November 29, 2018 marked ICA Cristo Rey’s 135th birthday. Dr. George Fornero, the school’s principal, shared the multi-generational story with heart and humor. Remarking that in 1876, San Francisco was considered “a foreign mission,” Dr. Fornero said, “Had it not been for Mother Pia agreeing to travel from Brooklyn to San Francisco back then, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Dr. Fornero asked how many of our seniors were 17 (the same age as another of the founding sisters who made the journey to San Francisco). Many seniors raised their hands and voices, perhaps sensing similar cross-country trips in their college futures.
A miraculous shift in the wind saved our current property from fire destruction following the 1906 earthquake. The sisters had packed their valuables and prepared to flee, and a statue of Mary sat with them on the steps as the sisters prayed. After the building survived, Dr. Fornero had the students do some quick mental math to reveal that the statue, still in the convent today, has been with us for 112 years since the earthquake.
Students delighted in seeing images of ICA’s history as photographic technology progress. A picture from ICA’s first prom in 1945 was a crowd favorite, and the fashion of the 1970s garnered laughs. Mr. Vince Leach, a beloved teacher at ICA Cristo Rey for 35 years, provided a personal timeline of the changes in fashion and hairstyles.
The girls also remarked at a photograph of the former cafeteria payphone. Now in a world of smartphones, Dr. Fornero shared, “Teachers were probably telling the girls to ‘get off the payphone’ then, just as we ask you to moderate your phone use today.”
The presentation brought the story of ICA Cristo Rey up to 2018, with Dr. Fornero motivating the students to work toward graduation and joining 6,600 proud Spartan alumnae.
No birthday celebration would be complete without a sweet treat, so with the help of “It’s It” ice cream sandwiches, another San Francisco tradition, students continued the celebration into their morning break.