FIRST ANNUAL REY OF HOPE LUNCHEON: Write-up in the Mercury News

SUCCESS FOR CRISTO REY: Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School had a fantastic turnout for its first fundraising lunch Thursday to support the school, which has a work-study curriculum aimed at getting low-income students into college while learning valuable job skills.

There also was a lot of support voiced for the school's president, the Rev. Peter Pabst, who is on medical leave as he prepares for a bone marrow transplant. Pabst couldn't attend but prepared a video greeting for the lunch at the Rotary Summit Center in downtown San Jose, during which he said, "This is a great moment for us at Cristo Rey. We are really providing kids with an opportunity to go to and through college, and this is because we know education is the great equalizer."

Pabst would have been pleased to see the response from the crowd of more than 400 people, which included Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, John A. Sobrato, Barry Swenson, Frank Fiscalini, Helen Owen, Gloria Citti, Mary Ellen and Michael E. Fox Sr. and the Rev. Michael Weiler, the Jesuit order's provincial in California.

Sobrato, who co-chairs the board with B.J. Cassin, said the school's capital campaign to add classroom space and a gym to its campus at Five Wounds Catholic Church has raised about $12.5 million in nine months. Significant contributions have recently come in from Trust Company of America Chairman Steve Finn, philanthropist Tad Taube and the Valley Foundation so Sobrato said he's confident the final $2.5 million will be raised.
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