Congratulations to the Class of 2023!
On Friday, June 2nd 2023, ICA Cristo Rey celebrated its 129th graduation and commencement at St. Ignatius Church on the University of San Francisco campus. Teachers, staff, family, and friends gathered in prayer and celebration of the 72 graduates as they were sent off to their next adventure -- college. The church was filled with proud families waiting to gift their graduates with beautiful intricate leis, money crowns, extravagant bouquets, cultural stoles, and more. It was truly a celebration to remember.
This year’s graduation speaker was salutatorian Jimena Cuellar Gonzalez. As an active member of the community, Jimena was invited to audition for the role and was selected from among six seniors. Jimena spent her speech reminiscing about her four years at ICA Cristo Rey and left heartfelt advice to her fellow graduates. She shared the importance of “finding your people” and sticking with those who support you throughout the highs and lows of life. Jimena took the time to acknowledge all the people who helped mold her into the person she is, and she attests many of her accomplishments to their undying support. Jimena will attend University of Southern California in the fall with a full scholarship as a computer engineering and science major.
The 2023 Commencement Speaker was Dr. Christine Coleman, a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, consultant, and executive coach to women of color. Alums might remember her as Ms. Shayesteh, who was our Personal Counselor at ICA Cristo Rey from 2011-2017. She is also the founder of Sol Sisters, Inc, an organization whose mission is to break barriers for women through education, sisterhood, and community. In her speech, Dr. Coleman inspired graduates with her vulnerability about her educational journey and how she, at first, did not picture herself going into higher education. Her love for learning eventually led her to discover her many passions. She said, "What I was beginning to develop was a drive to climb, a motivation to soar. I was discovering that education was a vehicle to accomplish dreams I never knew I had until I was exposed to more." She closed her speech with a few words of wisdom to the graduates: “When you think, ‘I’ve gone the furthest I can go,’ go farther. When you think, ‘I reached my ultimate goal,’ know that there is so much more on the other side waiting for you.”