Alumni Profiles

Klarisza Padilla
Cristo Rey St. Martin '13
Georgetown University '17
Bachelor's in Computer Science
Columbia University Master of Computer Engineering candidate

"Cristo Rey St. Martin played its largest role for me once I graduated high school. Upon finding myself struggling to navigate challenging courses and new course instructor dynamics, I messaged my CRSM teachers and grew close to other Cristo Rey students who were attending Georgetown. I can’t imagine what my college experience would have been like without the Cristo Rey community.”

As a mentor for Georgetown’s Women Who Code organization, a Google student ambassador, an app development intern with a tech start-up, and a web editor for the university, Klarizsa spent her college years dedicated to building digital literacy and encouraging other young women to consider careers in technology.

“I would like my dream of doing something for the less fortunate to materialize into a nonprofit organization. In addition to, or through, doing work in service for others, I hope to continue building my passion for technology. The prospect of having the skill set to be able to do so many different things excites me and through the study of computer engineering I can reach these aspirations. I would like to understand and continuously be learning about the design of digital hardware and software systems and be combining my design interests and technical passions to create products that are aesthetic but efficient.”

Klarisza was recently profiled for Cristo Rey St. Martin's blog.

Sephorah Pierre
Christ the King Preparatory School '12
St. Michael's College '16
Bachelor of Science in Biology

What elements of your Cristo Rey education stand out?

"The biggest element that stood out was obviously why I chose the school. No one else around me went to work once a week. I was eager to get my foot in the door. What I really appreciated about my corporate experience is that they didn’t treat me like an intern. They treated me like I had a purpose. There were things that I was doing that I felt mattered, that mattered to the business."

What would you say to a student considering a Cristo Rey education?
"I would tell them, although it is not the typical high school, you will not regret the experience four years later. When you graduate from a Cristo Rey school it has meaning. In my community, saying I graduated from Christ the King meant something. You will definitely find the experience worthwhile in the long run. You’ll see, you’ll absolutely love that you went to Cristo Rey."

Guillermo Cruz
Cristo Rey Jesuit - Chicago '03
DePaul University '15

Guillermo Cruz is a great example of the long term impact of a Cristo Rey education. After graduation he matriculated to a local two-year community school and worked hard and successfully transferred to DePaul University. While at Cristo Rey and throughout college, he worked for Aon. After graduating from DePaul, Aon offered him a full-time position. “I get to work with clients such as Live Nation, who organize mainstream concerts and having had great relationships ever since my high school years with people inside the corporate offices, working in the H.R. department and going back during my school breaks, I didn’t have any doubt this was the place where I wanted to work.” Guillermo earns more than his parents have ever made in a year and his dream is to buy them their first home.

He also remains active in the Cristo Rey Jesuit Chicago community, from helping to develop the school’s Alumni Network to coaching the flag football team in the fall and boy’s volleyball in the spring. “It is our responsibility as alumni of Cristo Rey to come back to this school and become a helping hand to current students…so that the students can look up to us and say: ‘I want to be like him or her one day!'"

Michelle Oviedo
Notre Dame Cristo Rey '08
College of the Holy Cross '12
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

"Like many other Cristo Rey graduates I was the first in my family to graduate from college. Upon graduating, I began working with elders in a non-profit in my hometown Lawrence, MA. From my work with them, I discovered my love for the elderly and helping others. I also learned after graduating college, that education does not end after a bachelor’s degree. In the coming months, I will be preparing to take the MCAT and apply to medical school this June. My ultimate goal will be to have a career in medicine that involves traveling to Africa among other continents and/or working with elders."

Mayra Tenorio
Cristo Rey St. Martin '11
Swarthmore College '15
Bachelor's in Sociology and Anthropology

Mayra Tenorio was recently named a Gates Cambridge Scholar. This prestigious honor is reserved for individuals who demonstrate outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and a commitment to improving the world. Mayra will head to Cambridge this fall to continue her Anthropology studies.

“I loved high school. I really feel that that is where I found my voice. It was the first time that I was in a place where I had adults believing in me, encouraging me to ask questions, to participate and to lead. For students of color, we aren’t really given that opportunity in the way that other students are. The majority of us are first generation. We are daughters and sons of immigrants; we don’t have adults telling us our voices have value. Cristo Rey St. Martin is college-prep, the courses and skills they teach are meant to prepare you for college. To be a first-generation student, a student of color in these institutions that are predominantly white can be difficult and intimidating. With the CWSP that confidence is built in students. We are given the opportunity to be in majority white environments. You get that social capital, the different thing that you need to survive spaces where maybe you are the only ones there, and not just survive but succeed. We claim our space starting at 14 or 15, and when you are 18 or 19 it’s easier to see challenges as not bringing me down but as opportunities to prove myself and to know that I can overcome."

Saul Becerra Hernandez
Cristo Rey Jesuit Twin Cities '13
Saint Mary's University '13
Bachelor's in Finance

Through the Corporate Work Study Program, Saul worked at BMO Harris Bank where he developed his passion for business. He is currently a senior at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, a Cristo Rey University Partner.

“The more time and effort you put into something, the more success will come along the way.”

This mindset started when Becerra worked at BMO Harris Bank. This led Becerra to major in finance at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where he attends on a full-ride scholarship through the First Generation Initiative (FGI) program. “This semester I’m taking entrepreneurial finance and learning different viewpoints in the financial industry.”

Becerra would like to continue gaining experience with different financial institutions to find his career calling. Becerra firmly believes he has the qualifications to succeed in the financial world. “One thing is that I know how to conduct myself professionally around individuals and help guide them through their financial process whether it is in the risk management side of finance or the investment side of finance.”

He was recently featured in the Voices of Cristo Rey blog.

Tasvir Singh
Cristo Rey Sacramento '09
University of the Pacific '13
Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sciences, Pre-Pharmacy Studies
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences '16
Doctor of Pharmacy

My four years at Cristo Rey Sacramento High School were an enriching and rewarding experience that I would not trade for anything. Because of the unique work study component of the curriculum, I not only learned academics that prepared me for college, but also matured and gained confidence by working alongside health professionals. I had the great privilege of working at Sutter Medical Center for four years, which exposed me to the health care field and cemented my interest in a medical profession.

Seeing “Dr. Singh” in emails addressed to me is surreal; as a freshman, I never dreamed of graduating at the age of 23 with a doctorate, let alone two degrees! But I can say with absolute faith that Cristo Rey is what helped make this into a reality—by allowing me to spread my wings, step out of my shell, and mature into the health professional that I am today. My teachers and coworkers were always there when I needed them, and by my senior year, I knew that they would remain lifelong friends and mentors.

She was recently featured in Voices of Cristo Rey.

Dominique Jordan
Verbum Dei High School '09
Georgetown University '13
Bachelor of Science in Finance and Management with a Concentration on New & Small Business

"My Cristo Rey experience was life-changing. Overall I learned a lot about myself. That is the most important thing I could take away from the experience, besides a diploma...I bring Verbum Dei with me wherever I go.”

After graduating from Georgetown University, Dominique started work at Morgan Stanley where he is currently a Wealth Advisor, Financial Planning Specialist. He has been with Morgan Stanley for five years, where he also serves on two Diversity & Inclusion Councils. Dominique is the Founder of The DJ|JD Foundation, a nonprofit focused on financial literacy in inner city communities, providing scholarships and teaching principles on financial independence. He was recently featured in the Voices of Cristo Rey blog.

Karis Harris
Cristo Rey Jesuit - Baltimore '11
Stevenson University '15
Bachelor of Arts in Human Services

"My mother and I chose Cristo Rey because we believed it would provide me with the best foundation to be great and also a one-of-a-kind education. I built lasting relations with friends, teachers, and administrators. I was introduced to the corporate and professional world at a young age. I received a college ready education that helped me to excel and be as successful as I was at Stevenson. And I had fun in between. Cristo Rey helped me to realize who I was as a person and began the molding process for the woman I am becoming today."

Karis graduated from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School - Baltimore and continued her education at Stevenson University, having received a scholarship throughout her four years. She is about to embark on a career as a case manager at INNterim Housing Corporation, fulfilling her dream to help others. She will be working with homeless women and children, as they achieve their own education and career goals.

She was featured in Voices of Cristo Rey.

Nicholas Furnari
Notre Dame Cristo Rey '14
University of Notre Dame '18

What elements of your Cristo Rey education stand out?
As students, we were constantly told about college, told that it was mandatory that we apply to five colleges. And I had planned up until my junior year to apply to whatever five colleges that they recommended and to not go to any of them. My principal knew someone who was doing outreach work for the University of Notre Dame, trying to get inner city, high achieving low-income youth. He was so impressed with Cristo Rey and the mission. That he paid for me to visit Notre Dame, helping me through the application process. He wasn’t just attracted by us the students but to the school and to the Cristo Rey mission. That was a really affirming moment for me to find someone that knew my experience there would be able to get me to University of Notre Dame and to have the confidence in me to make a tangible, literal investment in my education and in my future.

How did Cristo Rey prepare you for college?
Most importantly, we were constantly told that no matter what, if we worked hard enough for something, that we could do it. All of us from the Lawrence school had been told from different people and our community at large that we couldn’t do things—that we weren’t smart enough that we weren’t destined to be college graduates. But within those four walls of Notre Dame Cristo Rey we were told the exact opposite, that if you put in the hard work you could do this. That’s a great thing to carry forward into my college years. It’s important to have that confidence.

Rashad Mohammed
Cristo Rey New York High School '09
Holy Cross '13
Columbia Law School '19

How was your Cristo Rey high school experience?
“I learned a lot about myself, the type of person I wanted to be and a lot about the world.”

What do you value the most about Cristo Rey?
"I value the sense of pride the school has. Cristo Rey exposes its students to aspects of the world that students may not have any experience with. I really appreciate how the school works to instill a sense of pride in its students, regardless of the student’s background...You can always push for better. Do better. Push for greater things. My experiences there always pushed me to do better and be a better person and focus on doing the things I want to do."

What made you interested in law?
"Law is in many ways the backbone of the world. Anything that you do is governed by laws and principles. As I got older and got to learn about landmark cases or massive business deals taking place, I really began to develop an interest in how the law governs our society. I also believe that with a law degree I’ll be able to make an impact in various societal sectors."

Rashad was recently featured in Cristo Rey New York's 2016 Annual Report.

Devonte' Smith and John Frank
Saint Martin de Porres High School '09 and '14

Saint Martin de Porres graduate Devonte' supervised John when he was a junior and senior working at ShurTech Brands through the Corporate Work Study Program.

When I began, like any other 14-year-old working in a professional environment, I was shy and nervous. However, I was placed in a great department, and I also had a great supervisor who I referred to as my work mom, which is part of the reason why I’m still there today. During my sophomore year, I was asked if I could work over school breaks. And I continued to work during breaks for the next seven years, even after I graduated. Because of my hard work and dedication, I was offered a full-time position. For almost three years I supervised John Frank Largent, and I saw the same kid that I was at his age. One thing about John is that he’s very self-motivated and believed that ‘If DeVonte’ worked hard then maybe this same opportunity is out there for me,’” said Devonte' (pictured left).

Over the course of working at ShurTech Brands, I gained the confidence, leadership skills, and motivation that I need to succeed in life, shaping me into a reflective and profound individual. I also built a connection with DeVonte’, who, as a mentor, has been able to guide me with advice throughout my high school career," said John (pictured right).

Ana Rosado
Cristo Rey New York High School '08
Swarthmore College '12
Bachelor of Arts in History with a double-minor in Black Studies and Latin American Studies

Ana is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, studying 19th century African American History. She is Cristo Rey New York's first graduate to pursue a Ph.D.

Reflecting on her time at Cristo Rey New York and her next adventure in graduate school, Ana said, "Cristo Rey expanded my worldview. During my time as a student, I was exposed to the possibility of different careers and was given the opportunity to travel and meet people of diverse backgrounds. I learned that through hard work, you can open doors for yourself and others. I'm nervous about the new journey, but I am really excited because eventually what I really want to do is teach and give back to my community, in the same way the teachers and staff at Cristo Rey gave back to us."

Dana Fernandez
Cristo Rey Jesuit - Twin Cities '12
Marquette University '16
Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology

Dana is a graduate of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School - Twin Cities' second class and is the first in her family to go to college. “Cristo Rey is why I am a first generation college graduate. The school was right when they told my mother that their goal was to get her eighth grade daughter to graduate from college. They were there every year of my college journey, including my research presentation, my visit to graduate school, and my college graduation. Now I am headed to Creighton University to pursue a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy!”