Erika Petersen: First Few Weeks at an Eventful High School
The first time I met the Cristo Rey San Jose High School Advancement team in person was at their Oktoberfest event. At this event, I was able to meet many of the amazing people who provide funds for the school and make this accessible private education possible. I was blown away by the amount of effort and design that had gone into the event planning for what proved to be a successful Oktoberfest event. The food and drinks being served had all been donated from companies and it was inspiring to me to see how their generosity truly transformed the event. Overall, the first day was extremely rewarding and allowed me to create strong bonds with my team.
Leading up to my first day at the school, I was not aware of how prominent the wealth gap was going to be. On one side I am a part of the events team, developing lavish events for wealthy sponsors. While on another side I am working at the high school, speaking to the students that go there, and recognizing that none of them live in these luxurious worlds. However, I noticed that they are all very grateful to be a part of this well-funded program that provides them with the tools to be successful. The work I do for the advancement team is important and learning about the student’s dreams and aspirations past high school and even after college, only reinforces this.
Cristo Rey San Jose Highschool works to address the inequalities present for minority students as well as those who come from lower-income households by providing affordable private education that promotes academic success. The fundraising events earn the funds necessary to continue putting these students through the school and into better colleges and universities. These events also help Cristo Rey find new corporate sponsors to employ the students for their yearly internship. These internships are essential for funding the school and furthering the student’s skill set. Without these events and the promotion of what Cristo Rey does, the high school would not be able to offer these students the resources they may need to help them succeed.