During the month of November, the student body of Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro collected $1,200 to aid a fellow student’s growing healthcare costs. Since leaving school in September, sophomore Chris Joya has undergone two rounds of chemotherapy to help combat a cancerous brain tumor.

According to Father Nicholas Tacito, O. Praem, rector for Mary Star of the Sea High School, the monetary gift aims to help lighten the family’s financial burden due to expensive medical treatments.

Spearheaded by sophomore Robert Jaramillo, the fundraising effort — dubbed the “Quarters for Chris” campaign — urged students to donate their spare change to assist the Joya family. Robert approached each homeroom class every morning to gather the money. His efforts exceeded his original goal of collecting $1,000.

On Nov. 26, Chris, his parents and his younger sister attended the school’s Thanksgiving Mass, where they gratefully accepted the students’ gift. Chris’ attendance at the Mass was his first social gathering away from the hospital.