The Christmas and advent season at Mayfield Junior School (MJS) holds many wonderful traditions and opportunities for giving and sharing. As a Catholic school, this is an important time to reflect and celebrate for its students and faculty.
Each year an advent prayer service opens the season. During the service students learn about the symbolism of the advent wreath and create one that will be lit throughout the month.
For nearly 18 years, MJS families led by eighth graders have participated in the Christmas Adopt-a-Family project providing Christmas gifts for the women and children at Good Shepherd Shelter in Los Angeles. Wish lists are collected in November and in December gifts are carefully wrapped and placed in large boxes for delivery. The boxes are blessed at the annual Mothers’ Christmas Luncheon, during which eighth graders join their mothers and seventh graders assist in serving. A live nativity portrayed by second graders and musical performances complete the celebration.
What was started over 30 years ago as a fun sculpture project for sixth graders to gain experience with balance, proportion and design, is now a middle school rite of passage and a shared experience for hundreds of Mayfield graduates. Not only do students look forward to making elves but parents save them as keepsakes for use year after year as part of their holiday home décor. Many are in need of a few minor repairs so a new tradition was started: The Parents of Alumni Elf Workshop. Art teacher Penny Wong opens her classroom to parents of alumni and while the elves undergo repair, everyone enjoys the fellowship and festive spirit.
The kindergarten Nativity Play is perhaps one of Mayfield’s most beloved Christmas traditions and has been for 80 years. This retelling by the youngest members of the school community has provided countless memorable moments and can easily spark flashbacks for the many alumni who once took the stage as angel, shepherd or king.
Additional events include an enthusiastic Las Posadas as third graders journey through the campus in costume as Mary and Joseph in search of shelter, seventh graders will share a holiday celebration with residents of the Monte Vista Grove Retirement Community and a Christmas prayer service will include an inspirational speaker and a lovely performance by third grade Sacred Dancers.