Cougar Chronicles: A Cristo Rey Columbus Newsletter

Dec 14, 2023 | Cougar Chronicles

Greetings! We hope that you and your family are enjoying the blessings of this holiday season. The month of December is a time of festivity, anticipation, and joy. That is apparent in our Town Street school building which has been transformed into a celebration of Christmas by our National Honor Society. The decorations and lights help to put a smile on all of our faces as we wind down the first semester of the school year.

This time of year is also for reflection. As we think back on the year that has passed, this reflection may include goals that we achieved, travel that we enjoyed, or improvements we can make in the coming year. Another valuable reflection to consider is how we spent our time in our community.  Did we treat others well? Did we contribute positively? Did we set a good example for others?

This reflection ties in perfectly with our theme for the 2023-24 school year, which serves to inspire and encourage our students, faculty, and staff. This school year’s theme is “Together in Word and Deed” and is rooted in the scripture passage Colossians 3:12-17:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love,

that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

This passage envisions a community in action, which is what we are at Cristo Rey. By taking on the way of life of Christ, we are transformed, not merely by our own actions, but above all by God’s own love at work.

Continued thanks for being a part of the Cristo Rey Columbus family. We hope you enjoy the special features in this issue – including hearing from Cristo Rey Columbus alumni and students – and much more!

Viva Cristo Rey!

New Staff Roles

This year, several of our staff members stepped into new positions here at Cristo Rey Columbus, and we are excited to have them tackle these new roles as we continue to enhance the student experience! Here are a few:

Carly Miller, J.D., Chief Advancement Officer

Ms. Miller is in her eighth year with Cristo Rey Columbus and has served both as Chief Operating Officer and in the Advancement department. Prior to joining Cristo Rey, Ms. Miller practiced law, but she spent her free time volunteering with youth in educational settings. She is thrilled that her day job now supports youth directly! She is also passionate about the Columbus Metropolitan Library and serves on the Friends of the Library Board.

President Joe Patrick believes Ms. Miller is eminently qualified for this position. “As a long-time employee and with many donor and community relationships already established, Ms. Miller is the perfect person for this role,” Mr. Patrick said. “Her background, years of experience at CRC, and passion for our staff and students are a powerful combination. With her leadership in our fundraising efforts and the work of our other school leaders, we are poised to help CRC take the next steps.”

Katie Laufersweiler-Hanf, Assistant Principal of Student Services

Katie Laufersweiler-Hanf began her career with CRC at the start of the 2016-17 school year as a Theology teacher. She moved into an administrative role in 2022 as the school’s first Student Success Coordinator where she oversaw efforts to grow the academic and executive functioning support systems for our students. After an immensely successful year that included impressive improvements in both student grades and test scores, Mrs. Laufersweiler-Hanf was named Assistant Principal of Student Services to begin this school year. Along with Assistant Principal of Academics, Shelby Fischer, she continues to make great strides in advancing the school’s culture of success inside and outside the classroom.

CharAnna Dixon, Athletic Director

After teaching Physical Education and Health at Cristo Rey since 2019, CharAnna Dixon was named Athletic Director to start the school year. A former volleyball and track athlete, Coach Dixon continues to serve as head coach for the Volleyball and Track & Field teams. She looks forward to continuing to expand athletic offerings for students, such as this year’s new addition, Indoor Track, which will compete during the winter season along with Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, ESports, and Wrestling.

Student Spotlight

The stars of Cristo Rey Columbus are our students! Get to know a little about senior class member, Savion, by clicking the image to the right.
New Online Stores

We are excited to announce the opening of our new online apparel stores! Check out the Athletics Store to stock up on all the gear you need to cheer on our Cougars. Visit the Spirit Store for Cristo Rey branded shirts, jackets, vests, hats, accessories, and more. Click the links below to start shopping!

Alumni in Action

Seeing our graduates make an impact in their communities is one of the greatest joys we have at Cristo Rey Columbus. For Class of 2022 alumna, Shreejana Bastola (left,) that impact has a personal meaning, as she advocates for mental health awareness in immigrant and refugee communities. As a second-year neuroscience major at The Ohio State University, Shreejana is using her experience as a Bhutanese-Nepali American to shine a spotlight on the unique struggles that immigrants, refugees, and first-generation students face when it comes to mental health. The recent conference, “Resilient Minds: Empowering Youth,” which Shreejana helped organize, featured a youth panel that included fellow CRC alums, Merafe Endalew ‘22 and Regina Loayza ‘20, as well as current CRC senior, ND ’24 (below.) To learn more, CLICK HERE to read the Columbus Dispatch feature article on our amazing alumni and their efforts to improve mental health awareness by sharing their experiences.

Athletics Update

Congratulations to the Cross Country and Volleyball teams for winning Conference Championships in the United League! The Cross Country team also became the first team in Cristo Rey Columbus history to participate in the Central Catholic League.

The Boys Soccer team had a great season which included a nine-game winning streak!


Support Our Year End Appeal

We’re 25% of the way to meeting our Year End Appeal goal – and you can help us reach it today!

Supporting the students of Cristo Rey is one of the most rewarding contributions you can make. Please consider making a tax deductible donation by December 31 and give students like Dakotah and Jaelan (below) the support they need to achieve their dreams!

Questions? Please contact Carly Miller, Chief Advancement Officer, at 614-223-9261 ext. 011 or
Faculty Feature

What makes the faculty at Cristo Rey Columbus so special is their passion and dedication to our mission. We took a moment to chat with Government and AP Government teacher, Ms. Amy Zalimas, about her experience at CRC since she began teaching here in 2016:

Q:  What made you want to teach at CRC, and what makes you stay?

A: I love the mission of Cristo Rey – this is the most rewarding place I have ever taught. For me (and I think for everyone here) teaching is a calling and a mission. High school is a challenging time for many people; what keeps me here is the privilege of these students allowing me into their lives, even for a brief moment in time. I can only hope that I give them the skills and tools that they need when they leave us, but more importantly, I want them to feel loved, seen, valued, and enriched by their experiences in my classroom and in this school.

Q: What is a favorite moment or experience that you have had at CRC so far?

A: Oh, there are so very many. When I went from being a 9th grade to an 11th grade teacher, I was so fortunate to get the opportunity to teach two groups of students twice – it was a huge blessing to see the growth firsthand and to get to know these students. My favorite experiences involve little moments with our amazing students…the love they give back is worth its weight in gold. I love the visits I get before and after school from students, and oh how I love the random visits and emails from former students. That is the hardest thing about teaching at a small school like this. We watch these students grow, we get to know them and love them, and then we have to let them go!  Four years goes by way too fast!

Q: What is your hope for the future of CRC?

A: My hope for the future of CRC is that it always stays true to its Jesuit roots. I hope that we always remember that just as it is a privilege for these students to attend CRC, it is also a privilege for us to serve here. Keeping our servant hearts strong and remaining a loving, welcoming place that meets our students where they are is paramount to our continued success as a school. I also think it is important for us to center the students in all the decisions and choices we make as educators. The most important thing we are doing here is helping to shape “men and women for others” – people who are called to make the world a better place. I know that sometimes when my faith in the direction humanity is going gets shaken, our students give me hope for the future!

The Cristo Rey Podcast
Did you know that Cristo Rey Columbus has a weekly student podcast with over 100 episodes? Visit the Cristo Rey Podcast’s YouTube playlist to catch up on the current season and explore episodes from past years!