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Cristo Rey Q&A: Fall Play 2021

Cristo Rey Q&A: Fall Play 2021
with Ms. Rocio Juarez ’10 & Lizette G. ’24

Each year, Cristo Rey’s Drama Club puts on two productions, with the fall play performed entirely in Spanish. This year’s play was “Ana en el Trópico,” by Nilo Cruz, a story about workers at a tobacco factory, revolutionized by reading Tolstoy. Sophomore Ricardo J. interviewed Drama Club Director Ms. Rocio Juarez ‘10 and actress Lizette G. ‘24 about this fall’s return to the stage, the importance of culturally relevant arts programming and the process of creating a production in just 10 weeks.

In addition to Drama Club Director, Ms. Rocio Juarez ’10 primarily serves as Cristo Rey’s Service Coordinator, overseeing the service and social justice programming at the school. Lizette is a sophomore at Cristo Rey; she is always looking for new opportunities to volunteer and help at the school.

Ricardo: What was the reason for choosing this play, and what inspired you?

Ms. Juarez: The main reason there is a Spanish play at Cristo Rey is because six years ago, [teacher and alum] Mr. Rex Ovalle ’08 thought it was a missing piece at Cristo Rey. As an alum, I totally agree; Spanish is so deeply rooted in our lives and our culture. Another reason why the fall Spanish play tradition persists is because I would love to see more of our students involved in theatre and the arts in general. I hope that one day, one of our students will become inspired by the work they do in drama club (English or Spanish) and for it to become a career option.

Ricardo: What was the reason you joined the Drama Club?

Lizette: I joined the play because it seemed like a fun opportunity to do something I liked. Since I was little, I would pretend I was in a telenovela and was always curious on how they did it. I thought that joining the fall play would bring out my inner childhood dream.

Ricardo: How long ago did you start preparing to do the play?

Lizette: We started preparing for the play around the beginning of September. We had about 2 months to prepare but it all started coming together around the last 3 weeks.

Ricardo: What were your expectations when making the play?

Ms. Juarez: I knew from the beginning that rebuilding drama club was going to be a challenge, since the pandemic did not allow new students to experience drama last year and cut the spring play short in 2020. Without the participation of students, we can't move forward! I am so lucky that our students showed up and had faith in themselves to audition and try something new.

Ricardo: How did the 10 weeks of rehearsals look for the cast as they prepared?

Ms. Juarez: During our rehearsals there were times that we had fun and got to know each other. There were other times where students understood the importance of learning their lines and taking feedback from the directors. I give major kudos to the cast because on top of all their academic work they were able to be committed to the success of the play by staying late and studying the play and their feedback. I can't wait to see what comes next for them!

Ricardo: Did you have faith in the students that they would learn everything and be ready to perform?

Ms. Juarez: Even though there were rough practice days, I will have to say that I always had faith in the cast and their performances. This play brought me back to our first play in Spanish, as we were starting with a new cast altogether. No one had experience with a Cristo Rey play before, so it is always hard to start without students that can show new students the ropes. Our sole returning member was senior Fatima R., Backstage Crew Manager, who made the process much easier for us.

Ricardo: How did you feel when performing?

Lizette: When the day arrived, I was so nervous I wanted to cry, but as soon as I entered the stage my mind went on autopilot. I became Conchita on stage and really felt the emotions of my character. I felt so proud listening to the audience’s laughter and applause. I felt as if all our work paid off.

Ricardo: Did you like your role and why?

Lizette: Yes, I loved my role. Conchita is such a funny and loving character which is why I loved playing her. Her fights with her sister and her sarcasm reminds me so much of me and my own sister. Conchita is also in search of ways to love, and it almost reminds me of all the novelas I’ve watched growing up. Overall, Conchita and I have a lot in common.

Ricardo: Are you happy with how the play turned out?

Ms. Juarez: I am completely elated at how magnificent of a job our cast and crew did! It took so much to get to opening night and get to share with the community our love and dedication to the play.

Lizette: Yes, I am so proud of myself and all my friends. I am glad that a lot of people enjoyed the plot. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from teachers and students, and it makes me happy that we were able to captivate our audience and provide them Ana en el Trópico.

Ricardo: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Ms. Juarez: I am so grateful to Ms. Maria Elena Juarez, Mr. Taylor Fulkerson, and Mr. Dennis Moller for also helping me put the play together. They had a lot of faith in the students and loved the play when they first read it.

Lizette: Being in Ana en el Trópico was a great experience. I loved being with the cast and the teachers. We all became a family just like in the play. I greatly appreciate Mr. Fulkerson, Ms. Juarez, and Ms. María Elena Juarez for never giving up on us and pushing us constantly to do our best. I also want to thank Mr. Moller and stage crew for making all the props, getting us ready, and setting up the scenes. Ana en el Trópico is such a wonderful and very well plotted story, and I am glad everyone enjoyed it.


In addition to Drama Club, Cristo Rey offers additional arts programming, including a freshmen music course to learn the traditional zampona instrument, a senior fine art course focused on Chicago’s street art, Ballet Folklorico group, Broadcasting club, Film Club, Improv Club, and a Latin Music Ensemble.

Cristo Rey’s spring play will premier in April 2022, we hope to see you there!

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Watch Cristero Chats: Our Story of Gratitude

As we come to a close of the celebration year for Cristo Rey's 25th anniversary, we wanted to share our story of gratitude with you. The narrative we have built together virtually since January 2021 has woven a story of strength, creativity, ingenuity, grace, and empowerment and we could think of no better way than to let it unfold through the voices of those who represent so many pieces of our collective community. You have helped to make the mission and spirit of Cristo Rey Jesuit a reality, and we are grateful.

Watch Our Story of Gratitude

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Cristo Rey Q & A with Emilio S.

Cristo Rey Q&A with Emilio S. (’22) 

Emilio is a senior at Cristo Rey with a love for art and design. After teaching himself about 3D design during quarantine, Emilio wanted to share his passion with other students at Cristo Rey. With the support of several faculty and staff members, the 3D Modeling Club at Cristo Rey was formed. The new club’s members - at one point 24! - have been meeting since September. In this Cristo Rey Q&A, junior Camila V. asks Emilio about starting the club, teaching other students, and trying new things. 

What inspired you to start the 3D Modeling club at Cristo Rey?
My own interest and passion for 3D printing and art inspired me to start the club. Since it can be hard to find likeminded people who share the interest, I wanted to promote art and STEM to my classmates. 

Were you aware there was an interest among other students? 
I did not know how the turnout of the club would be. At first, I was a bit worried that I would not have many students so I would mention it to classmates whenever I got the chance. I am especially thankful for my friends that not only came to the meetings but brought other people as well. As I told students about the club, and they saw the 3D printers and props in Mr. Durk's office, I could tell that there was growing interest in my club. 

What made you interested in design? 
I started learning how to design in 3D after the pandemic started, and I learned its potential for expressing my creativity and how it can impact the world. It was exceedingly difficult for me starting off because I had no one as a reference for help. Through the club I helped provide the initial help and exposure that I wished that I had when I first started designing. In the future I hope to study visual effects to tell stories and show emotions in new ways. 

Tell us a little about the process in creating the new club: who did you communicate your idea about the club? What support did you get? What sort of projects are you working on?  
When starting the club, I consulted with Mr. Crowley who I have worked with in the Robotics Club for multiple years. Mr. Durk was the one who helped me put everything together and was the person that caused the club to go from an idea to a real possibility. Thanks to his help I was able to get the 3D designing software on our Surface laptops and promote the club's activities. Additionally, Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Newark both provided plenty of help when it came to securing a room and chaperone for my club activities. 

In the club we are working on small projects that introduce diverse ways of utilizing the software, Blender, and what sorts of items can be designed on it. Currently, I am introducing the students to digital sculpting, which is my preferred method of designing and allows for lots of creative potential to be shown. 

What role do you have in the club? 
My role in the club is to teach and to help my classmates, and most of the time I offer individual help and show them how to do things directly. Since I am completely self-taught, I am aware of the concepts that some students might have a challenging time understanding. Learning how to teach has most definitely been more work than I anticipated but seeing what my fellow club members can put together makes it worthwhile. 

What are your plans for the club, and where do you see it going in the future?
My plans for the club right now are to have a final project that we can 3D print to wrap up the semester. It has been difficult to create lessons plans while keeping up with homework and college applications. If time allows, I would like to pick up the club again in spring with more planning and more meeting dates. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?
My advice to all students and everyone in general is to never be afraid to try out something new. When I started out with 3D design, I struggled with it for quite a while, and it has not been up until recently where my work has become better to the point where I can teach it. Pushing through the beginning stages of learning a new skill is always the most important gateway to new opportunities and talents.


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25th Anniversary Cristero Chats

Thank you for joining us over this anniversary year for Cristero Chats! Catch up on all the amazing panels from the Beginning of Cristo Rey to Art & Culture. 

Watch Cristero Chats

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