Ahead of Super Bowl, Catholic school students team up share gifts with needy

January 24, 2017

Kassi Chase, fifth-grade teacher at Christ the Redeemer Catholic School, joins her students in the Super Kids, Super Sharing initiative in honor of Super Bowl LI as a way for schools to share their gifts with those in need nationwide. Photo courtesy of Christ the Redeemer School.

HOUSTON — Everything is bigger in Texas, and now everything is super in Houston in 2017. The Super Bowl is coming to Houston on Sunday, Feb. 5, and Catholic schools are joining in the fun with the Super Kids, Super Sharing initiative. This service project in honor of Super Bowl LI is a way for schools to share their gifts with those in need during this massive city- and nation-wide event. 

Ellen Silvas, intervention specialist at St. Helen Catholic School in Pearland, said her students embrace events like this so they can reach out to those less fortunate. 

“I believe that one of the most important things that we can do for our children today is not only lead by example, but give our students the opportunity to lead by participation,” Silvas said. “It is so important that children not only see events on social media or in the press, but live it and walk it.” 

Schools teamed up with the National Football League (NFL), the Houston Texans, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon and the Houston Texans YMCA for this community project. Schools collected gently used or new books, sports equipment, school supplies, games and used cell phones. 

Avery Zientek, a fifth-grade student at Christ the Redeemer Catholic School, was excited to donate a few books and games for others.
“Some kids don’t have much money and they need all the things other kids need,” Zientek said. “All kids need to learn and have fun so I’m excited to help.”

Mark Priest, principal at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Hitchcock, said these items in particular will help aid several charitable organizations in Houston for women and children in need. 

“Verizon is working with us to have cell phones rebooted and refurbished to give to local women’s centers,” Priest said. “Our school is in a very rural area, so I like for our students to be exposed to different things like this.”

Priest said that because this is a big, national event, he is proud to have his students participate to make several connections that all relate to walking with Christ.

“I think it ties in with advancing education and sports,” he said. “This shows that sports aren’t just sports — it benefits the community in a lot of different ways. It goes back to our daily pledge as a school to always follow Christ’s example.” 

Kassi Chase, fifth-grade teacher at Christ the Redeemer Catholic School, echoes Priest’s sentiments that tying sports and service together takes giving to the next level. 

“Many kids have an interest in sports, and so by tying it with the Super Bowl, it gets the students even more excited to help and give back to their community in a fun, positive way,” Chase said. “We want to help bring supplies, sports equipment and books to students in schools to give them a better learning environment. It also will hopefully encourage the students to follow their dreams.” 

As a great perk of this service project, students from participating schools were invited to deliver their school’s donated items to the Houston Texans YMCA. Students will help sort donated items, meet Houston Texans football players and cheerleaders, and participate in a Play 60 camp. 
Susan Groh, associate director of NFL Environmental Projects, coordinates annual events for the Super Bowl and enjoys the service initiatives each year. 

“This is my favorite Super Bowl project,” Groh said. “It’s a great community effort because it’s kids reaching out to help other kids. It’s just a tremendous service project that benefits a lot of kids locally and it’s a really fun event.” Silvas also said that students can really show love to others through this event. 

“It is great to have this chance to see our students carrying their love of helping others and this perhaps once in a life-time event of having the Super Bowl in our community to a personal level.”

Participating Super Kids Super Sharing Schools
• St. Michael • Resurrection • St. Christopher • Our Lady of Lourdes – Hitchcock • St. Helen – Pearland • St. Laurence – Sugar Land • Sacred Heart – Crosby • St. Thomas More • Christ the Redeemer • St. Francis de Sales • St. Pius V – Pasadena • St. Martha – Kingwood • Corpus Christi • Holy Family- Galveston • St. Anthony of Padua – The Woodlands • Holy Rosary – Rosenberg • St. Anne – Tomball