By Patrick Panarese ‘24

March 21 is known as World Down Syndrome Day, where people all around the world raise awareness for this cause. Brother Rice celebrated this day with all their might by holding a fundraiser called PALS.

PALS is an inclusive camp experience for people with and without Down Syndrome. This camp helps people with Down Syndrome meet new friends and create new friendships that they will have for the rest of their lives.

The Inclusion Club, which is run by Mr. Prunckle decided to dive right into this project. He looked for a student to take lead in the fundraiser. Junior Jay Jilek decided to take charge and be the leader of the PALS fundraiser.

Jilek said, “The fundraiser was very impactful because people were excited to have a way to help support the cause on World Down Syndrome Day. Our main goal was to raise awareness, so through the volleyball game, lots of socks, and posters, we were able to accomplish that goal.”

This event was held at the Brother Rice volleyball game against Lyons Township High School. Before the start of the game, junior Matt Phelan, a key player for the volleyball team, gave a brief statement about what the fundraiser meant to him.

Phelan said, “I was honored to speak in front of my teammates, my coaches, and the parents about how we can stand up and support Down Syndrome awareness. The outcome of the volleyball game wasn’t what I was expecting, but I was very happy with the amount of money we raised for the summer camp this year.”

After giving his speech, parents from both schools rushed to the fundraiser stand, donating whatever spare money they had in their purses, wallets, and pockets.

Junior Andrew Quinn was at the stand keeping track of the donations, and he was excited to see all the donations.

Quinn said, “Earlier in March, Jay Jilek and I met with Mr. Prunckle to discuss our platforms to promote inclusivity throughout the school. Jay came up with the idea that a school sports event would be a great opportunity to raise funds for a Down Syndrome awareness cause, and together, he and I decided on the PALS program. Jay and I are both volunteering as peers for PALS this summer, so we thought it would be an awesome way to give back to an incredible program.”

The Inclusion Club ended up raising $1,210. These Crusaders are really doing some great things for the community. I can’t wait to see what they do next.