By Liz Sullivan
¡Viva Cristo Rey!
On June 9, against the backdrop of the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University, Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School celebrated its inaugural graduation.
The high school, which opened its doors to a freshman class in August of 2014, conferred diplomas on 109 graduates. In addition, four students (Mayra Luna Munoz, Minh Nguyen, Alexa Monserrat Orozco Palomino and Daisy P. Rodriguez) were class valedictorians as each finished with a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Overall, 23 students compiled GPA’s of 3.5 or better.
“What a day,” said Principal Joe Albers, who delivered his remarks in English and Spanish. “This is the most exciting day of my career. Today is a celebration of trust, hope and love. I cannot tell you how proud I am of all of you. You challenged me over these last four years and you inspired me. Now I ask for you to continue to finish what you start, be grateful for everything you have and pay it forward.”
Every member of the Class of 2018 will attend college, with 98 percent of the class being the first members of their families to advance to a secondary education.
“Cristo Rey was once just a name that held little significance to us,” said student commencement speaker Kaela Quinto-Reloba, who will attend Santa Clara. “Our time here has blossomed and meant so much more than we ever thought it could. We have seen Cristo Rey grow. It has been a beautiful opportunity to see how much it has changed. Now as Saint Ignatius said: ‘Go forth and set the world on fire.”
A common theme from the numerous speakers during the ceremony was how this class, and their peers, have the opportunity to go out and change the world.
“I would like to see you go out and fix this broken world,” said school president Margaret Higgins, PhD.
Said Father John P. Foley, S.J., Chairman Emeritus and Chief Mission Officer for the Cristo Rey Network, a network of 32, and growing schools, across the United States: “We can’t wait for anyone else to fix this world. Your dreams have made this possible. Now set your sails for the future and prepare yourself for a riveting ride.”
The graduates selected one of the more popular faculty members, Assistant Principal Billy Bludgus, to give the Faculty Commencement Address.
“You are the reasons for hope that our future will be better than it is today,” said Bludgus, his voice cracking with emotion. “The footsteps you take across the stage today (to receive their diplomas) represent the thousands of footprints you have left on my heart.”
Cristo Rey also bestowed honorary degrees on benefactors John A and Sue Sobrato and B.J. and Bebe Cassin.
Diocese of San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath offered the Benediction at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“Our world needs you,” said the Bishop before the prayer. “Our world needs each and every one of you. Our world is waiting for you. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.”
¡Viva Cristo Rey!