Saturday, May 1st was the day for parents to come, put their feet up and enjoy a little well-deserved pampering at Christ the King Prep's first Spring Wellness Celebration for CtK students and their families.
"Our parents work hard," said Fr. Robert Sandoz, Christ the King's President, "They deal with a lot of stress, particularly in today's difficult economy. This is our way of saying 'thank-you' to them for the sacrifices they make to send their children to a Catholic school."
The unique event, which was billed as "a relaxing day for Christ the King families" was organized by Integrative Health Consultant, Linda Rapuano, and included Mind-Body-Spirit offerings which ranged from chair massage, progressive relaxation exercises and talks on nutrition to adventure games in the school gym.
"While mom and dad were off getting chair massages or attending a healthy cooking demonstration, their children took part in age-appropriate activities which ranged from arts and crafts for little kids to an exciting assortment of initiative games for the older ones," said Pam Rauscher, PhD, CTK's Director of Admissions, who helped coordinate the event.
The initiative games were run by Project U.S.E., whose hands-on programs are designed to develop character and build community. "They're also a lot of fun," added Rauscher, who said that CTK's incoming freshman class will spend a full day at Project U.S.E.'s outdoor adventure site, Wildcat Mountain, as part of their pre-employment training in July.
One highlight of the Spring Wellness Celebration was a healthy and delicious luncheon prepared especially for the students and their families by Fr. Gregory Gebbia, who also serves as the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs. Two prayer services and a special blessing for parents and caregivers rounded out the day's events.
"At heart," said Rauscher, "it's all about balance, and wholeness of mind, body and spirit. This is what we wish for our families. It's what we hoped this day would provide."
The entire Christ the King family is very grateful to those friends who, through the gifts of their time, talents and treasure, made this day possible.
Christ the King Prep enjoys a special partnership with Junior Achievement of New Jersey.
Through JA, the entire student body experienced 15 individual class sessions on the topic of financial literacy, and then had a most unusual and delightful visit to "Finance Park on March 24 and 25, 2010.
Capital One Bank, in cooperation with Junior Achievement, created a simulated financial institution in downtown Newark, so large that it occupied an entire floor of a an office building.
Employees of Capital One Bank volunteered as supervisors so that our students could work in small groups as each mapped out his or her own individual financial plan.
This fascinating activity presented each student with an "identity for the day". A student might find his or her virtual identity as being married, having two children, needing to rent an apartment, buy a car, furnish a home, acquire insurance, or pay educational expenses. Alternatively, the student could be single, or be a single parent, and annual incomes assigned to the students all varied widely.
Students received thorough instruction in the use of debit and credit cards and in qualifying for loans. They gathered data about what their purchasing options were (do I buy a Chevrolet or a Mercedes-Benz?) then visited kiosks to make their purchases. Calculators were provided so that students could "crunch" their numbers to be sure they stayed within their financial means.
By the end of the exercise, students needed to know if their budget balanced, and if they had any money left over to put into savings. No one could leave until their bills were "paid" and their budget was balanced!
All of us at Christ the King Prep are grateful to Junior Achievement and Capital One Bank for this developmental benefit to improve the financial literacy of our students.
Mayfair Farms in West Orange, NJ, was the setting for Christ the King Prep's first Jobs Summit Breakfast. Executive decision-makers met on Thursday, March 11th, for a well-orchestrated event which focused exclusively on growing our Corporate Internship Program through the acquisition of additional partnerships in the corporate community.
Guests were welcomed to the event by our student ambassadors, and were treated to entertainment performed by our talented student Gospel choir and skilled musicians.
Several of our current corporate partners attended, as well as numerous "Friends of Christ the King Prep," all of whom have worked hard to spread the word in the business community to recruit interested professionals from a cross-section of industries.
In his welcoming remarks, Fr. Robert Sandoz, our President, pointed out that the success of our "win-win" partnership with corporate sponsors resulted in a 100% acceptance rate of Cristo Rey Network graduates into colleges and universities throughout the country.
Next we heard from Lakia Haywood, Human Resources Consultant with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, who shared how impressed she has been with how well prepared and professional Christ the King Prep students are. She added that the relationship with Christ the King Prep is "win-win," helping Blue Cross cost-effectively meet its entry-level administrative needs while also participating in educating and mentoring inner-city youth, providing them with opportunities that they otherwise would never have, and preparing them to be ready for college and the workplace.
Monica Nuñez, CtK Prep student, class of 2011, then shared how working at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and First Care Medical Group has opened her eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career in medicine and health care. She added that one day in the future, she hopes to have the honor of Fr. Bob asking her to speak at a Jobs Summit, not as a student, but as a Corporate Sponsor.
Bart Erbach, Trustee of Christ the King Prep and President of Erbach Communications, invited the business community to share their ideas in an effort to provide more jobs for our students. He added that as we reach full enrollment in September, 2010, CtK Prep will need 15 more jobs in order to provide quality work experience for our students. "We fed you, we entertained you. Now we need your ideas." The 100 plus guests then offered their suggestions and their contacts to help us meet our goal. The Jobs Summit also served as the launch of this newly re-designed website.
For more details on how to support
our Corporate Internship Program:
contact Sandra Lerner, Director of the Corporate Internship Program at email@example.com
As a school of diversity, Christ the King Prep celebrates Black History Month with classes and activities that tell the story of the many contributions African Americans have made possible for all Americans to enjoy. This year, because of a most generous grant offered to us by the Montclair Art Museum, we were able to take our sophomore and juniors to the exhibit the museum has been hosting on African American art entitled "A Force For Change."
Students spent an hour in the gallery enjoying, discussing and reflecting on works of art created between 1928 and 1948 by artists who were awarded grants from the Julius Rosenwald Fund. They then spent a second hour in one of the museum's art studios designing and printing lithographs of some of the works produced by the Rosenwald fellows.
Through the generosity of the Montclair Art Museum our sophomores and juniors had the opportunity to briefly see and experience the art that has been a force for change in the long pilgrimage towards justice, peace and beauty for all Americans.
The school community of Christ the King Preparatory School in Newark gathered to pray for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Over 30 Christ the King Prep students are of Haitian descent. Many are still waiting for news on the condition of family members who live in this island nation.
In addition to the ongoing prayer, students and staff have initiated a series of fundraising efforts to support the people of Haiti. Collection jars have been placed in classrooms and bake-sales are being held to raise money to help those in need. Also, students will sponsor a "Poetry Slam" and a benefit, entitled "Voices of Hope for Haiti" in the Spring. Posters bearing words of hope and support hang in the hallways of the school as encouragement for those affected by this tragedy.
On October 9, 2009, approximately 250 guests gathered at The Newark Club to honor basketball legend, Georgetown and Olympic Coach, John R. Thompson, Jr. and Founding Christ the King Prep President, Rev. Edward Glynn, S.J. for their contributions to urban education.
Thanks to the genorosity of hundreds of benefactors and supporters, we raised well over $100,000! Thanks to all who made this event such a trendous success! To schedule a visit or for more information on how you can support Newark's Cristo Rey High School, contact Anthony Nicotera, Director of Development:firstname.lastname@example.org; 973-483-0033, x305. Thanks again!
See photo album: CTK Gala 10/9/09
(special thanks to photographer: Mark Wyville: www.markwyville.com
Information About Our Honorees
Coach John R. Thompson, Jr. was head coach of the Georgetown University men's basketball team from 1972 until 1998. Mr. Thompson was head coach of the 1988 United States Olympic basketball team. He hosts The John Thompson Show, a sports talk show on ESPN 980, Clear Channel Radio, in Washington, D.C.. He is a nationally broadcast sports analyst for the NBA on Turner Network Television (TNT) and the NCAA on the Westwood One, Inc. radio network. He serves as Assistant to the President of Georgetown for Urban Affairs, and he is a past President of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Rev. Edward Glynn, SJ, prior to taking the helm of Christ the King Prep, attended the University of Scranton and earned additional degrees at Fordham University, Woodstock College, Yale Divinity School, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has enjoyed a wide-ranging career in teaching, writing and administration. Father Glynn has served at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University, America Magazine, Woodstock Theological Center, and as president of Gonzaga University, St. Peter's College, and John Carroll University.
Honorary Committee Chairpersons
Hon. Cory Booker, Mayor, City of Newark
John J. DeGioia, Ph.D., President, Georgetown University
Most Rev. John J. Myers, J.C.D., D.D., Archbishop of Newark
Honorary Committee Members & Emcee
Adrian Foley, Jr., Esq. • Hon. John J. Gibbons • Michael Gilfillan
Br. John W. Klein, F.M.S. • Lou Lamoriello • William J. Marino;
Clement A. Price & Mary Sue Sweeney Price • William Raftery • Francis X. Rienzo;
Sr. Dominica Rocchio, S.C. • Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Ryan • William A. Stein
Bill Raftery of CBS Sports, Emcee
Christ the King Preparatory School names Fr. Robert Sandoz, OFM President
Newark Archbishop John J. Myers has appointed Rev. Robert J. Sandoz, OFM, to serve as President of Newark's Cristo Rey high school, Christ the King Prep, effective August 1, 2009.
Christ the King Prep, which is now entering its third year of operation, is one of twenty-four Cristo Rey schools around the country that seeks to offer a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to urban young people with limited financial resources. Christ the King's unique program combines four days a week of rigorous academics with an innovative Corporate Internship Program that allows students to earn a portion of their tuition by working in an entry level office job one day a week.
One of Fr. Sandoz's priorities at Christ the King will be to ensure the vitality of the Corporate Internship Program, which is the lifeblood of the school. Even though Christ the King already has strong support from such Greater Newark corporations as Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Gibbons PC law firm, Broadway House for Continuing Care, and the Office of the Mayor of the City of Newark, to name just a few, Fr. Sandoz is looking to expand that base of corporate and government partnership. "One of my first tasks will be to work with our CIP Director, Mrs. Sandra Lerner, to identify new possibilities for support." He added, "While this is always a challenge, it is a bit more so in this economic climate."
Still, Fr. Sandoz is confident that once people hear and understand the "Cristo Rey Message" they will want to be part of that vision. "From the business sector, through government and various service agencies, they all know the transformative power of this vision," said Fr. Sandoz. He added, "For today, it is a noble undertaking; for tomorrow, it is a formula for success."
Beginning in September, nearly 250 promising, motivated young people will be living that vision at Christ the King Prep as members of the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes. In 2011, Christ the King Prep will graduate its first class of seniors from a program that, nationally, sends more than 95% of its graduating classes to colleges and universities.
Fr. Sandoz, who has served as pastor of both St. Joseph Parish in East Rutherford and Our Lady of the Holy Angels in Little Falls, has an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Louis University and an M. Div from Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park, IL. He has also served as an administrator at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, MA, an instructor at the Graduate School at Holy Trinity College in Harare, Zimbabwe, and as chaplain in the death row unit of the federal prison in Raleigh, NC. He will succeed founding President Rev. Edward Glynn, S.J., who stepped down last March.
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 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 Dice. The 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.
We apologize that this article is temporarily unavailable.
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.
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!
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.”
“Money management is key to good living.”
“This trip taught me to be responsible.” – Jayla
“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!”
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!
"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?"
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
"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.
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!
CtK Prep was one of many schools featured in this YouTube video:
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.
Bart 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