Students and faculty brought back a former tradition to reward students for their hard work.
On October 6, 2017, Thomas Jefferson High School’s Leadership class brought back an old tradition, the Jamaican Jam. After a shortened school day, students and administration gathered to hold a volleyball tournament and dance. Students were able to put together their own teams for the tournament and were required to pay $30 per team. A portion of the money earned went back as a prize to the winners and the rest went towards fundraising for future Leadership activities.
There was a sense of excitement following the event, because the teacher team played a student team in a championship game. Adam Becker stated, “I thought it was fun to play against the teachers because most of the time we see them just as teachers but in the tournament they would joke around and smack talk, and would have fun. Their involvement in the tournament made it more fun, because who doesn’t want to beat their teacher in something?”
The teacher team consisted of Grant Laman, Jeremy Anderson, Garien Behling, Kendra Cisneros, Paula Hammel, Kyler Jackson, Matthew McHenry, Sean Silvers, and Andrew Skari, and the student team consisted of seniors Maggie Foos, Adam Becker, Vasi Reiva, Macey Murray, and Molly Little, and sophomores Pana Reiva and Eddie Aldridge. While the teachers fought hard, the students pulled out the win.
The Jamaican Jam is a blast from the past. Originally, the event was held in the first few weeks of school and was Jamaican themed, and students would wear tropical outfits. However, because Homecoming took place in the first few weeks of school, this year it served a different purpose. It was held in the middle of the semester to give a small break to teachers and students where they were able to come together and relax for an afternoon, and celebrate the hard work they have put in already this semester.
Principal Intern and Leadership teacher Jon Poole stated, “It seemed like a large percentage of the student body came, even though it was after school, it wasn’t required, but they wanted to hang out and have fun and celebrate everything they have done this year.” The Jamaican Jam was a great opportunity for the freshmen and new students to get connected in the school by interacting with their peers and teachers outside of the classroom.
The Jamaican Jam was not only an exciting time for students and faculty to come together, but it was also a fundraising opportunity for the school and the different clubs it supports. Leadership and the TJ Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) donated candy, hot dogs, and chips for the event, but all other food was sold as fundraisers for different clubs at TJ. The Hispanic and Latino club sold nachos, the art department and office manager Danyelle Charles had an ice cream cart to raise money for both the art department and the school, and the Model United Nations club sold raffle tickets to win a pie that the winner would use to pie Principal Mike Christoff in the face. Events like this show the sense of community that TJ possesses: students and staff enjoy working hard and playing hard together.