Cristo Rey Tampa Class of 2023 Staircase
Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School celebrated its fifth graduating class at its Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 1, in the Mary Help of Christians Gymnasium.

The Class of 2024 is comprised of thirty-nine students, and 100% were accepted to colleges and universities across the United States. They earned 407 college acceptances and more than $5.1 million in scholarships.

Graduates are going on to attend Boston University, the University of Central Florida, the University of North Florida, the University of South Florida, and the University of Tampa, to name a few.

The Mary Help of Christians Gymnasium was filled with family, friends, Corporate Work Study Partners, and Cristo Rey Tampa supporters for this memorable occasion. Keynote speaker Ernest Hooper, Chief Communications Officer of United Way Suncoast and journalist, praised the class that started high school during a pandemic for their perseverance during an unknown and tumultuous time. “You’re going to be fine. No, you’re going to be great,” Hooper shared as students listened intently to a man who once sought refuge in his journal writing and went on to become a gifted writer. He reminded students, “this is your moment to succeed- not just for yourself but for a world that needs your creativity, your intelligence, and your strength.”

The Cristo Rey® model is set apart from other schools by its Corporate Work Study Program. Our Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) Partners invest their time in our students and introduce them to the workplace. CWSP supervisors brought greetings and shared sentiments about the students to announce the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. They play an integral role in a student’s high school journey; not only do they introduce them to work life, but they serve as role models, teachers, and mentors and are part of the Cristo Rey Tampa family.

Angelica Lopez (4.5 GPA) is the valedictorian and will attend Florida State University to pursue a degree in political science. Alexandra Velasquez (4.08 GPA) is the salutatorian and will attend the University of North Florida to study nursing.

The 5th Annual Commencement Ceremony closed with a blessing by Fr. Franco and cheers from students and their families.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024, and thank you to the cheerleaders—teachers and staff, Corporate Work Study Partners, parents, and friends—who supported the students during their high school years.

Join us in welcoming Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School’s newest alumni, the class of 2024. Remember, once a Panther, always a Panther!

Photos: Joe Photo Tampa