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Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Appoints First Alumni to Board of Directors


CHICAGO, IL - In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is proud to announce the appointment of two alumni as new members of the CRJHS Board of Directors. Tiffany Luna ’06 and Guillermo (Memo) Cruz ’03 are the first-ever alumni elected to the Board. Luna and Cruz will each serve a three-year term.

“I am incredibly proud to welcome Tiffany and Memo as Board members for Cristo Rey,” said Dominick Zarcone, President, LKQ Corporation, and Chair of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s Board of Directors. “This is a significant moment in Cristo Rey’s history. Memo and Tiffany are shining examples of the long-term impact of the Cristo Rey education and our Corporate Work Study Program as a pipeline for workforce development.”

Tiffany Luna, MBA, is a Private Equity Principal at PPM America, Inc., where she has been working for the past 10 years. Luna studied International Relations and History at Wellesley College and earned her MBA in Finance and Marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2018. In her four years at Cristo Rey, Tiffany worked at GTCR, a private equity firm. As a senior, Tiffany played the role of La Virgen de Guadalupe at the school’s annual Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass. She is married to a fellow Cristo Rey alum, and they have a daughter.

Tiffany’s path to success has given her the skills, resources, and the desire to give back to her alma mater in this special way. “Cristo Rey and GTCR provided me with social capital, and created bridges to people that have the influence and resources available to help others,” she reflected. “I'm not going to say that my hard work didn't get me to Wellesley, but also Cristo Rey is creating amazing bridges to the social capital that our community needs. At first, I believed that since I had crossed the bridge, it was now my responsibility to help guide others across. However, the more I reflect, the more I realize that I want to serve as a bridge for the students, the alumni, and the Board of Directors.”

Guillermo (Memo) Cruz began working at Aon as a freshman through Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program. He worked there throughout his academic years and upon graduating from Harold Washington College then DePaul University, he was offered a full-time position. For the past 21 years at Aon, Guillermo has been working amongst senior corporate leaders globally in various capacities including communications management, marketing content development, and international network coordination. Cruz is married to a fellow Cristo Rey alum, and they have two children.

Since graduation, Memo has stayed involved with Cristo Rey, coaching flag football, and head coaching the boys’ volleyball team from 2003-2018. “It is our responsibility as alumni of Cristo Rey to give back by providing mentorship and making contributions that will positively impact the student body and the school alike.” he said. Memo also currently mentors Cristo Rey students working at Aon.

“I’ve had the joy, along with their families, of witnessing Memo and Tiffany’s journeys from high school student, to college graduate, to workforce professional,” said Antonio Ortiz, President, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. “Their individual successes will bring meaningful perspective and insightful leadership to our Board. I am more hopeful than ever for the future of our school, students, and alumni.”

Cristo Rey’s Board of Directors is comprised of 25 dedicated individuals from the education, business, religious, and volunteer communities. The Board of Directors supports the mission of Cristo Rey Jesuit, while acting as an advocates and ambassadors for the school, its students, and the Corporate Work Study Program.

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Brooks Boosts Cristo Rey Runners

Last year, Cristo Rey chemistry teacher, cross country coach, and lifelong runner Molly Boyle spoke to an athletic trainer about stretches to prevent the knee pain and shin splints experienced by some of her student runners. Nodding in the direction of one runner, the trainer shook her head and confirmed, “No amount of stretching will keep shin splints away if your runner keeps wearing those shoes.”

Cristo Rey’s inclusive cross country and track and field programs attract both experienced athletes and those who are brand new to running alike. “Regardless of experience,” admits Ms. Boyle, “few of our runners show up to the season with a good pair of true running shoes. For most of the families we serve, the idea of prioritizing a significant investment in running shoes doesn’t fit the budget, and many students need shoes they can use for multiple sports.”

So, when Ms. Boyle came across a generous grant opportunity from the Brooks Running Company, she made the time to apply, on top of her coaching and teaching obligations. After some helpful edits from colleague Carolyn Alessio, Ms. Boyle’s submission was chosen along with those from 25 other schools nationwide, providing $2,000 for team expenses and equipping runners with top end running shoes, apparel, and even a custom team tent!

Reactions to the new shoes were unequivocal - "They put them on their feet and the reactions were beautiful," remembers Ms. Boyle. While trying out her new pair on a treadmill, senior runner Kailey exclaimed, “I didn’t know that shoes could feel this way!” Fellow senior Alex admitted, “My shoes were three years old and had been used for eight sport seasons! These are great.” After the first two weeks with the new shoes, complaints about shin splints dropped off and a few new PRs were set.

Since 2015, Brooks’ Booster Club initiative has invested more than $2.1 million in cash and running gear among more than 6,000 young runners. Jordan Hamm of Brooks shares, “At Brooks, we know that running is the most inclusive sport in the world… The Brooks Booster Club ensures that accessibility so that young runners can have a lasting and impactful experience with our sport.”

Ms. Boyle approves of Brooks’ plan: “Chicago has a great running culture. Our students witness teachers’ running groups take off from the school plaza after school and iconic races like the Chicago Marathon, Shamrock Shuffle, and our neighborhood’s own Carrera de los Muertos run for Day of the Dead. The majority of our runners are inspired to continue after high school, and many of them got their first, captivating exposure to running here at Cristo Rey.”

Thank you, Ms. Boyle and Brooks!

Editor’s note: Ms. Boyle says she just ran out of men’s size 9.5. If readers have any leads, contact advancement@cristorey.net.

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Cristo Rey Career Month

 

Cristo Rey’s Junior Career Day in March of 2020 concluded just hours before the school, and the nation, commenced a year of pandemic-related remote work and learning. Determined to give the Class of 2022 the same career readiness experience as their predecessors, Career Day 2021 pivoted this spring, both to a virtual setting and to a month-long series of programming - the first-ever Career Month!

Cristo Rey’s young advisory board, the Leadership Advisory Council (LAC), once again led the effort behind this annual tradition. With input from the College Counseling and Corporate Work Study Program offices, the LAC decided to focus programming on building up students’ professional profiles, notably and fittingly, their virtual presence. Since every Cristo Rey student graduates with four years of professional work experience, developing both resumes and LinkedIn profiles provided students a chance to tangibly mark and organize achievements ahead of college applications.

To that end, the LAC developed and led an interactive workshop on resumes and the basics of LinkedIn, with a dozen volunteers offering individualized coaching and feedback on students’ drafts. The volunteers encouraged students to think deeply on how to frame their CWSP jobs, service projects, scholarships, and academic successes. To build on their LinkedIn profiles, Cristo Rey excitedly welcomed a professional from LinkedIn to lead a follow-up workshop on best LinkedIn practices, straight from the source!

The final event of our adapted Career Month was a student Career Conference. Mimicking a professional conference, students were able to choose two of 15 breakout sessions to attend, each providing various college and career advice from a wide range of speakers. Especially exciting for the school and students, 12 panelists were alumni representing nine class years. These alumni volunteers included a respiratory therapist, an entrepreneur who started his own business, a “Big 4” consultant, and a marketing professional who leveraged her CWSP placement to land her first full-time position.

Overall, Cristo Rey (virtually) welcomed 40 volunteers across the three events, and we are extremely grateful for their contributions. If you are interested in learning more about the Leadership Advisory Council or sharing the work of Cristo Rey with your company, contact Taylor Sticha, Manager of Corporate Engagement.
 

 

Top photo: Latia Youngfountain from LinkedIn leads students in a "Rock Your Profile" workshop

Middle: The Latinx Business Resource Group from Grant Thornton, including alumna Hilda Carrasco '14, speaks to students about finding your 'amigos' at work.

Bottom: LAC member Allison Kirchner Ellis and fellow MD/PhD colleagues discuss the path to medical school and the various professional opportunities in the medical field.

 

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25th Anniversary Cristero Chats Series

In celebration of Cristo Rey Jesuit’s 25th Anniversary, join us in 2021 for engaging conversation and opportunities to connect, share, and learn. Join us on Thursday, May 20 for a conversation on College Trends. 

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Corporate Partners invest in the development of a diverse workforce and in our students’ futures, building qualified and talented future leadership within their company industry.

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