Jesuit High School photo by Kathleen Dunn
Jesuit seniors Jasmine Leewong and Libby Steiner prepare sandwiches on the first Friday of every month for distribution at the Beaverton Transit Center. Teacher Andrea Casey watches.
Jesuit High School photo by Kathleen Dunn
Jesuit seniors Jasmine Leewong and Libby Steiner prepare sandwiches on the first Friday of every month for distribution at the Beaverton Transit Center. Teacher Andrea Casey watches.



A basket full of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and hot cocoa is placed in front of the altar at Jesuit High School’s Friday liturgies each month along with the Eucharist. The woven basket demonstrates one of the most important values that Jesuit emphasizes: being men and women for others.

The basket eventually travels from its spot in front of the altar to the Beaverton Transit Center, where Jesuit students and faculty hand out free sandwiches and drinks on the first Friday of each month.

The school bids farewell to the class of 2013 — many of whom have taken part on first Fridays — with a Baccalaureate Mass at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1 and commencement at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 2, both in the school's Knight Center.

Valedictorians of the group of 315 are John Cline, Alissa Fernandez, Leonid Gladkov, Natalie Johnson, Jasmine Leewong and Ryan Meshkin. Salutatorians are Patrick Doherty, Livia Godaert and Riley Hazard.

The First Friday Feasts, a term coined at Jesuit four years ago, began when Christian Service director Scott Powers and former Christian service director Kim Bastible were seeking a way for Jesuit students to stay connected with those in the communities immediately surrounding them.

First Friday Feasts seek to help homeless youth in Beaverton because of the continuous rise in numbers of those living on the streets. There are 1.7 million teenagers under 18 living on the streets in the U.S. More than 20,000 reside here in Oregon. The goal of the Jesuit project is to make students aware of the conditions of the community around them while also providing them with an opportunity to participate in an outreach program.

“Not only did I get to participate in an amazing service opportunity, but I got to see what conditions were really like, and that really opened my eyes,” said senior Chris Pozzi, a participant in multiple First Friday Feasts.

The program aims to continue Jesus’ teaching that everyone is welcome at his table. Students are not only given an opportunity to serve, but an opportunity to prolong Jesus’ idea that everyone is created equally in his image.

Attendance at even one First Friday Feast has been eye-opening for many students, allowing them to see what life is really like for so many homeless teenagers in the Portland Metro Area.

“I think what really strikes students is that the random act of kindness they are performing goes a long way to help a world that many people choose not to see,” said Powers.

The assistance that Jesuit students provide is sure to leave a lasting impact, and is changing the world, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time.

The class of 2013 performed 45,583 total service hours. That's an average of almost 148 hours per student. Overall, there were more than 26,000 hours performed beyond requirements.