Students, staff and faculty at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Hermosa Beach kicked off Catholic Schools Week Jan. 26 by combining solidarity and school spirit with “Caring for the Crusaders Day.” The event supported the parish community of St. James Church in Redondo Beach, which suffered the tragic loss of four lives due to a car accident following their school’s annual Christmas show on Dec. 17.

According to April Beuder, principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe School, when the student council was planning for Catholic Schools Week, students suggested Crusaders Day in lieu of holding their yearly Jean Day fundraiser, in which students donate $1 each for the opportunity to wear jeans to school for the day. This year, OLG students wore green and gold — St. James’ school colors — instead, with the funds raised earmarked for donation to the St. James Victim Relief Fund.

Most families donated more than $1 and many children brought in money from their allowances, explained Beuder. The school, which has 212 students, raised $600 during the initial fundraising, with donations still coming in at press time.

“It began as a simple and sincere expression of love and support from our families to the families of St. James,” said Beuder. “Other schools from our deanery joined us and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Catholic Schools Week than coming together as one community. This outpouring of support highlights the greatest blessings we have in Catholic Schools — each other.”

Other neighboring Catholic schools held similar fundraisers to support St. James, including St. Lawrence Martyr, Redondo Beach; St. Joseph, Hawthorne; and St. Anthony, El Segundo.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe, students sang a special song for Crusaders Day, which was recorded and shared on YouTube to help them learn that “their voices matter and can have an impact,” and to serve as an example of how to use social media for good, said Amy Hendry, fourth grade teacher and student council moderator.  

“With over 440 views of their video in a week, they start to understand the power of their voices — how every voice matters and how much greater we can spread a message when we come together,” she explained. “As St. James is healing we wanted to send some positivity and a message of solidarity. Although we may be different schools, we are all parts of the same whole — the Catholic family.”

View a video of the song Our Lady of Guadalupe students, teachers and administrators sang for the parish community of St. James here.