This past July, Cristo Rey Miami High School—a college and career preparatory 9-12 high school with an exclusive corporate work study educational model—opened its doors to nearly 100 ninth grade students.
Xavier has a long connection to the network primarily through Cristo Rey New York High School (CRNY)—a school many Sons of Xavier have supported over the years.
This morning, the school was dedicated and blessed by the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski.
“I was delighted to join with the Cristo Rey Miami community this morning to celebrate the opening of the 39th school in the Cristo Rey Network,” said President Jack Raslowsky. “From the earliest days of Cristo Rey New York, Sons of Xavier have been involved in this exciting new venture. Gene Rainis ’58 was on the inaugural board of CRNY. I was honored to join him during my time as the provincial assistant for education. Dan Denihan ’65, Steve Vincent, Esq. ’75, Richard Nolan, Esq. ’83, Paul Scariano ’90 P’19 ’21 ’23 ’25, and a host of other Xavier alumni have assisted with securing jobs and benefactors for the work.”
“The day was filled with excitement as the prayer garden and altar were dedicated and the ribbon cut,” said Raslowsky. “The energy in North Miami is palpable with students, faculty, staff, trustees, and supporters delighted to begin this new chapter in their lives and in the life of Catholic education in Miami.”
Cristo Rey Miami is among a network of 39 schools in 25 states, with over 20,000 graduates—98% of whom get accepted to highly accredited colleges and universities.
“This Miami chapter in the evolution of the Cristo Rey Network was born of the vision of Rudy Cecchi ’69,” added Raslowsky. “Twelve years ago, after serving on the Xavier and CRNY boards, Rudy felt Miami needed what Cristo Rey offers—a high-quality education that would lift people out of poverty, give them important work experience, and send them on to be leaders in their community. Rudy worked tirelessly for the last 12 years to make this a reality. He shepherded the feasibility study to completion and has served as co-chair of the Board of Trustees with Rodger Shay, son of Rodger Shay ’54†, past trustee and a great supporter of Xavier. When current Xavier trustee James Brennan ’92 relocated to Miami with his family, Rudy invited him to join the board. James enthusiastically accepted and is working to make this school a success.”
Rudy, James, and Rodger give life to the Xavier mission working to transform the world for God‘s greater glory.
“Most students come from at-risk, often disadvantaged families,” former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence, Jr. shared in an op-ed earlier this week. “Upon entering, many are significantly behind academically. Classes—rigorously academic—are four days a week. But fast forward four years, and most everyone will be ahead of peers elsewhere. Most go to college—in higher percentages than even high-income families. All are mentored through college. On the fifth day, the students go to work at some of the best-known business offices in the community—building relationships and self-confidence, learning how to do a job and how to present themselves, and discovering what a college education can mean.”
Lawrence is a friend of Cecchi's and of Mike Fernandez ’72, another instrumental supporter of Cristo Rey Miami. Click here to read the full piece on Cristo Rey’s extraordinary success.
Over the years, the Xavier E-News and Xavier Magazine have shared stories of Cristo Rey’s work in providing an innovative, college-prep education for at-risk and disadvantaged students.
The inside back cover story of the January 2013 edition of Xavier Magazine highlighted the work of Xavier alumni—Gene Rainis ’58, Jack Galbraith ’61, Dan Denihan ’65, Rudy Cecchi, Bob Robotti ’71, and Michael Conway ’86—in providing positions for students through Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program. The first chair of the Cristo Rey New York board was Madeline Lacovara, wife of Phil Lacovara, Esq. ’60. Xavier Vice President for Planning and Principal Giving Maggie Murphy Stockson served as CRNY’s first CFO. Fr. Jim Croghan also sat on the CRNY Board along with Xavier faculty member Ed Young and Rudy Cecchi. Both Jack Raslowsky and Dan Dougherty, former Xavier executive vice president, currently serve on the CRNY board—Dougherty, since 2018, in his role as the school's president. In 2021, Bill Ford, who shepherded Xavier through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as special assistant to the president and COVID-19 response coordinator, was named president of Cristo Rey Brooklyn.
Fr. Jim Van Dyke, S.J., a former teacher and faculty chaplain at Xavier, was named founding principal of Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School in 2013. He held the position until 2015. Click here to read more about Van Dyke’s appointment in a 2013 Xavier E-News story.
Finally, years ago the Xavier E-News published a series called “Jesuits Apostolates: The Other Works of the Society of Jesus.” CRNY was one of the many Apostolates included in the series. Click here to read the archived profile.