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‘Orange Out’ honors the memory of Sarah Jakielski

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Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries hosted its seventh annual “Orange Out” Jan. 9 to honor the memory of Sarah Jakielski, a former student who lost her life to leukemia Dec. 13, 2011.


Since Jakielksi’s death, members of the John Paul the Great community have decked themselves out in orange, the color representing leukemia awareness, and attend the annual event that features both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams.


In respect for Jakielski, the crowd remains quiet until the 13th point is scored, “because that is the day one of our students passed away into the next life after battling leukemia,” said sophomore Brianna Wydajewski, girls varsity basketball player. 


The event also provides an opportunity for the school community to gather together and demonstrate their support for one another. While most current students never personally knew Jakielski, they feel that it is important to support their fellow Wolves, past and present.


“I thought it was important to go to because it was for a great cause and showing up shows your support for a student who once (attended) John Paul the Great,” said sophomore Anna Brundage.


Kimberly McHugh, a teacher who heads the Options program, also echoed this sentiment. “My favorite part about the ‘Orange Out’ is watching the whole school come together for a great cause,” said McHugh.  


Kicking off the event, the lady Wolves took their place on the court to face the Potomac School Panthers.  Because the 13th point of the game was not scored until the second half, the gym remained absolutely silent for the first half of the game until finally, the crowd erupted into uproarious applause. Although a close game, the Panthers edged ahead with a 51-44 win. Following the girls varsity game, the boys’ varsity team played the Miller School of Albermarle.  The Wolves lost to the Miller Mavericks 69-52.


It was the spirit of the community, however, and not the scoreboard that testified to the success of the event. "Every ‘Orange Out’ is a tremendous experience. This year was no different,” said Chris Vander Woude, athletic director. “The fan support was amazing and to hear the crowd explode with the team scored the 13th point gave me the chills. The teams fought extremely hard. It was a great night and a great way to honor the memory of not only the alumni who battled Leukemia but everyone who carries their cross by battling this horrible disease."


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018