Jefferson High School continues ‘Wave of Love’ with El Paso Children’s Hospital

High School Sports

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Jefferson High School’s ‘Wave of Love’ tradition is a sight to see. 

The South Central high school, in partnership with the El Paso Children’s Hospital, provides patients and their families at the hospital the chance to interact with football players, cheerleaders, and fans from Silver Fox Stadium during Jefferson High School home football games by waving to each other. 

The origin story of the tradition goes back to 2017 when Jesse Tovar was spending time at the hospital during his daughter’s stay. 

While there, a sight across the street caught Tovar’s attention and sparked the idea for the ‘Wave of Love’. 

“I walked across the hall and I saw that Silver Fox Stadium was getting finalized,” said Tovar. “I looked down and I remembered the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, I saw a story that they would wave up to the patients there.”

The University of Iowa started the tradition back in 2017. 

Everyone in attendance at Kinnick Stadium waves at children at the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

In 2018, Tovar met with 9 Overtime’s Ed Stansbury for lunch where the idea was discussed.

With serious dedication and after multiple meetings, the tradition came to life.

“A lot of people don’t know the back story but yes it was at a lunch with Ed and myself where we talked about it and it’s come to be where we are at now,” said Tovar. 

The ‘Wave of Love’ has gained a lot of support from the community as it continues to create special memories for everyone involved.

“It’s something to feel good for both parties, “said Jefferson football head coach Tony Martinez. “For the kids they are seeing they are being praised up there for their fight and for the kids down here they see that the kids are up there fighting for life.”

Every time the tradition is seen by those at the El Paso Children’s Hospital it manages to have the same impact as it did the first time it was done back in 2018. 

“The patients might think that no one is thinking of them but then to look out the window and see all those lights and now they [Jefferson High School] have a light up heart over there it’s very heartfelt…It’s a tender spirit, it’s made some of the staff members cry, it’s made some of the family members cry to see that interaction.” 

Meghan Kamau, the child life coordinator at the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

The tradition continues to go strong as the ‘Wave of Love’ can be seen during each Jefferson High School home game after the first quarter.

“I hope it continues to grow and it stays,” said Tovar. “Nobody needs to know where it came from, I just want El Paso to be part of it.”

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