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Alumni Spotlight: Fernando Sotelo '21

Meet Fernando Sotelo '21. Recent Cristo Rey graduate Fernando is attending Saint Xavier University and has a passion for international travel. 

CR grad year: 2021
College: Saint Xavier University
Major: Wildlife

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what have you been up to since graduating Cristo Rey?
Since graduating high school Fernando has enjoyed being able to travel internationally. He has explored the peninsula of Yucatan/ Cancun where he had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. In addition to his travels in Mexico, Fernando visited Peru in December which was a great experience given that many CR teachers are from Peru. He has hopes of going to Europe this summer.

Aside from his travel adventures Fernando plays a great role within his father’s business: 5Rabanitos (a staple in Pilsen!). His involvement in the restaurant began as a dishwasher, but Fernando was fascinated to learn more about the cuisine and wanted to dive deeper into making new recipes. Don Jaime, a cook/ food preparer at the restaurant, took him under his wing and taught him how to do things within the kitchen. In addition, Fernando has taken manager courses to further help him understand how to manage the clientele. At such a young age, he is able to work as a host, in preparations, and in the kitchen. However, Fernando prefers to be hands on! Fun fact: he helped pitched the idea for the Torta Mercado!

Can you share a little more about your transition to college?
Fernando shared that for him it wasn’t an immense transition. He gives credit to his organization skills he learned during his time at CR. An area in which there was a greater adjustment in college was adjusting to his college schedule and learning to do homework in between classes. He also highlights that the amount of homework he received as a student at CR helped him adjust to the level of workload that was expected in college. Currently, he is taking Latin Studies courses which he has been able to apply the knowledge he learned during his four years at CR.

What do you enjoy about college?
Fernando enjoys being able to have a flexible schedule, being able to meet individuals from other cultures, and being able to explore new interests.

Any special project you have worked on this past year?
At SXU Fernando worked on a wildlife paper that discussed the study of whale sharks and the biological behavior of the species. In addition, he is working on a sculptural project for his art class.

Another project that Fernando has worked on was the CR Sentrock mural at Cristo Rey. During his senior year, Fernando was very active within his art classes and he also wanted to leave something behind that he was part of at CR. He took the opportunity to be involved in the mural painting process as soon as he found out about the opportunity. Enjoyed the experience greatly because his classmates and him were able to work alongside Sentrock to create a mural that represents what CR symbolizes for the community.

What advice would you give other alumni or current students who aspire to pursue a similar career path as you?
“Do research in what you want to study…like deep research of the classes you need to take, internships needed, and post career paths! Take advantage of college counseling and the resources they offer. Finally, take advantage of high school and enjoy the experience because it flies by.”

Do you believe Cristo Rey has impacted your career or the person you are today? If so, how?
Fernando's CWSP experience helped him learn how to become a mature individual and learn proper mannerism. Furthermore, CWSP helped expose him to a corporate environment where he learned to break out of his shell and learn to talk to other individuals. Lastly, Fernando shared that Mr. Indocochea always encouraged him to ask questions because someone else might also have a similar question. CR truly helped him develop into the person he is today.

Do you have a favorite story about your time at Cristo Rey?
Fernando's favorite memory is field day where the students brought capes from Six Flags! It was an enjoyable time he was able to spend with his classmates before the pandemic. Another event was his soccer senior night where stepped out of his normal role as a goal keeper. He played in the field and scored a hat trick (3 goals)!

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?
Being with his dog, Amiko, watching soccer, playing soccer, and he recently got into bowling. Fernando also enjoys cooking and trying new restaurants.

How would you describe Cristo Rey to someone who is new to the school? OR What would you say to prospective Cristo Rey families who are considering Cristo Rey?
“CR will be an adjustment in the beginning academically and socially. However, enjoy the experience, take advantage of the opportunities, and get involved!”

Thank you to Fernando Sotelo ’21 for sharing your story with us. Connect with Fernando.

Would you like to be featured as an Alumni Spotlight? Contact Citlally Delgado, Manager of Alumni Support.