On May 24, 2017, Cristo Rey Boston celebrated its seventh annual Academic Signing Day to honor its top students from the Class of 2017 as well as present a special award to Cristo Rey Boston Board Chair Thomas P. O’Neill III, founder and chief executive officer of O’Neill and Associates. The event plays on the idea of National Signing Day for high school athletes with the top students at Cristo Rey Boston revealing their college choices for the first time as they don the hat that represents the school of their dreams. For the last seven years, 100% of Cristo Rey Boston’s graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges.
Tom O’Neill’s connection to Cristo Rey Boston runs deep. He has served as chairman of Cristo Rey Boston’s Board of Trustees for more than two decades beginning when the former North Cambridge Catholic High School, his alma mater, joined the Cristo Rey Network in 2004. For many years prior, Tom was Board Chair and Member at North Cambridge Catholic. In 2010, Tom helped lead the school’s rebranding to Cristo Rey Boston and its relocation to a larger building, the former St. William’s Elementary School in Dorchester. Tom has been instrumental in advocating for Cristo Rey’s innovative corporate work-study program, a requirement for all students enrolled at the school. Cristo Rey Boston partners with more than 125 local businesses and non-profits to provide work-study job placements where students earn two-thirds of their tuition and gain valuable workplace skills during their four years of high school.
The event held at the Boston Harbor Hotel also featured special recognitions for the school’s top five academic performers and the top three corporate work-study students. O’Neill and Associates’ own work-study senior, Evelyn Nuñez, was recognized for her hard work in the classroom and her three years at O’Neill and Associates. Ms. Nuñez has chosen to attend Suffolk University this fall.
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Robert Deleo joined Cristo Rey Boston President Michael J. Brennan and other community leaders at the celebration. Also in attendance was Father John O. Foley S.J., the founder of the Cristo Rey model and Jim Brett, President of the New England Council.
“We strive to ensure that the experience at Cristo Rey Boston High School is transformational, and that each student gains personal growth in the classroom, in the workplace and in the community,” said Cristo Rey’s Michael J. Brennan. “This event, our largest fundraiser of the year, honors our students, community and the success of the Cristo Rey Boston model. We also wanted to show our deep appreciation for Board Chair Tom O’Neill for his leadership, generosity and dedication to our students and our school.”
Cristo Rey Boston combines a rigorous college-preparatory academic program with a work-study program where students benefit from classroom and work-based learning, and develop the skills needed for college and job success. The school enrolls approximately 360 young men and women, more than ninety-five percent of whom are students of minority backgrounds. To support Cristo Rey Boston and learn more, visit www.cristoreyboston.org.