Jesuit high schools have concluded the Great Ignatian Challenge, a friendly but spirited holiday food drive competition. In all, students at these participating schools collected 168,372.88 pounds of food, which will help fill local food banks and pantries with much-needed provisions during the critical Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
Launched in early November, this year’s competition included Canisius High School (Buffalo, NY), Fairfield Prep (Fairfield, CT), Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx), Loyola School (Manhattan), McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, NY), Regis High School (Manhattan), Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (Philadelphia, PA), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ), and Xavier High School (Manhattan). Since the challenge began in 2016, the participating schools have collectively amassed 302 tons of food.
The Great Ignatian Challenge was initiated by Jim Rowen P’12. Inspired by the Jesuit mission of becoming “women and men for others,” the challenge highlights the collective service power and generosity among Jesuit high schools. In support of the students’ efforts, Rowen has given more than $1,350,000 towards scholarship funds for students at these institutions.
Rowen’s support, including $250,000 this year, is divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. “St. Ignatius taught us that love speaks louder in deeds more than words,” said Rowen. “The students at these nine Jesuit schools embody Ignatian principles and beliefs. I am inspired by their commitment to be women and men for others.”
A key component of a Jesuit education is community service, which allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of local, national, and global issues. Through service to the community, students participate in the world as competent, concerned and responsible members who are committed to social justice.
Below are the results of this year’s competition:
Greatest amount of food collected (on-line and in-person), on a per student basis: Loyola School
Greatest amount of food collected (on-line only) by pound: Fordham Preparatory
Best external media strategy: Canisius High School and Loyola School
Most creative and engaging strategy: Canisius High School, Loyola School, McQuaid Jesuit, and St. Joseph’s Preparatory