• Written by Anastasia Samara.

As the weather cools and festive lights are hung up, the students of Clearwater Central Catholic are frantically wrapping gifts and counting donations for the Annual Toy Drive. With the leadership and guidance from Mrs. Ceraolo and the Spanish Honor Society, the drive has become a hallmark of the CCC community in its first years of operation. The Spanish Honor Society works with Father Rafael Martos, who represents the San Juan Diego and San Jose missions in Dover, Florida. This collaboration aims to provide Christmas presents for the children, ranging from 1 to 17 years of age, that are in catechist formation at the parish.

Last year, the immense success of the drive further ingrained its status as a tradition while prompting CCC’s community to support a record number of families. The Honor Society has set a goal to provide gifts for more than 160 children. As the final week of collections approaches, the faculty and students have joined forces to make this drive all the more successful.

In addition, it is our hope that the money collected for the first dress out day of Christmas week, together with Mr. Shannon’s Mission Thursdays collections, will help CCC achieve its goal.

“These kids don’t have much, but their faith is strong,” commented Mrs. Ceraolo. “Our objective is to support them and give them a sign of hope so that they may too, pay it forward.” The children eagerly await the day when they can lay their eyes on the gifts that CCC’s student body has assembled for them.

In this way, CCC’s mission of community-based faith is exemplified through this effort of charitable giving. Not only is the CCC community rallying around a cause which speaks to the school’s values, but they are also materializing the spirit of giving that comes with this holiday season. While students are itching to finish their exams and enjoy their break, they have also undertaken a voluminous task of imperative importance: providing less fortunate individuals with the simple and yet profound joy of Christmas. In a matter of days, many young people will be pulling their presents from under the tree with their families, and, thanks to the school effort, more than 160 children, many of whom have not had this opportunity before, will be doing so, too.

One could not possibly think of a better way to finish off the first semester.