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Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Starfish Club helps light the holidays

Marco Navarro
Holiday lights are placed around Jesuit’s campus during the holiday season by Starfish club.

This December–like many Decembers before– featured a return of Jesuit’s Christmas lights.
These lights are hung up by student volunteers who are in the relatively unheard of Starfish club.

Starfish club, not unique to Jesuit, has been hanging up Christmas lights and doing small acts of kindness.

Senior club leader Julia Spuck said that the purpose of Starfish club was precisely that–doing small acts of kindness to make the school a more welcoming place.

“Do one act of kindness a day so that you can potentially change the course of somebody’s life,” Spuck said.

The main drive of the club in the first semester is to hang up–and take down–the Christmas lights. The process begins in early November.

“Our November meeting is essentially to get people to sign up for times to come and set up Christmas lights, be that after school, during a prep period, before school, flex, whatever. And so in November we sign up and then at the end of November and December, we set [the lights] up,” Senior and club leader Kayla Contreras said in an October interview.

After Thanksgiving, the club kicks into high gear, with students signed up to hang up the lights all across the school. The coordination of the light placement is often directed by Mr. Massey, the club administrator.

“Mr. Massey has lights for all those different areas and it’s very organized, very specific like ‘Hey, these lights go there. This is how you do it. These lights go there’,” Contreras said.

The timing is crucial.

“It is important to get it before December or very early into December,” Spuck said.

The club’s long existence has lent to a usually smooth process when it comes to hanging up the lights.

“It’s been done for years, so there’s kind of a flow to it because it’s kind of like there’s some guidance for us,” Contreras said.

However, the group do have a good amount of creative control when it comes to deciding where to hang up the lights

“Sometimes we’ll have liberty where we actually put [the lights]. Sometimes we’ll have designated areas where to put lights, and we can’t do everything in the specific area. So we’;; pick certain trees and what will look nice with our groups,” Spuck said.

“Part of the efficiency when it comes to hanging up the lights is also a product of the culture of the club itself,” Spuck said.

“These people that do join the [club], show up. They’re very committed to the cause,” Spuck said.

The club had struggled coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it is getting back on its feet, the leaders said.

“We have people who I don’t know personally, which is a good step where it’s not just our friends who are in the club. It’s just people at the school who want to be part of this community and want to help, and you know, make the school pretty by putting up Christmas lights,” Contreras said.

“We see the same people that come from freshman year, they come back every single year and I think that is something that is really special,” Spuck said.

Right after school returns, it will be time to take down the Christmas lights.

“Taking down the Christmas lights is in January. That takes a lot just because it’s a lot of time and people are a lot less happy to do it. Putting up Christmas lights is so fun […] taking them down is a little more tedious,” Contreras said.
However, they also want to do other projects as well.

“We like to sometimes get together as a group outside of Jesuit and then bake something and then we met last year we made rice krispie treats, and just handed them out to random people. So I think that this year, we could [make] cookies or brownies or anything else. We would probably start doing that a little bit more consistently,” Spuck said.

Spuck said that the name of Starfish club is inspired by a story.

“There’s a man walking on the beach, and the tides are really really out. And there’s all these starfish on the beach that have been washed up. The man sees a boy in the distance[…] as he gets closer he sees that the boy is throwing starfish back into the ocean. The man says, ‘What are you doing? You can’t save all those starfish, you can’t possibly make a difference,’ Then the boy takes a starfish and throws it back into the ocean. And the boy says, ‘It mattered to that one.’,”

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About the Contributor
Seamus McCarthy
Seamus McCarthy, Lead Writer
A senior at Jesuit High School, this is Seamus McCathy's second year in Media Production, and he is excited to continue writing and producing media. He has been writing since elementary school, but was really inspired to become a journalist by the Media Production class. He enjoys writing about politics and school events, and aspires to work as a journalist through and after college. When not at school, he is running, fencing, or walking his four-year-old dog. He lives in Portland with his parents, brother, and the aforementioned furry companion.