An excerpt from the winning scholarship entry read: “My time at Cristo Rey Jesuit has been life-changing. It has opened doors that I could have never imagined existed. If it was not for Cristo Rey Jesuit, minorities like myself would never have imagined going off to college and changing the norms in our society with the ideology that blue-collar jobs are the only ones meant for us.” The essay continues to describe the extended work experience he was able to acquire while working through the summer at his Corporate Work-Study Program job while taking summer classes at San Jacinto Community College.
The senior, who is considering attending the University of Texas at Austin, continued: “Cristo Rey Jesuit, has cultivated me into a leader inside and outside of the classroom. Cristo Rey Jesuit has instilled in me the methodology of becoming a man for others, and the importance of giving myself to those in need without expecting anything in return. As a leader, I am looking at the bigger picture; I am not only looking for myself to succeed. In order to have long-lasting success, I have to create an environment of success. The community of my school is filled with underprivileged African Americans and Hispanics attempting to overcome financial and educational barriers by attending college. I saw the need for my class to improve our ACT scores because standardized tests are directly correlated to financial aid packages and college acceptance; I became the lead in developing the first after-school ACT study group for struggling seniors.
The award is named after Mary Ann Wallace who worked as an educator in Jersey City Public Schools and ended her successful career as a principal after 39 years. However, after her career ended in the public schools, she continued to educate others by mentoring those seeking principal certification. A woman of faith, she was a longtime parishioner, active volunteer, Eucharistic Minister, and lector at her church.
Pictured with the winner is the Executive Director of the scholarship, Aileen McCormick, who said to the senior as she was handing him his certificate, “You are a great example of what Cristo Rey Jesuit can do for young people.”