Cougar Chronicles: 10 Years of Empowering Students, Issue 4

Mar 7, 2023 | Cougar Chronicles

Greetings, Cristo Rey Columbus supporters!

Spring is just around the corner and we are excited to see new growth begin to sprout on the beautiful Cristo Rey Columbus campus. Of course, that growth could mean the vibrant flowers outside the main entrance doors or the verdant leaves repopulating the trees in the Topiary Park. However, much more meaningful is the growth we see in our students everyday as they continue to blossom into bright young men and women of character.

This week is a big one on the Cristo Rey Columbus calendar! Students are working hard in the classroom as they seek to close out Quarter 3 of the academic gradebook with high marks. The Class of 2023 is enjoying their Senior Retreat, an overnight stay at Recreation Unlimited, where they will further bond as classmates and friends in their final stretch of high school. Another group of over 60 students will participate in the 4th Annual Guadalupe Youth Summit at Ohio Dominican University, an opportunity for high school students of Hispanic descent to gather as a community and play their part as disciples of God.

The Class of 2023 achieved a tremendous milestone last week, continuing the unbroken tradition of 100% College Acceptance! Each of the 97 members of the senior class has received acceptance into at least one college or university, the 7th consecutive class to do so and the EARLIEST of any class before them! Congratulations, seniors – we can’t wait to see where the future takes you!

Speaking of milestones, as we continue to commemorate our 10th school year, we are thrilled to be preparing for the 10-Year Celebration Event on Saturday, May 20 at Cristo Rey Columbus and the adjacent Kaufman Plaza at the Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Branch. This joyous event will celebrate all those who have supported our school in its first 10 years with an evening of fun, food, and festivity.

The most memorable part of the night will be the student-led program, featuring student performances and co-hosted by Rebeca ‘23, Ujwal ‘23, Emily ‘24, and Jade ‘25. We will also welcome back Cristo Rey Columbus Class of 2017 alumna, Asia Riley, to be a featured speaker. For those who attended The Garden Party in 2016, you will recall Asia’s moving remarks as she and her classmates prepared to become Cristo Rey Columbus’ first graduating class. We are thrilled to welcome Asia back to Cristo Rey to join in this evening of celebration!

We’d love for you to join us as well! Event information and ticket purchasing can be found at We hope to see you there!

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!

10 years ago, the first Cristo Rey Columbus students began their journey as the inaugural freshman class. One of those students, Asia Riley, went on to graduate from Spelman College with Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Film and Visual Culture. She is currently living in Atlanta, Georgia where she works at Deloitte.

Asia was kind enough to sit down with us to reflect on what she learned at Cristo Rey Columbus, how the school supported her to pursue her dreams, and how being a Cristo Rey Columbus student changed her life. Click the play button 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 TWO 10-Year Partners – first up, is First Merchants Bank. First Merchants Corporation is the largest financial services holding company located in Central Indiana with branches throughout the state as well as in Illinois, Michigan, and right here in Columbus and its suburbs. Offering a broad array of financial services including personal banking, business banking, mortgage lending, treasury management services, and wealth management, First Merchants Bank focuses on building deep, lifelong client relationships and providing maximum shareholder value.

We asked Jennifer Griffith, Regional President with First Merchants Bank and former Cristo Rey Columbus Board of Trustees member, about the value First Merchants Bank finds in partnering with the Cristo Rey Columbus Professional Work-Study Program:

“We’re so proud to have such a strong, long-lasting partnership with Cristo Rey Columbus High School. Our bank’s values and vision so closely align with Cristo Rey’s – we’re both passionate about the power of a healthy community. This work-study program lays the groundwork for these students to have generation-changing opportunities. It bolsters the whole community – each family impacted by Cristo Rey has the opportunity to impact thousands, to motivate entire communities. It’s changing, it’s elevating, it’s prosperous; and, as First Merchants is focused on the wellness and prosperity of our communities, that impact is something we find incredibly priceless and valuable. We’re honored to have been a part of it for the past decade. I’m excited to see how this partnership grows over the next ten years and excited to see how it will continue to transform our community.”

A big shout out to the First Merchant Bank student team for 2022-23: Makeda ’23, Dominic ’24, Rosalinda ’25, and Aidan ’26!

Makeda shared with us one of the things she enjoys about working at First Merchants Bank:

“One thing I enjoy about First Merchants Bank is the environment of collaboration that my supervisor and coworkers create. I appreciate how they make me comfortable asking questions and provide me with opportunities for learning.”

We also celebrate another 10-Year Partner, Bricker & Eckler. Bricker & Eckler is a leading Midwest law firm with offices throughout Ohio and clients across the country. The firm was founded in Columbus in 1945 and officially adopted the name Bricker & Eckler in 1978. Just like Cristo Rey Columbus, the firm’s home base is in one of Columbus’ beautiful historical buildings – the Old, Old Post Office, the first federal building in Columbus, which they helped to restore beginning in 1983. Managing Partner, James F. Flynn, is a former member of the Professional Work-Study Board of Trustees.

A big shout out to Bricker & Eckler’s student workers for 2022-23, senior Phil and junior Holly.

We sat down with Holly and asked her what she enjoys most about working at Bricker & Eckler. Click the play button below to watch!

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 Director of Admissions, Meghan Devring. Click the button below to enjoy the audio interview!