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Ending the year by helping others

Led by several student advisories and clubs, The Gregory School community closed the fall semester by making a difference for Tucsonans in need. In a year of unpredictability and isolation, we are proud of our students, teachers, and families for persevering to bring some ease and happiness to others. Thank you to all who participated in the following initiatives.

The French Club has a long history of adopting a family for the holidays. French club advisor Mme Clashman explained, “Traditionally, the French Club shops for the holiday family together at Costco, but this year we were limited to online shopping. We gathered items from the families' wish lists and delivered them during finals week. The families, newly arrived in Tucson, were happy to get warm coats, toys, shoes, and a new tablet for their five children. Adopting holiday families has been a tradition for over a decade, and we are grateful to everyone who bought masks, baked goodies, and raffle tickets to support this cause! ”

This year was different, too, because our school was able to adopt two families. “One of my dear advisees mentioned that the French Club was sponsoring a local family for the holidays, and she wondered if our advisory could do the same,” Mrs. Young wrote. "Several days later, nine generous high schoolers gathered enough clothes and toys and food to fill the back of my truck, all for a single mom and her five children from The Democratic Republic of the Congo. This project was a beautiful and easy way to come together as a community and to share our togetherness with complete strangers, despite language barriers and social distancing.”

Prompted by a phone call from alumnus Oliver Kammeyer ‘08, Mrs. Conroy’s Middle School advisory and Ms. Bodden’s Upper School advisory worked with Aviva Children’s Services to collect toys and clothing for Tucson’s foster families. Many TGS families donated, and Mrs. Conroy dropped two full boxes of items at the Broadway center before the holiday break.

Ms. Bodden’s Upper School Drama Club, Sra. Boudreau’s and Mr. Clashman’s Middle School advisories, and Mrs. Encila’s and Sra. Noriega’s Upper School advisories partnered with the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association to donate food for Thanksgiving boxes for families from Whitmore Elementary School, located just south of our campus. “The students did not hesitate at all when presented with the opportunity to help,” Mrs. Encila said.

Sra. Boudreau reported, “We are proud to announce that we have obtained 20 boxes of food, capable of feeding a total of 20 families who are in need of a Thanksgiving dinner. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generosity and all the help given to Whitmore Elementary School.”

Ms. Ely’s Upper School advisory collected gifts and supplies for GAP Ministries, a Southern Arizona non-profit social service organization working with families in the state's foster system. From clothing to gifts, the advisory’s collection provided holiday gifts for non-custodial visits and supplied children in foster group homes with new clothing and pajamas as well as games and books.

Mrs. Ely wrote, “My entire advisory participated, from writing media releases, to preparing collection boxes and posters, to sorting the collections and boxing them up for delivery. My advisory took great pride in knowing that they provided those children less fortunate than themselves with some comforts we often take for granted, as well as letting them know there are people out there who care.”

Eleri Conroy '23, co-president of the French Club, summed up the spirit of the semester's end beautifully. “It was moving to see everyone come together to accomplish the club's annual goal of supporting a family during the holiday season. Thank you so much to those who bought a mask, participated in our bake sales, or donated in any way to the French Club. Considering the nature of this brutal year, it felt more important than ever that we carry out our most merry tradition.”