On Thursday, December 16, the Academy of Holy Angels student body celebrated the annual Christmas Basket Prayer Service. This year, the prayer service was expanded to highlight Las Posadas and the AHA band and choir.
Las Posadas Presentation
As part of a year-long effort to celebrate and highlight various cultures within the AHA community, Hispanic members of the Diversity Club presented to their peers about the religious feast of Las Posadas. Las Posadas, Spanish for 'the inns', is primarily celebrated in Mexico but expands to other Hispanic countries and communities as well. Las Posadas begins on December 16 and ends on December 24. Throughout the nine days, children and families sing, dance, and celebrate the birth and coming of Jesus. At the presentation, students played traditional Hispanic music, decorated the gym to reflect the church's representation of the stable, and shared Hispanic candies with each homeroom.
Christmas Basket Blessing
Since 1931, AHA students have reached out to the wider community and helped those in need during the holiday season. Following the mantra of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, “Loving the dear neighbor without distinction”, the entire AHA community spreads the love and joy of the birth of Jesus to many in the world who have nothing. In 2020, AHA could not proceed as usual and gave gift cards to sponsored families. This year, it was a welcome return to buying personal gifts for many families, the tradition that has been in place for over 40 years.
Led by Mr. Gregg Sawyer, AHA partners with Inez Grace, Executive Director of Family Solutions (pictured together on the left); Family Solutions is a 501C3 organization serving families in crisis, unforeseen transitions, and need. Ms. Grace works and vets each family that AHA serves throughout the year. Each homeroom is provided a family profile with a wish list of items needed. In addition to the gifts provided, each sponsored family receives a grocery store gift card to help augment the holiday meal. These gift cards are provided by the AHA Student Government, coming from the proceeds of school dances.
The opening prayer of today's program focused on celebrating Christmas with gratitude and continuing to give throughout the year. Inez and representatives of the recipient families thanked the entire AHA student body and collected their gifts. Mr. Sawyer reflected, "The Christmas Basket project is one of the most treasured traditions we have at AHA. The students have always looked forward to this each year. The families that we serve are truly grateful, and we as a school are humbled by the opportunity to help them."
Band & Choir Highlights
Due to the unfortunate weather cancellation of the Christmas at the Academy annual concert, AHA band and choir members performed some highlights from their postponed concert. Thank you to the Concert Choir, Academy Singers, Praise Group, Academy Jazz Combo, and Concert Band for sharing their gifts of music with our community. A new concert date will be communicated soon for January 2022.