Cougar Chronicles: 10 Years of Empowering Students, Issue 2

Oct 18, 2022 | Cougar Chronicles

Greetings, Cristo Rey Columbus supporters!

The 2022-23 school year is well underway, with the first quarter of classes wrapping up last week as well as SAT and PSAT testing taking place. This year, Girls Tennis returned to the athletic schedule (on hiatus due to COVID), the Cross Country team welcomed new runners to the veteran team, and Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, and Volleyball are winding down their seasons with Senior Nights and tournament play. The student body enjoyed celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month as well as the school’s annual Spirit Week, capped off by the Enchanted Forest-themed Homecoming Dance. And the Campus Ministry student team has done a beautiful job of planning the school’s regular Masses, which are celebrated every 2 weeks.

One very special school Mass took place at the end of August – the annual Opening Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral. This is the only Mass of the school year that all 4 grade levels are able to gather together, and we had the distinct honor of having The Most Reverend Earl K. Fernandes, Bishop of Columbus, as the celebrant. We prayed for courage, wisdom, and faith to embark upon the school year, and as we continue our 10-Year Celebration, we reflect on the many blessings that have been bestowed on our Cristo Rey Columbus community.

Of course, blessings often come in the form of people – those special individuals who work for the good of others and serve a mission greater than themselves. The very existence of Cristo Rey Columbus is due in huge part to the many people who understood the value of Cristo Rey and worked tirelessly to bring a school to Columbus.

In order to honor these supporters, the annual Milt Schott Award was created, which recognizes a member of the Cristo Rey Columbus community whose contributions have been instrumental to its development and success. In celebration of Cristo Rey Columbus’ 10th Year, we are thrilled to announce that the recipient of the 2023 Milt Schott Award is The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D. Bishop Campbell served as Bishop of Columbus from 2005 to 2019, during which time the formation of Cristo Rey Columbus began. It was because of Bishop Campbell’s approval and blessing that the first steps towards opening the school, including working with the Cristo Rey Network and conducting initial studies, could take place, and his support for the mission continues to this day. We are honored to have him accept the 2023 Milt Schott Award, which will be celebrated with a Mass and ceremony in the spring.

Continued thanks for being a part of the Cristo Rey Columbus family. We hope you enjoy the special features in this issue and much more to come!

Viva Cristo Rey!

10 years ago, the first Cristo Rey Columbus students began their journey as the inaugural freshman class. One of those students, Vanesa Mora, went on to become the Class of 2017 Co-Valedictorian, graduate from Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies and Anthropology, and return to Columbus to begin her career at The Reeb Center, a non-profit community center serving Columbus’ South Side neighborhood.

Vanesa was kind enough to sit down with us to reflect on how Cristo Rey prepared her for her college journey at Brown, the skillsets she developed during her time at Cristo Rey, and the mentorship she gained. Click below to watch!

We are so grateful to ALL of our Professional Work-Study Partners, past and present, for championing our students and giving them an invaluable professional experience.

In this issue, we celebrate 10-Year Partner, Mount Carmel Health System. The second-largest health care system in central Ohio, they employ over 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians in their numerous outpatient facilities and four hospitals: Mount Carmel East, Mount Carmel Grove City, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s, and Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital. Mount Carmel also operates the Medicare Advantage plan MediGold and is the second largest member of Trinity Health.

Mount Carmel Health hosts FIVE student teams, allowing 20 students the opportunity to explore careers in nursing, hospital operations, and more. In addition to hosting student teams, Mount Carmel Health is involved at the board level, with William Hubbard, Mission Leader for the Columbus Region (pictured right) with Trinity Health (Mount Carmel Health System) joining the board this year.

We asked Deanna Stewart, President of the Mount Carmel Foundation, to talk about the value that Mount Carmel Health System finds in participating in the work-study program::

“Mount Carmel is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Cristo Rey work-study program. The students are terrific – hardworking, smart, and very open to receiving input and coaching. It is inspiring to see the students develop and go on to study at outstanding universities. The Cristo Rey program truly does change lives one student at a time.”

Three of the students who are working at Mount Carmel Health System this year wanted to share a little about their experiences as well as say THANKS for the opportunity! Click below to watch:

There are countless individuals who played a part in making the dream of Cristo Rey Columbus a reality, and we thank them all!

The early days of Cristo Rey Columbus required a “boots on the ground” mentality and  a dedicated group of people to get the work done. Original board member, Chrissie Landolfi, truly embraced the hands-on aspects of that work, and we sat down with her to discuss her favorite moments.:

Q: What is your fondest memory of your involvement with Cristo Rey Columbus so far?

A: I will never forget watching the very first class of Cristo Rey students walking down Broad Street in Franklinton on their way to the Opening School Mass at Holy Family church in their pristine new uniforms as their loved ones filed into the church to join them. It was a magical moment and the fulfillment of a dream and years of work, and they were such a beautiful sight in their diversity but also in their shared excitement and pride.

I also remember traveling on the school bus with a group of four of the first students as a dry run to visit their Professional Work-Study job. They were nervous and had no idea what to expect, but their work study supervisor put them at ease while showing them around the office and introducing them to their co-workers.

Accompanying the first teachers on a walk-through of the new school building on Town Street… watching the students search for their ornament on the large Christmas tree… hosting a tour of the school with a potential work-study partner or donor and speaking with student ambassadors… laughing as the students caught pancakes on their plates at the pancake breakfasts… chaperoning the first homecoming dance… participating in speed chatting… celebrating 100% college acceptance. My fond memories of Cristo Rey Columbus are too many to narrow down, and I hope to make many more.

Q: How has being a part of Cristo Rey Columbus given you a sense of joy?:

A: Being a part of Cristo Rey Columbus has given me so much joy because I have seen lives transformed by the quality of education that is delivered in such a caring and compassionate setting. I see in the Cristo Rey students a real sense of belonging to something that is bigger than them, and I see them being nourished in a way that they then learn to pass that on to others. There is so much potential in the students of CRC and the joy comes in watching them realize it.

Q: What is your hope for the future of Cristo Rey Columbus?

A: My hope for the future is that Cristo Rey Columbus becomes an even more well-known, respected, and a cherished part of the community for generations to come; that the alumni of the school spread far and wide giving back to their community and supporting the school and the students that are following in their footsteps; and that the school building becomes a hub for services for the extended Cristo Rey family and a continuing point of pride for the city of Columbus. And how cool would it be to have alumni return to serve CRC as faculty, staff, and board members – maybe even as the President or Principal at the school. I believe that is a very real possibility, not just my hope.

Each issue will feature a look inside the school to showcase the enhancements taking place to enrich and enliven the student experience. Click below to enjoy the short video!

In the summer of 2019, a series of interviews took place with key individuals involved with Cristo Rey Columbus’ creation and early days of operation. Conducted by Liz Webb, Columbus Foundation Fellow, these interviews have been compiled into an oral history of the school. This issue features a conversation with Cristo Rey Columbus High School Founding Board Chair, Tom McAuliffe. Click on the link below to enjoy the audio interview!