Above Nav Container

Utility Container

Search Trigger (Container)

Button (Container)

Mobile Menu Trigger (container)

Off Canvas Navigation Container


Latest News

Students Participate in Summer Enrichment Programs

Summer Enrichment Programming prepares our students and their families for the necessity of leaving home in search of post-secondary educational opportunities, while providing enrichment opportunities to help them compete for admission and resources at more selective colleges. Cristo Rey’s College Counseling office worked with students throughout the spring to match them with summer enrichment opportunities. Students’ summer experiences ranged from programs at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to a desert studies program in Utah and an online class with Johns Hopkins. One student even travelled to Thailand!


Yara M. participated in the THEA Summer Institute at Loyola University Chicago. THEA (Theology of Healing Earth in Action) Institute classes focused on the theme of Earth's sacred water, with courses exploring scriptures, theological traditions, social justice and scholarship, with opportunities for service and field work around the city. Yara says her favorite part was “getting to know people from all over the country and having time to get to make friends."


Ashley R. spent a few weeks at Georgetown University in Washington DC in their Summer College Immersion Program (SCIP). This program is a three-week college prep program for rising high school seniors from the Cristo Rey Network and KIPP Foundation school systems and select schools, networks, and community-based organizations. Designed for high-achieving students with aspirations to apply to the most selective colleges and universities, the program provides a transformational learning experience and an introduction to college life. Students from across the country spent time engaged in a combination of class sessions, field trips, workshops and more to explore international relations, business, cybersecurity, government, STEM-related fields, liberal arts, and health studies. Ashley most enjoyed "being able to meet so many people from different parts of the country. I also really enjoyed the biology course."


Adamaris H. attended the 2022 National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) on Business Innovation - 7 days to Start-up. "My favorite part of the program would probably be meeting new people from different places. I really enjoyed how I bonded with most of my group members throughout the week we spent together. It was interesting discovering new places with new people."


Josue O. participated in Catalyst Academy in New York. "My favorite part of the Program were the sections were they introduced us to every type of engineering that they offer at Cornell University because it gave me a more clear view of which type of engineering I would like to do in college".


Anabelen H. studied at Syracuse University Summer College. She shared, "My favorite part was meeting new people and learning about social problems in the course I was taking which was sociology".


In addition to these exciting programs, 15 Cristo Rey students, along with students from Cristo Rey St. Martin in Waukegan, joined The Grand Tour with the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for a one-day tour in July. Students learned about architecture around the city of Chicago, and presented their own ideas to professional architects. 

Continue Reading This Article about Students Participate in Summer Enrichment Programs
CR Alumni: A Decade of Service at the School That Works

by Rex Ovalle '08

In the fall of 2012, Cristo Rey welcomed two alumni to the faculty and staff for the first time: Carlos Angeles '06, as Program Manager in the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP), and me from the Class of 2008, as an English teacher through the Jesuit Volunteer Program. Since then, nearly every department of the school has had alumni join their team. Nine alumni have been called to serve through the Jesuit Volunteer (JV) Program, dedicating two years of service to the school after college graduation. This fall, for the first time ever, Cristo Rey will welcome two alumni to the Administration Team: Maria Luevano '02, a longtime Spanish teacher, now serving as Director of School Mission, and Karen Laureano '11, former Counselor and new Director of School Culture. Guillermo Cruz '03 and Tiffany Luna '06 joining the Board of Directors last year also demonstrates a growing commitment from alumni.

In many ways, alumni presence at Cristo Rey flourishes more every year. I am now old enough to see my former students come back and serve in our Jesuit Volunteer Program, including three new JVs starting next month, Ailyn Cortez '17, Patrick Reyes '18, and Rachel Romero '18 . While the past two years of the pandemic may have introduced uncertainty into all our lives, I have only become more certain that the mission of Cristo Rey is “working” through the hands of our students and is “at work” in their hearts. In other words, over a quarter of a century into this experiment here in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, we can say that this school undoubtedly works.

This mission is working because we continue to propel students through college. For the past year and a half, as part of my PhD program, I taught English at University of Illinois at Chicago. It was one of my greatest joys to know that every time I walked onto campus I was going to be greeted by graduates studying and working on campus.

My colleague Maria Luevano says that she acquired the tenacity to finish college here at Cristo Rey and that’s what inspires her to work here, “I think my high school self was very brave, I went to college only 5 years after I arrived from Mexico. I knew very little English then. I am very proud of that, and Cristo Rey helped me become that brave girl that I was/am.”

It is this “return” of our alumni that represents the mission “at work.” Joanna Mena '16, former JV and newly hired College Counselor, echoed this sentiment, “I truly believe that this mission and values are what brought me back home to CR. I wanted to be able to give back to a community that helped raise me.” As the longest serving alumni employee of Cristo Rey, I can say Joanna’s wisdom speaks for my experience and for my alumni colleagues: we feel called to steward this home of ours.

At this point, we alumni working at Cristo Rey find ourselves in the same place as Juan Diego when he was before the bishop in the story of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Our holy mother had asked him to fill his tilma up with roses as a sign that she was his messenger. Here at Cristo Rey, our tilmas have never been fuller of the floral fragrance that represents the promise of this mission.

“ It’s important for me to help all our students find their place in this community and I wanted to see myself represented in the adults that work here. I realized I was going to have to do that myself.”
- Karen Laureano '11, Director of School Culture

“ I think about the times that were most challenging in my education here and it was because I was being pushed to be a leader. I get to do that for the next generation of students.”
- Rocio Juarez '10, Service Coordinator

“I worked at other schools, and after that experience, I knew I wanted to work at a place with a strong identity and community. We celebrate our students here. There’s nothing like día doce here. Other schools don’t do that.”
- Reina Garcia '07, Director of College Counseling

“ As soon as I walked in the doors for my interview, it felt like home. I knew that I was making the right decision. I personally believe in the Cristo Rey mission, and my return is a great way to give back to the community that opened the doors to so many opportunities.”
- Jessica Cervantes '07, Training and Admissions Specialist

Top photo: President Antonio Ortiz (right) presents Rex Ovalle '08 with Cristo Rey's 10 Year Employee Recognition on June 7, 2022.

Above: Lizbeth Delgado '16, Joanna Mena '16, Rex Ovalle '08, Jessica Cervantes '07, Karen Laureano '11, Belen Dominguez '17, Maria Garcia '99, Reina Garcia '07, Maria Luevano-Salazar '02 (not pictured: Rocio Juarez '10)

Continue Reading This Article about CR Alumni: A Decade of Service at the School That Works
Saying Goodbye to Staff, Welcoming New Employees

Photo: Lucas Schroeder, Kate Schulte, and Mayra Gradilla

Ahead of the 2022-2023 school year, Cristo Rey says goodbye to several beloved employees, and welcomes new faculty and staff. For the first time, we are proud to advance two Cristo Rey alumni into school administration roles on the Academic Leadership Team.

Lucas Schroeder leaves Cristo Rey after four years of service as Principal. Former Dean of Students, Mayra Gradilla, will step forward as Interim Principal. President Antonio Ortiz has always seen Mayra’s potential to be a school leader. He recalls, “After much prayer and discernment, Mayra responded to me, ‘If I’m called to serve our community in this way, then I’m honored to do so.’ What I love about her response is she sees this as a call to serve.”  

We give a heartfelt thank you to Kate Schulte, Assistant Principal for Student Services and former mathematics teacher, who served the Cristo Rey mission for 15 years. We extend our gratitude to the employees and Jesuit Volunteers who are leaving us this year to pursue other opportunities: Paul Bubash (Campus Ministry), Citlally Delgado (College Counseling), Angel Rodriguez (Jesuit Volunteer), DiAnna Santillan (Jesuit Volunteer),  and Mary Ellen Toth (Librarian).

Cristo Rey welcomes a number of employees into their new or promoted roles including the promotion of two longtime teachers into administrative roles. Maria Luevano-Salazar ‘02, Spanish teacher, will now serve in a new role as Director of School Mission. Freshman biology teacher and assistant Athletics Director Jenn Swanson moves into the role of Director of Student Services and Educational Support. Karen Laureano ’11, counselor, will now serve as Director of School Culture. 

Additionally, Cristo Rey is pleased to announce the following additions to school staff: Lauren Bell (Advancement), Daisy Castillo (Alumni Relations), Jessica Cervantes ’07 (CWSP, Admissions), Jorge Escobar ’18 (Advancement), Isabel Hernandez ’16 (College Counseling), Jaqueline Romo (Campus Ministry), and Sahrish Russell (CWSP). We are excited to welcome back three alumni who will join Cristo Rey as Jesuit Volunteers this fall: Ailyn Cortez-Saldivar ’17, Patrick Reyes ’18, and Rachel Romero ’18. Fernanda Balderrama will also be joining Cristo Rey this year as a JV. We are especially proud to keep on two former Jesuit Volunteers as full-time Cristo Rey employees, alumna Lizbeth Delgado ’16 (Teacher) and Joanna Mena ’16 (College Counseling).

As of July 11

Continue Reading This Article about Saying Goodbye to Staff, Welcoming New Employees

Cristo Rey |  White Sox Night 

All are welcome to join Cristo Rey at the Chicago White Sox game on Friday, September 23 for the 2nd annual Cristo Rey Night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Alumni can enter a raffle to be on the field for the "Play Ball" announcement before the game - click for more details.

Get your tickets today!

Put Cristo Rey to Work

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.

explore corporate work study