Mayra Luna, a junior at Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School, was invited to speak at the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) Silicon Valley Summit Awards Dinner on October 28 at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco. HITEC is a global executive leadership organization of senior business and IT executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology. HITEC’s mission is to enable business and professional growth for its members and fill the executive pipeline with the next generation of Hispanic leaders.
At the Summit Awards Dinner, Mayra spoke in front of 400 IT executives and business leaders about her experiences working at Cisco through Cristo Rey San José’s Corporate Work Study Program and how it has helped her grow both professionally and personally. This past summer, through the encouragement of her coworkers at Cisco, Mayra was able to raise almost $10,000 in order to attend Harvard University Summer School program where she took classes in microeconomics and psychology.
“This for me meant more than you could imagine. I was so moved by the kindness of everyone,” recalled Mayra in her speech. “I can’t ever forget that HITEC funded a big part of the cost and Cisco helped raise the rest of the money.”
Mayra’s relationships with Cisco and HITEC have allowed her to grow her network and create opportunities that she may not have experienced otherwise, such as the summer program at Harvard. Mayra’s experience is not unique. The Cristo Rey San José Corporate Work Study Program is designed to expose students to careers and professional role models that will help them gain the knowledge, experience, and connections they need in order to be successful at college and beyond.
Mayra ended her speech with an inspiring call to action, urging the attendees to give back to the youth in their community:
“I am really thankful for knowing and working with these individuals at Cisco and HITEC. I am thankful to know that if I ever need anything, they are going to be there every step of the way. I encourage every single one of you to give. To teach the young ones like me what technology and companies like Cisco can do for them. To help the youth achieve their goals, because we are the next generation and we are the ones that are going to make a change in this world.”
Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School provides students from underserved communities a rigorous college-prep education and a unique Work Study program in which students work one day per week at local businesses. Fees paid by companies such as Cisco, HP, Yahoo, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Frank Rimerman + Co., and dozens of others help offset up to 50% of tuition costs.
Sponsored jointly by the California Province of the Society of Jesus and the Diocese of San Jose, Cristo Rey San José is one of 32 schools nationally that comprise the Cristo Rey Network. For more information, please visit www.cristoreysanjose.org.