Cristo Rey Boston High School Runs Successful Voter Registration Drive
DORCHESTER, MA (April 21, 2023) – Cristo Rey Boston High School [cristoreyboston.org], a private, tuition-free college-prep Catholic high school in Dorchester, announced that on Friday, March 24, with assistance from the Boston Election Department, a highly successful voter registration drive was held.
According to President Rosemary J. Powers, twenty percent of Cristo Rey High School students pre- registered or registered to vote at the event. Ms. Barbara Delaney and Ms. Ellen Rooney from the City of Boston Election Department provided the students with on-site assistance, information, and support.
Ms. Rosemary Powers, President of Cristo Rey, a Harvard's Kennedy School of Government graduate who has held many local and state government positions, was pleased that representatives from the City of Boston Election Department came to the school to enable students to register.
She noted, "Cristo Rey Boston encourages all students to be active and faithful citizens. As the Church reminds us, 'We care. Therefore, we vote'." Registration tables were arranged in the cafeteria during lunch in a spirited and enthusiastic atmosphere. Assistance and Spanish translation, when needed, were provided by veteran staff Ms. Elizabeth Ortiz, the school's Director of Parent Support and Engagement, for the parents who attended.
Organized by Bob Fanning, a special education consultant working with Cristo Rey, who has a deep personal interest in Civics, the event was supported by the Advanced Placement Government teacher, Mr. Daniel Hunt. He helped with planning and publicity, bringing his students and lots of positive energy to the event. Hunt commented, "Political efficacy is something we strive to instill in the students, especially as they prepare to go off to college. Believing you can change the country starts at the ballot box, so we were all very grateful to the Election Department for helping give our students the tools they need."
Cristo Rey High School encourages students to participate in student government. The History of Social Justice in America course is part of the 10th-grade curriculum, and students are highly encouraged to take AP Government as seniors. Engagement in community efforts is part of the yearly planning, including an annual service day. The Catholic Bishops of the United States believe that "Catholic social teaching strongly promotes active citizenship." One student noted, "I feel like I am making a change in my community," while another felt that by registering to vote, "young voices are being heard."
Dr. Thomas Ryan, Principal of Cristo Rey Boston, gave his full support to this initiative and is looking forward to offering the students the opportunity to register to vote again next spring with the expert assistance of the Boston Election Department.
Cristo Rey Boston's model combines a college preparatory education with workforce development skills to help close the opportunity gap for students from under-resourced communities. Students participate in a work placement with corporate business partners one day a week. The school is making intentional investments in the next generation by providing students with exposure to different industries and real- life experiences, setting them on a path to success in college and career.
Cristo Rey Boston High School serves 220 students, predominantly from Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. President Powers commented, "We are incredibly proud of our students, often the first in their families to attend college. Despite challenges, our students persevere and graduate from college at three times the rate of their peers in comparable socio-economic demographics. Cristo Rey Boston students are aspirational and hard-working young men and women who will become future leaders.