Photo left: Diego and Beverly with Mrs. Gilliat; Below: CR student leaders on tour at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep.
Student leaders from Cristo Rey schools came together in June for the third Cristo Rey Network Student Union for Mission Alignment (SUMA) student leadership conference. The purpose of the conference is to increase student leader voices in the future of the Cristo Rey Network, and to connect students across the Network on a different topic each year. The topic of this year’s SUMA conference focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at Cristo Rey schools. Each network school nominated two student leaders to attend - a rising junior and rising senior. Eleven schools were represented this year.
Through SUMA, Cristo Rey student leaders can participate in driving the continued growth and success of the Cristo Rey Network. Rising junior Beverly V. and rising senior Diego R. were nominated to represent Cristo Rey Jesuit.
Prior to the conference, Beverly and Diego conducted research to make sure they had the tools they needed for productive and meaningful discussions. They spent time talking to different faculty, staff, and students to answer questions about ongoing DE&I issues at school. During the conference, the student leaders collectively made a presentation to the Board of the Cristo Rey Network from their discussions.
Rising junior Beverly shared, “I think SUMA was a good experience for all of us. It was amazing to see how we would all bond over the places we lived in and over the differences between schools. I was really happy to be able to share the joy and the beauty of being a Cristo Rey community, and I hope that the change we discuss will be the change our future Cristo Rey students enjoy.”
It was not all work for the student leaders at the conference. In addition to meeting new friends from other Cristo Rey schools, the group toured Cristo Rey Jesuit, as well as Christ the King Jesuit College Prep in Chicago and Cristo Rey St. Martin in Waukegan, and had a great time together on an outing to Navy Pier.
"SUMA was a great experience, it allowed me to meet other student leaders from Cristo Rey schools all over the country,” rising senior Diego said. "We discussed the initiatives that our schools have regarding DE&I. I met lots of cool people and thanks to this conference me and my peers were able to come up with new ideas for our school. I am glad the Cristo Rey Network offers these opportunities to students.”