Christmas Letter from our President and Chancellor


Reflecting on our blessings
this Christmas season

Dear Friends of Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School,

Blessings to you and your loved ones this Christmas season. We are writing to humbly request your financial support so that together we can offer a Jesuit, Catholic college prep education to over 450 hardworking students from underserved communities in San José. 

Each student has a compelling story, and we’d like to share two with you. Ivan hardly spoke during his freshman year, struggling with English as a non-native speaker. Motivated by the support he received from CRSJ’s dedicated teachers and academic counselors, Ivan has progressed remarkably and is now a confident Senior who has passed AP exams. Ivan studies diligently, excels in his work study job at Service by Medallion and also works late into the evenings, running a janitorial business to support his family financially and to care for his younger siblings. Despite shouldering responsibilities far beyond those of a typical teenager, Ivan is always smiling and appreciates the “push” he says Cristo Rey gives him to strive for a better future. Ivan will be the first in his family to attend college and plans to pursue agricultural engineering so that he can ensure farmers, like those in his own family, are treated with fairness and respect.

Verenice, also a Senior, has been profoundly affected by her Jesuit, Catholic experience at CRSJ and credits it with increasing her faith. She has applied to the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University, where she attended a summer program that exposed her to new possibilities for continuing her Jesuit education as a first-generation college student. She cares deeply about social justice and is serving as a Kairos retreat leader. Verenice also founded the student newspaper to create a platform where all voices could be heard. Initially shy, Verenice has grown in confidence during her time at Cristo Rey, impressing her teachers and her supervisors at Silicon Valley Bank.

Ivan and Verenice represent the “grit and ganas” CRSJ students exhibit daily to overcome tremendous academic and personal challenges, through their own persistence and the wraparound support of our gifted faculty, counselors and staff who work tirelessly to ensure student success. In Cristo Rey’s unique and loving environment, our students are thriving, assuming leadership roles and working toward successful futures.  

This year, we must raise $3.2M to make all of this possible. We are grateful to our Corporate Work Study partners who offset a large portion of tuition costs, as well as the families who sacrifice in order to contribute to their child’s education, but there still remains a gap of $7,500 per student. With your help, we can close that gap.

As we reflect on the blessings of this past year, notably the graduation of our first class in June and their subsequent enrollment in universities across the country, we count you among our greatest blessings and offer our deep gratitude. Please consider continuing or elevating your commitment to Cristo Rey’s students, whose success as learners and leaders will transform Silicon Valley and families for generations to come. 

Dr. Margaret M. Higgins  

Fr. Peter Pabst, SJ   
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