Friends of Jaclyn, Highlanders Athletics Forge Strong Relationship
Josh Blumenthal, Associate Athletic Director
For nearly two years now, the St. Andrew's Athletics Department has been continuing to literally ‘team up’ with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ). FOJ is an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children and families living with pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers through connections with mostly high school and collegiate sports teams.
The first match between St. Andrew’s and FOJ occurred in August 2017 when brothers DJ and Jaxen Mojica joined the Varsity Boys Lacrosse team. Since that time the teammates have been together more often than not, including bonding at games, parties, and especially inside Dell Children’s Hospital.
“Having the Mojica family support us, while we support them in their time of need feels incredibly empowering,” said junior goaltender Cole Morehead. “This unique relationship became only more profound when I got to meet the founder of Friends of Jaclyn, Denis Murphy. I’m proud to stand with the Mojica family, and I know for a fact all my teammates are as well.”
Teammate Ethan Hanna ’21 concurred with Morehead when he stated, “Friends of Jaclyn has opened my own eyes and my teammate’s eyes up to a world that we have never experienced. It has taught me how fortunate I am to be a healthy person and not have to live in constant battle. It has taught me that I am never in a bad situation compared to many people. It has broadened my outlook and inspired me to take on challenges that I would have not if I had not met DJ and had not become involved with Friends of Jaclyn.”
The matching recently continued with the joining of forces between the Varsity Softball family and sisters Haley and Emily Beatty.
"I am so excited about our burgeoning relationship with the Friends of Jaclyn organization,” said Head of Upper School Todd Stephenson. “The first connection with the boys' lacrosse team was wonderful. I loved watching the girls from the softball team welcome our next family. That the cheerleaders are working on an adoption really warms my heart. This is becoming a true St. Andrew's tradition that highlights just how much our kids value deep connections with the community."
The feelings of all three student-athletes are indeed matched by the FOJ administration.
“Friends of Jaclyn is amazingly grateful for everything St. Andrew's School, their teams, and their staff have done and continue to do for FOJ children,” said FOJ Adoption and Outreach Director Alicia Greenstone. “With two Friends of Jaclyn SAS adoptions completed and one to come, we have seen incredible character in the student athletes. From DJ and Jaxen's Boys Lacrosse adoption to Haley and Emily's Softball adoption; SAS has been welcoming, kind, compassionate, and wonderfully giving. FOJ is proud to continue to build ongoing relationships with SAS teams and is looking forward to all the wonderful moments of love, support, and friendship to come for our children!”
The matches continue as our Varsity Cheerleading squad is set to welcome in their new teammate this August, with a draft ceremony to take place prior to the season.
Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.