Access to Success 2019
On Monday, October 28, Cristo Rey New York High School celebrated its sixth annual Access to Success Dinner. Our 225 guests gathered at the University Club and generously helped us raise significant scholarship money to allow our students access to success.
The recipient of this year's Celebrating our Success Award was Voya Financial, a company that has been a Corporate Work Study Partner to Cristo Rey since 2011, employing two to three CRNYHS students every year. Michael Pratt, Managing Director, Head of Human Resources at Voya, accepted the award. Michael has helped Voya to expand its relationship with CRNYHS in a couple of significant ways, including providing funding for our annual Business Boot Camp summer program through a grant from the Voya Foundation and creating the Voya Scholars Program, a competitive scholarship program for college students that three CRNYHS students have received. Emely (CRNYHS '18, Fordham '22), one of these scholarship recipients and current intern at Voya, presented the award.
Additionally, Fairfield University was presented with the Ensuring our Future Award, which President Dr. Mark Nemec accepted. Fairfield has been a very strong partner to Cristo Rey over the years. Each summer, Fairfield hosts a summer program exclusively for Cristo Rey Network students. This program is designed to give students exposure to a college campus and a taste of what college life, so that when our students arrive on a college campus their freshmen year there is less uncertainty and more familiarity. Eight CRNYHS graduates hold Fairfield degrees and another eleven are on track to graduate, including Xavier, (CRNYHS '16, Fairfield '20) our emcee, and Michelle, (CRNYHS '15, Fairfield '19) who presented the award to Mark.
Emely and Michelle, both spoke of gratitude when giving these awards. Emely recalled her first time stepping into the big fancy Voya office in midtown at age fourteen and being intimidated, but then explained how Voya has become a second home to her, and Mike and his team at Voya a second family. Michelle reminisced on the abundance of opportunities she had at Fairfield, from the classes and facilities, to professors and mentors, to the ability to travel abroad to Florence.
Xavier, the master of ceremonies, lit up the room looking back on his days at both CRNYHS and Fairfield University. Soon to be a graduate of both schools, Xavier was able to reflect on all that he gained from the academic and Corporate Work Study Program at CRNYHS, and how that helped him to succeed in college and secure a job after graduation this spring.
Check out some photos and a video of Xavier's speech below!