Ctkprep Happenings…

CtK Joins Forces to Hike for Education

You could not ask for a more spectacular day! Saturday, May 4th was picture perfect as Christ the King Prep joined forces with two other non-profit educational institutions, Shepherds of Youth, a charitable trust which supports St. Michael’s School in Newark, and the United States Hispanic Advocacy Association (USHAA), in a collaborative effort to benefit the young people of greater Newark.  With our three groups united for our first joint venture, we are making an impact in the education of urban youth from kindergarten through college.

As a member of the Cristo Rey Network, CtK Prep is guided by 10 Mission Effectiveness Standards.  Our participation in this joint activity helps us to fulfill Standard #3 which states that, along with being family centered, we will play an active role in the local community. 

Joined by some members of our newly formed Leadership Advisory Council (LAC), nearly 100 active hikers made their way down the trail at State Line Lookout in the beautiful Palisades Interstate Park, in Alpine, NJ.  The four mile hike took us from the heights of the Palisades down to the riverfront along the Hudson and back up again!  It was truly heart-warming to see the joy in our students' faces as they stood high above the Hudson River taking in the expansive view.  For many, this was the first time they were able to see the beauty that exists in New Jersey beyond the cityscape in which they live.  What a pleasure it was to provide so many with this lasting memory.







Thank you to our many supporters who helped us raise

over $10,000 in our first Hike for Education!


CtK Presents . . . Godspell

Sponsored in part by our friends at Capital One Bank, CtK hosted its spring musical Godspell.  Based on the Parables and the story of Christ’s Passion from Matthew’s Gospel, the ensemble cast of thirteen was led by Junior, Michael Jiminez as Jesus and Junior, Michael Campbell-Vincent in the dual roles of John the Baptist and Judas.  Performances took place on Thursday, May 2nd and Friday, May 3rd in the lower hall at Immaculate Conception Church.

Act One opened with John the Baptist beckoning all to “Prepare Ye the Way” of the Lord as he baptized each in the cast.  All become followers of Jesus and through the parables they begin to  understand Jesus and his teachings.  “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” teaches “not to make a show of religion before men”. The story of the poor beggar Lazarus and the rich man explains that the reward in heaven is far greater than any earthly possession. When reacting to the final beatitude telling of Jesus’ persecution, Jesus persuades the company that it is “All for the Best’ and that heaven contains the ultimate reward. During the telling of these various stories, each cast member had a featured song, backed up by the rest of the ensemble. By the end of Act One this rag-tag company has become a community of love and caring.







Early in Act Two, we learn from Jesus that the greatest commandment is that “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and soul” and that the second commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  After a lighter moment when Jesus separates his flock into sheep and goats, they assemble for the Last Supper. Ms. McCabe, the show's musical director and CtK’s VPA instructor, sang “On the Willows” as the cast  moved to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus says goodbye and is handed over by Judas. Upon his arrest, Jesus is tied to an electric fence which symbolizes his crucifixion on the cross. Jesus dies. Then he is carried out by the cast in the Finale.

Joy and laughter filled the hall as the audience was treated to a fun and creative production of this contemporized version of the early 1970’s musical.  It is clear that there is no shortage of talent at CtK.  Stay tuned to see what we have in store for next spring.

The Cast

Michael Jiminez as Jesus   Michael Campbell-Vincent as John the Baptist/Judas


Katherine Andrade    Mark Campbell-Vincent   

Jasmine Garnett    Amanda Gyan    Ken Ignacio   

Anggie Luna    Katherine Luna    Jamie Mendoza

Christopher Purefoy    Alexus Silverio    Manuela Yeboah

Production Staff

Alex Alvarado   Victor Araromi   Tiquajah Bishop   Nataliah Brown

Denise Cooper   Christopher Dixon   Ty-Gena Dozier   Maria Flores   Armani Hinnant

U-Neisha Logan   Michael Lopez   Christine Purefoy   Karen Solano

Mario Soto   Victor Timol   Edwin Torres   Rahquiyah Williams

Costumes and Set

On loan from the Our Lady of Grace YCT Players   



Spring Trip to Gettysburg

What began as a casual conversation last October, developed into an idea that became a transformative experience for six CtK students.  During our President’s Gala last fall, CtK Senior, Victor Araromi, was sharing his passion for history with CtK Social Studies teacher, Joseph Toma and CtK Board Member Monica Oliver.  This conversation was followed by several months of conference calls and emails between Monica and Joe.  The culmination of this resulted in the opportunity for a small group of students to visit the sacred Battlegrounds of Gettysburg, PA, April 26th – 28th.

Seniors, Wendy Alvarez and Victor Araromi, and Sophomores, Michael Barrett, Victor Obi, Jennifer Quezada and Wesley Stroud were the six students who travelled with Mr. Toma and CtK English teacher, Rev. Jason Coalter, along with Monica and Bill Oliver who sponsored the trip.  These students were selected based on their first semester averages in U.S. History and English or if they were in the AP U.S. History course.  The itinerary was meticulously discussed to provide each student with an experience that would carry with them forever.

Here is some feedback from this trip:

“There I was, standing on the fields where one of the most popular battles in history took place. It was almost religious as I stood there thinking to myself ‘Am I really here?’” was Victor Araromi’s reaction.  He went on to say, “The best part of the Gettysburg trip was being able to learn history and hear stories outside of the confines of the traditional classroom walls. We were also privileged to visit some of the best museums I have ever been to.  In addition, I was really inspired by the people from past generations that spoke to me about being in charge of the future.  The all too familiar quote ‘Be the change you would like to see in the world’ became a reality to me. I was inspired to not only make a change in myself, but a change in the world around me. Being able to hear the oral stories at the Black History Museum reinforced in me the pride that comes with being of African descent through the constant ages of darkness and struggles.  I would like to give a special thank you to everyone that made the Gettysburg trip a possibility.”

Jennifer Quezada shared, “it was a privilege to go on this trip.  I was able to gain a different perspective of the Civil War.  It felt as if I was there through it all.  What amazed me was how certain homes had holes in them because of the bullets that were shot during the Civil War. I even gained an insight on how not everyone was given the recognition that they deserved for what they did to contribute or help during the war. My favorite part was the painting, Gettysburg Cylcorama – Pickett’s Charge because of the affect it gave and how it looked like it was happening right before your eyes.”

Both Wesley Stroud and Michael Barrett thought this trip was an inspiring experience. Wesley commented, “It opened my eyes to the many things that usually aren’t emphasized when learning about the Civil War.” Michael added, “It allowed me to fully understand the Battle of Gettysburg and the events leading up to it, by visiting battlegrounds, museums and historical landmarks. Although many people believe that African Americans did not play a major part in the Civil War, I discovered that it was a false statement, because many African Americans participated in a tremendous way. After realizing this, it made me feel a sense of pride.”

Social Studies teacher, Joe Toma observed that, "many students today do not have rich family histories embedded in them. Without oral traditions, history becomes elusive, like quicksilver, and if students cannot inject their cultural heritage into the historical narrative it becomes nothing more than empty words.  Stories remain dull and uninspiring." Click this link for a comprehensive overview of this trip prepared by Joe.

Thank you to Monica and Bill Oliver for helping history come alive

for these students. You have given them great memories that will last a lifetime!



Lady Luck Returns to Our 2013 Casino Night!

Lady Luck was back and so were the more than 200 friends of Christ the King Prep who joined us on Saturday evening, April 20th at our annual Casino Night held at the Newark Museum’s Englehard Court.  Whether a seasoned card shark or a novice gambler, all were treated to an exciting, fun-filled event sponsored by Capital One Bank, Gibbons P.C., Judge John J. Gibbons and Tobia & Hillyer

Black Jack, Craps, Roulette, Poker supplied by our friends at Tumbling DiceThe Ultimate Caterer offered an unending assortment of tasty hors d’ouevres.   Great music played by Legendery Entertainment.  A wide array of prizes, valued at more than $15,000, in which to drop your raffle tickets.  Who could ask for anything more?

Save the date…Saturday, April 12, 2014…where you and Lady Luck can return for another wonderful evening of fun!











Thank you to our Event Sponsors, Table Sponsors, Prize Donors,

Committee Members and countless friends who so generously supported this event.


Rethink Possible . . . President's Gala 2012

We apologize that this article is temporarily unavailable.


Lady Luck Paid a Visit to CtK's First Casino Night!

The Newark Museum's Engelhard Court was transformed into a first class casino for the more than 200 guests who attended CtK Prep's first spring fund raiser on Saturday evening, May 12, 2012. Sponsored by our friends at HarperCollins Publishers and Tobia & Hillyer Tax and Business Services, Casino Night guests were treated to an evening of fun and excitement as they tried their hand at Black Jack, Roulette, Craps and Poker.  Friendly dealers from Tumbling Dice made even the novice gambler feel most comfortable.

Wait staff from The Ultimate Caterer circulated a seemingly, never-ending array of delicious hors d'oeuvres throughout the evening, allowing guests to sate their appetites without having to leave the gaming tables.  Appropriate background music, supplied by Legenedery Entertainment, added to the festive atmosphere.  Laughter and good cheer were in ample supply.

At the end of the evening, gaming chips were exchanged for chance raffle tickets, which guests then deposited into the more than 50 prizes available.  These prizes totaling nearly $15,000 in value, piqued a wide variety of interests.  From restaurant gift certificates to Yankee tickets....from an iPad and XBOX Kinect game console to a 40" flat screen TV and GE wine cooler....from golf foursomes at Fiddler's Elbow and New Jersey National to weekends away in Cape May and Buck Hills Falls, PA.  Truly something for everyone.  The Grand Prize trip to Los Cabos, Mexico, clearly was the crowd's favorite, evidenced by the number of raffle tickets entered into that drawing.  50/50 Raffles and Door Prize drawings rounded out the prize opportunities.

Ed Waterfield, CtK Board Member and VP at Capital One Bank shared, "Congratulations on Casino Night.  The location, atmosphere and venue exceeded every expectation.  My wife and I had a wonderful time and next year plan to invite more people from Capital One Bank, as well as friends and family.  It is rare to find such a fun event while supporting such a wonderful cause."  There were even glowing reviews from those who could not join us that evening.  Here is what Cynthia Crenshaw, our friend from investorsBank had to say, "My colleagues had such a great time!  I am so sorry I couldn't be there, and I'll be sure to attend next year.  Please let me know when it is so I can put it on my calendar."

Encouraged by such positive feedback, plans are already underway for Casino Night 2013.

A great time was had by all!

Thank you to our committee, sponsors and countless friends

who so generously supported this event.

CtK Student Spirit at All Time High!

With midterm exams behind them, CtK students were able to enjoy week long festivities in celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

Beginning with “Pajama Day” on Monday and ending with “Casual Dress Friday”, school uniforms were cast

aside.  Many fun-filled activities packed the week. 

On “Dress like the 70’s” day, students participated in a roller skating party at Branch Brook Roller Rink.  Donning the school colors of blue, white and grey, “School Spirit” day saw many winners and losers take part in assorted relay races in the gym.

With the help of several staff members, Fr. Gregory Gebbia, Dean of Student Affairs, shared his culinary skills and treated the students to a home-made “Pancake Breakfast”.  This was followed by a prayer service.

There was no shortage of talent among students and staff alike as they shared their gifts at CtK’s 4th Annual Talent Show.  Original music and contemporary pop...African dance and modern stomp….spoken word in the form of original poetry. All of these combined brought a fitting conclusion to this fun-filled, joy-filled week.

School spirit was at an all-time high. 

We can’t wait to see what will be in store for next year!


Junior Achievement & Ctk Prep: Perfect Together

Through our wonderful partnership with Junior Achievement and Capital One Bank, on January 31st, 88 CtK freshmen participated in “Finance Park”.  This is the third year we have had the good fortune to participate in the financial literacy program developed by JA.  Upon completion of the curriculum in the classroom under the direction of CtK faculty, students travelled downtown to meet with 10 Capital One volunteers.  Theses volunteers coached our young people, as they assumed adult roles, making real life budgeting decisions.

Testimony from students, as well as Capital One volunteers, spoke volumes as to the success of this program. Here is some of the feedback:

“I liked having the opportunity to learn how to manage a debit card and a budget. I feel prepared for adulthood.”

– NyaGee

“Money management is key to good living.”

– Tavon

“This trip taught me to be responsible.” – Jayla

Volunteer Feedback:

“The highlight of my experience was seeing the look on the students’ faces when they were able to complete the budget.”

“I had a positive impact on my students because I answered their question and tried to explain how finances affect them with real world examples.”

“The kids were awesome!”


CtK Students Attend Women's Future Leadership Forum

Friday, January 27th proved to be a special day for five young women from CtK.  This was the day Mesha Allen, Alberny Ramirez, Ruth Rodriguez, Briana Thomas and Medinah Mohammed attended the Junior Achievement Women's Leadership Forum sponsored by Accenture.  They were among 50 female high school students who were given the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by today's generation of female leaders.

Students took part in a panel discussion moderated by Nellie Borrero, Global Diversity & Inclusion Director for Accenture.  The panelists were: Jacqueline Alonso, Director, Network Programs for Horizon BCBSNJ; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Human Resources Director at Johnson & Johnson; Chanda Gibson, VP Corporate Services & Real Estate at Goldman Sachs & Co.; Barbara Koster, SVP & CIO for Prudential Financial; Marjorie Perry, President & CEO of MZM Construction and Lisa Robbins, CFO, AVS & CIO at Automatic Data Processing, Inc.

Following the panel discussion, students participated in one-on-one mentoring and the JA Personal Finance breakout session.

Feedback from all of our students was very positive.

A very special thank you to our friends at Junior Achievement and Accenture for providing  our students with so many exciting opportunities!


President's Gala 2011 - Horizon's the Word!!

"Horizon" was THE word on Thursday evening, October 13th, at The Newark Club, as the Christ the King Prep community gathered with friends old and new to honor one of our strongest partners: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.  Fr. Robert Sandoz, our president shared, "it is so appropriate that the first word in this company's name is Horizon. What this company provides our students has everything to do with 'horizons'. Many students who enroll at CtK have very short, narrow and close horizons. Then, they come to Christ the King and enter into the work program. Suddenly, those short, narrow and close horizons of their futures begin to crumble. They work alongside truly remarkable people, are mentored, given outstanding role models and the horizon of their future becomes, longer, wider and much more expansive. This is what employment provides for our students."

It was most fitting that actor/filmmaker/producer, Robert Townsend, was our Master of Ceremonies this year.  Robert is a man who has expanded the horizons of many young people. He is passionate about using unconventional educational methods for positively altering the life direction of income-challenged youth. Through his outstanding work, the horizons of millions of urban youth today are expanded beyond anything they could dream or imagine.

Joined by surprise,special guest, Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, Robert Townsend and Fr. Bob presented Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, with this year's President's Award. HBCBSNJ has hired two teams of students each year as part of our Corporate Internship Program since the school's inception in September, 2007.  Forty students to date have benefited from the work experience and mentorship provided by HBCBSNJ's employees. Alison Banks-Moore, Chief Diversity Officer for HBCBSNJ, accepted the award on behalf of her company and its many mentors and supervisors who work with our students each day.

Horizon's work with CtK students is in alignment with the corporation's long history of community service.  Horizon employees who supervise our students support this. Marlon Addison, HBCBSNJ Account Manger for Commercial and Major Accounts Market, and mentor to CtK students since 2009 observed, "I am certain that through the experience of mentoring the students at Christ the King Prep, Horizon BCBSNJ and the students gain mutual benefits.  Not only has it broadened my scope of community, it has empowered me to impart some of my life lessons and simultaneously gain new ones.  The students keep you on your toes and it sends a powerful message for present and future generations:  never forget from whence you came, but also never forget to act. Our program represents the company's commitment to inspire the youth of our society while simultaneously fostering diversity within our workplace.  It is also one way to help nurture potential employees for successful careers in our company."

During the evening's program, guests listened as Junior, Manuela Yeboah, spoke of what it means to her to be a student at CtK, "I came to CtK with a broken spirit, low confidence,and no office skills whatsoever. All I kept seeing and hearing was “LIVE THE GOOD” and I never realized what that theme meant. Because of Christ the King's caring staff of teachers and administrators, I learned to love myself and realized all of the many things of which I am capable. I started growing in RESPECT, Creativity, Joy, Justice, Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Service, Serenity, Integrity and Hope which are the 11 values within the “LIVE THE GOOD” theme. Christ the King did for me what has never been done for me before, which is open my mind to the things beyond my boundaries and made me realize that there is more out there in the world than violence, sadness and disappointment." Manuela is one of the many CtK student interns who have had the privilege of working at HBCBSNJ.

In addition to the presentation of the President's Award to HBCBSNJ, several other special recognitions were made. In particular, the recognition of outgoing Board Chair, Bart Erbach. Bart has served as an admirable leader who has helped CtK Prep navigate through challenging times. His innovation, determination and cultivation have helped to make the impossible happen. There wouldn't be 65 graduates attending college today. There wouldn't be 253 students with the same aspirations, and Newark would not have one of its brightest academic institutions on the horizon if it weren't for Bart's leadership and the participation of the Board of Trustees.

The evening's program concluded with a reflection from one of our recent graduates, Lamar Washington. Lamar recounted the importance of his experience at CtK, "with the help of the excellent corporate internship program and Christ the King’s loving faculty and staff I stand before you a college freshman at Montclair State University.  During this past summer I was given numerous awards for outstanding academic achievement in mathematics and writing courses while enrolled in Montclair State University’s Equal Opportunity Program. The EOP program is a six week summer academy that gives minorities in low-income families the chance to get a head start with their college careers.  I credit Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield with igniting this flame inside of me that enabled me to push myself and to not give up when confronted with a discouraging situation. I would like all of us to think about something. Imagine a world where no one gave up when put in a difficult situation. How would the world change? Would you still be the same?"

We are so grateful for the generosity of our corporate partners, friends and benefactors. All contributed to an evening filled with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

Who knows what's next for us on the horizon!



Click on image at left to view this year's Gala program journal.



                  Robert Townsend Screens Latest Movie for CtK Students

Robert Townsend's passion to help urban youth was evident when he so graciously offered to spend most of the day leading up to our President's Gala with CtK's student body. Our students had the pleasure of taking part in a private screening of his soon to be released, new film, In the Hive.

As a special treat, Jonathan McDaniel, the young actor who stars in the film, accompanied Robert on this visit.  Both hosted a Q&A session following the movie's screening.

This feature film is based on the true story of an alternative school, Hive Academy, located in North Carolina. The story follows a group of at-risk teenagers, from economically challanged backgrounds, who have been expelled from their public school system. Hive Academy, which becomes a life-changing environment, is run by a strong matriarch figure whose compassion and no-nonsense manner helps these young men from troubled, often violent backgrounds, greatly improve their educational outcomes, self-esteem, and future. In the Hive is an important movie which demonstrates the power of love and compassion, the importance of education and is a reminder that we can all make a difference in a child's life, no matter the circumstances.


Summer Opportunities Part Three: Block Island Adventure

Block Island is a quaint, beautiful Island off the coast of Rhode Island.  That is where fifteen Christ the King Prep students and their two faculty chaperones spent the first week of August.  As participants in a science adventure through the island’s Maritime Institute, our young women and men were involved with a variety of educational and recreational activities and took full advantage of participating in fresh, new, and challenging experiences.

Several students assisted in tagging and releasing birds for the government’s efforts on tracking bird migration, while others tested water quality in a pond. They learned how it is maintained through human efforts and natural preservation. Students also took a nature walk and bird sighting trip to learn about the ecology of the island.  They even practiced ancient techniques of fishing.

The trip was also packed with many fun recreational activities in which the students thrived!  Five of the young men spent sufficient time learning how to fish, only to find out that fishing takes great patience when you’re catching nothing.  While lures were flying in the water, others were snorkeling and observing nature under the waves.  Another exciting activity for them was learning how to surf, paddle board, and boogie board.  One of our students even stood up on his board and caught a wave.

They saw jellyfish that glowed in the dark, watched “The Old Man and The Sea” under thestars, played ultimate Frisbee, participated in the island’s old tradition of “painting the rock”, toured a lighthouse, and much more.

One of the most memorable experiences by far was dissecting squids.  But, hands down, the favorite activity among the group was kayaking. ”Patience is key,” according to student, Samuel Akinyemi. “That’s an important lesson to learn.”

All students were openly engaged and on their best behavior during the trip, however, junior Anthony Warner was identified as one young man that embodied everything we try to instill in our young scholars at CtK.  Anthony illustrated outstanding leadership skills during all the activities in which he was involved.  His patience, understanding and positive energy rubbed off on his peers.  He was always the first to express gratitude to the various families who hosted dinner each evening.

Upon her return, junior Khara Brown shared, “My trip to Block Island was outrageous. Never in my life had I done so much in such a short time.  There are many things I never would have done before if I had not come here.  For that, I am very grateful.”

Overall, the trip was a success and our youth once again proved that those at Christ the King are exceptional, motivated, and unique students.

Summer Opportunities Part Two: Georgetown Summer Enrichment

“Of all the experiences I’ve had in my life, I would proudly say that staying at Georgetown was the most wonderful, interesting, unique, and life changing time of my life.”  This statement by Christ the King Prep senior, Mesha Allen, was echoed by junior Denise Cooper.  Both students submitted essay applications and were selected by the Commonweal Foundation to take part in a summer enrichment program this July at Georgetown University.  In addition to Math and English, a study skills class and an SAT Prep class were part of the intense three week curriculum.  

Meeting new people from across the country and around the world heightened Denise and Mesha’s experience.  Both have made new-found friends from as far away as Oman in the Middle East.  Reflecting on her Georgetown University experience, Denise shared, “this college prep program has enhanced my learning ability for the next school year and it has made me appreciate the importance of taking classes in the summer.  This was a wonderful opportunity.”


Summer Opportunities Part One: Nicaragua Mission Trip

It was in the wee hours of the morning of Saturday, July 2nd (3:30 AM to be exact), that twelve CtK Prep students, along with two adult advisors, boarded the school mini-vans to make their way to Newark Liberty International Airport.  This was no vacation to which they were heading!  This was Christ the King Prep’s very first, week-long mission trip!  Through the generosity of our friends at the Commonweal Foundation, these young women and men of promise, headed south of the border to join the Mustard Seed Community located in Diriamba, Nicaragua, a small town approximately 20 miles outside of Managua. Mustard Seed Communities, a U.S. Catholic organization, ministers to the marginalized, abandoned and disabled youth in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Zimbabwe.

Chaperoned by Mr. Eddie Shore and Mr. Jason Coalter, our student delegation was comprised of sophomore Michael Jiminez (Class of 2014), juniors Adriana Contreras, Kevaughn Francis, Brianna Thomas (Class of 2013), and seniors (Class of 2012), Josue Durosier, Taira Holley-Mayfield, Muhammad Ibn Mahdi, Sephorah Pierre, Muhalla Portillo, Colleena Roberts , Kyle Seales and Cyndhia Reynoso.  The following is a re-cap of the group’s experience through the eyes of Mr. Coalter and Mr. Shore:

Digging holes and trenches in mid-day Central American heat doesn’t necessarily sound like a “thrilling” experience.  However, when working as service to God and other people, the experience is humbling and unmatched.  And so it was for CtK Prep students who jumped right in without hesitation to work with the more than twenty disabled and abandoned infants and children who reside at the Mustard Seed Diriamba campus. Children who suffer from such handicaps as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and hearing and visual impairment.  Our students pushed the children on swings, raced around campus, held babies in their arms, blew bubbles, played games and so much more.  Even though many were unable to communicate through words, our students expressed the love of Jesus Christ through their actions.

We also had the opportunity to put our hands to work as we began building a recreation center.  CtK students worked tirelessly alongside the Nicaraguan staff digging trenches, mixing cement, re-barring, and painting roof panels from morning until sunset, making significant steps toward completing the new playground. 

Though each of our student’s “performance” was mind-boggling, Kyle Seales excelled beyond expectation.  His zealous work ethic set the standard for both adults and students alike.  While digging holes for 8 hours in the 95 degree heat, he rejected our best efforts to persuade him to take a break.  Kyle would only reply, “I’m not breaking until these children have a playground of their own.”  While reflecting on his work, he commented that he felt like he was “involved with something much bigger than himself”.  During our final reflection, he even asserted his desire to continue a relationship between Mustard Seed and Christ the King Prep after our return.  He openly expressed interest in our school community coming together to follow up on the work that began on this trip. 

Many highlights stand out from our week in Nicaragua, but we both agree that one of our favorites was the spirit of unity and friendship that followed our students in all that they accomplished. 

Of all the U.S. delegations that come to work for Mustard Seed in Nicaragua each summer, the CtK team made a lasting impression on the Nicaraguan staff and youth.  Julia Castillo, the program administrator in Nicaragua, expressed her admiration and pride for the hard work and volunteerism of our students,who effortlessly engaged these young people of Diriamba.  In a group of 12 students, many of whom with Latino and Caribbean roots, Castillo also expressed, “what a joy and privilege it is to see students who look like us, do Christ’s work in marginalized corners of Nicaragua.”  CtK students will surely never forget their time spent with youngsters like Brian, Omar, Tatiyana, Carlita, and Moises, Nicaraguan youth who taught our students that compassion and solidarity transcend all borders, even those of nationality and disability.


CtK's Class of 2011, a Living Legacy

"Be willing to fail . . . Be strategic . . . Be victorious!"

These were the words spoken by Jeff Johnson, Washington DC  based award-winning journalist, social activist and political commentator, during his commencement address to the 65 graduates of CtK Prep's very first graduating class, the Class of 2011.

Graduates and guests alike were riveted to Mr. Johnson's inspirational speech. He told them, "Be willing to take risks no one else is willing to take and be willing to embrace failure, because only those who are willing to fail are those who are going to become successful.  When you fail, can you fail forward? Failing forward on your face moves you closer to your destiny than standing still on your feet. Be strategic. Know what God created you to do. Be strategic to see three or four steps ahead of where you are and to ask yourself critical questions about where I need to go and what I need to do."

Graduates were encouraged to "Be victorious! Are you willing to walk in the purpose for which you were created? Those who are victorious are not those who never fail. They are not those who have easy lives.  The people who are victorious are those who understand that every mistake I make, every single error in my life, every single difficult moment was put there so that I could be crafted into the person that God created me to be."

Mr. Johnson urged the Class of 2011 to "use every single gift you were given to do what it is the universe needs from you."  He challenged them saying, "this cap on your head, this gown on your body represents an investment you made in yourself. What will you do with that investment?" 

He concluded his message with, "Class of 2011, you are the legacy of those who have loved and gone before you. What you choose to do with that legacy can change the world! Congratulations!"

The education in a Cristo Rey School stands on a tripod of three intended outcomes. These are Academic, Work and Character.  Following the conferral of diplomas, awards were presented to a student in each of these three categories, with a fourth award, the Cristo Rey Award, given to the one student who integrated all three of these outcomes at the superior level.

Kwani Lunis

Melanie Mendoza
Corporate Internship

Otis Johnson
Outstanding Character
& Francis Medal

Tiffany Adams
Cristo Rey Award
& Sister of Charity Award


In addition, two religious communities associated with the school wished to present awards. The Franciscan Friars' award is titled the Francis Medal. One Francis Medal was awarded to graduate, Otis Johnson for his active concern for all people and commitment to respect the environment. One Francis Medal was awarded to an adult member of the school, Veronica Ortega, Academic Registrar, for clearly demonstrating the love and compassion that is the heart of the CtK Prep community.

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth annually present an award to a graduate of a high school served by the Sisters of Charity. Tiffany Adams was recognized as that graduate who exemplifies the values and vision of the Sisters to challenge oneself to develop our God given gifts for the service of others.

At the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, Fr. Bob, CtK's President, thanked all who made this milestone in the history of our school possible...the Board of Trustees who believed in the idea that a Cristo Rey school could grow in Newark and worked for years to realize that idea. Our Corporate Sponsors who engaged our students in their work assignments and provided these students with valuable education outside the classroom setting. Our Faculty and staff who worked every day to call forth all the potential in these young women and men of promise.  To all who have joined us in our mission to transform urban America one student at a time, you deserve our heart-felt respect and gratitude.

Congratulations to CtK's Class of 2011...you are a Living Legacy!



Cristo Rey Network Schools Across the U.S. Graduate the Class of 2011

CtK Prep was one of many schools featured in this YouTube video:




CtK's Class of 2011 Attends Baccalaureate Mass and Awards Ceremony

Family members and friends, corporate partners and trustees gathered with members of CtK's Class of 2011 on the evening before graduation to celebrate the Eucharist. Archbishop Emeritus, Peter L. Gerety, a great friend to Christ the King Prep, presided at this special liturgy, which took place at the parish church of Our Lady of Good Counsel.  Concelebrating with Archbishop Gerety, were CtK board member Monsignor William Reilly, Fr. Luis Gonzalez, pastor of OLCG, and Fr. Robert Sandoz, OFM, CtK's President.

Once Mass had concluded, Dr. Pamela Rauscher, Dean of Academics, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the awards ceremony. Prior to granting the awards, Robert Dambreville, Class of 2011, was invited to share his reflection on what his time at Christ the King Prep meant to him and the impact that his education will have upon his future.

Once Robert finished sharing his reflection, awards were presented in seven academic areas to those students whose four year cumulative performance placed them at the top of their class.  


Kwani Lunis

Garwayne Gibbs

Tiffany Adams

Angelika Arias
Social Studies

Melanie Mendoza

Brian Lopez

Robin Dambreville
Performing Arts

Zack Jackson
Visual Arts


Christ the King Prep is a member of the Cristo Rey Network. The network has explicit expectations of the graduates who carry a diploma from a Cristo Rey High School.  Six awards were presented to that student who most perfectly embodies each of these principles of the "Graduate at Graduation."  Here are those award winners:



Neftali Rodriguez
Open to Growth

Myles Crawley
Religious, Faith-filled

Robert Dambreville
Intellectually Competent
& Curious

Gabiela Herrera

Lamar Washington
Committed to Justice

Monica Nunes


The final honors bestowed that evening were to four outstanding students who were presented with the "CTK - Character, Trustworthiness and Kindness" award.  They are Myron Smith, Tanisha Phillipe, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Ray Bola, pictured here with Principal, Bruce Segall.


CtK's Class of 2011 Celebrates an Evening Under the Stars

A magical evening "Under the Stars" was celebrated by CtK's first graduating class, the Class of 2011.  Our very first senior prom took place on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at The Fiesta in Wood-Ridge, NJ.  Coordinated by the prom committee, with assistance by Ms. Marguerite Glentz, senior class advisor, members of the senior class along with their guests enjoyed a truly special evening.

Many, including underclassmen, attended a "toast off" of the seniors, held at the school, prior to their departure for The Fiesta.  Seniors and their guests were formally introduced and walked the red carpet to the cheers of their family and friends.

Once at The Fiesta, dining and dancing was the order for the evening, however, time was reserved to present special class awards. Awards were given in such categories cutest couple (Anthony Veliz and Melanie Mendoza); most caring (Gabiela Herrera); most artistic (Zack Jackson); most sincere (Alvin Stroud); greatest sense of humor (Christen Davis); just to name a few.  The most talented award was given collectively to Frankie Boswell, Desmond Grant and Zahki Lee, who performed a few songs during the evening as the group "Space Club".

The climax of the evening took place with the selection of the prom court. Antonio Veliz and Emiliy Garcia were chosen, from among their peers, as the prom king and prom queen.

A wonderful time was had by all in attendance.  Now we look forward to graduation on Saturday, June 11th.



CtK Prep Presents Aida

Spring has been a busy time at CtK Prep.  Under the direction of Mrs. Alissa McCabe, CtK's Visual and Performing Arts instructor, we were pleased to present our first all school production on May 13, 14 and 15.  Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida was an exciting choice for our school's first musical.  In this compelling story, we are transported back to ancient Egypt where we meet the beautiful Aida, played superbly by Class of 2011 senior, Robin Dambreville, and the handsome Radames, portrayed by Class of 2012 junior, Benjamin James.  Theirs is a powerful and enduring love that shatters all boundaries.  The story is as exciting today as when the story was first written.  Truly a timeless love story.


We are very proud of our student actors and stage crew members. 

This is an amazing accomplishment for a school so young.  These students have worked tirelessly to produce this play. The singing, dancing and choreography, acting, costumes, sets and props are all their work.  All this they have done in addition to their regular academics and work responsibilities.

Ms. McCabe deserves special recognition. 
She has dedicated countless days to direct and produce this play.  She has created something so memorable out of nothing.  With very limited resources, she created a lasting, formative experience in the lives of

our young people.



 Bravo to the entire cast and crew for

a job well done!







CtK Prep Hosts JA-HSBC Executive Leadership Forum

Wednesday, March 9th was a banner day for CtK Prep when we welcomed nearly 50 executives from the HSBC Insurance global leadership team to our school.  This visit, coordinated by our friends at Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JA), was an opportunity for 45 of our students to work side by side with HSBC senior managers from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and North America in one of JA’s innovative personal finance and economic education programs.  The goal of this executive leadership forum is to inspire young people to succeed in our global economy. 

Students had the opportunity to speak, one-on-one, with our guests, sharing their own personal work experiences as corporate interns in the business world.  Following this “meet and greet”, CtK President, Fr. Robert Sandoz, formally welcomed all on behalf of the entire school community and board of trustees.

The program began, moderated by Mr. Patrick Cozza, Senior Executive Vice President, CEO and Regional Head of HSBC Insurance North America, who also serves as the State Board Chair for Junior Achievement of New Jersey.  Mr. Cozza discussed the important partnership established between HSBC and JA to teach financial skills to students in 32 countries and territories around the world.  The Honorable Ronald C. Rice, Councilman for the City of Newark’s West Ward, communicated to the students the importance of receiving a higher education.  We know our young men and women will draw upon his encouraging words for some time to come.

In the midst of this very busy afternoon, Fr. Bob proudly accepted a $10,000 contribution from HSBC. When the excitement of receiving such a generous gift settled down, students were given the chance to pose questions to five panelists from the global leadership team. These executives offered insights on navigating the global economy, whilesharing personal anecdotes from their careers and personal lives. 

Then the true fun began as each student was paired with one of the senior managers to participate in an innovative financial literacy “game”.  The game, developed by JA, focused on monthly budgeting and afforded the HSBC executives the opportunity to coach our students on making sound financial choices, along with providing one-on-one career counseling.  Before we knew it, it was time to say farewell to our new friends from HSBC’s global community.

Upon reflection of the day’s event, Fr. Bob shared with faculty and staff, “I’m not sure any of us really know what happened in our gym today.  World business leaders in our gym ‘playing’ with our students.  There are those ‘archival’ moments in the history of an institution.  Such was ours today.”  He went on to say, “It is my belief that at the core of education is the acquaintance with greatness. That is why those to whom we entrust our students are so critical to our mission. Certainly, today in the gym the students were acquainted with greatness.  Ordinary people doing extraordinary things and sharing it with our students.  The bonds of community, shared across cultures and generations, were strengthened and celebrated in our very midst.  I am truly awed by such a sublime event.”

This has been quite a day for our school community.



CtK Prep's 2010 President's Gala a Great Success!

More than 250 friends of Christ the King Prep gathered at The Newark Club on Thursday evening October 14, 2010 to honor two great supporters of Christ the King Prep.





Newark's Archbishop John J. Myers was the recipient of this year's Cristo Rey Award, while the Honorable John J. Gibbons, former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and founder of the eminent law firm, Gibbons P.C. received the President's Award.



bartBart Erbach, CtK's Board President, welcomed everyone on behalf of the entire CtK Prep community.

The evening's program began with event Honorary Co-Chair, the Most Reverend Peter L. Gerety, Archbishop Emeritus, leading everyone in the Opening Prayer.



Rev. Robert Sandoz, CtK Prep's President, then welcomed the Honorable Cory A. Booker, event Honorary Co-Chair and Mayor of the City of Newark to address the guests.






The heart of the program centered on stories shared by our students. Student Ambassador, Melanie Mendoza, Class of 2011, shared her personal experience of being a member of the first graduating class at CtK Prep.

Junior Benjamin James, an aspiring actor, reflected on his work experience through the Corporate Internship Program. He spoke about the importance of the education he receives outside of the classroom.

Benjamin's deep appreciation was evident as he expressed what it meant to him to have worked at the Archdiocese of Newark last year. An opportunity made possible by Archbishop Myers' commitment to the mission of the Cristo Rey model of education. Therefore, it was naturally fitting that Benjamin presented the Cristo Rey Award to Archbishop Myers.

Accepting the award on behalf of His Grace was Rev. Msgr. John Doran, Vicar General of the archdiocese.


Following remarks by Rev. Msgr. Doran, Gina Reed-Woodard, also a member of the Class of 2011, recounted the importance of the experience gained while working as a student intern at Gibbons, P.C. So important was this experience with the Judge's firm that it has caused her to reconsider a career in journalism and possibly pursue a career in law instead. Gina presented Judge Gibbons with the President's Award for his undying commitment to and generous support of urban education at Christ the King Prep.

To see more photos from the 2010 President's Gala, visit the site of our photographer, Mark Wyville:       Gala photos



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