This summer, Jonathan Andrade Plascencia, Class of 2022 and current student at Cornell University, is one of 20 fellows participating in the Open Quantum Initiative Fellowship Program (OQI) through the Chicago Quantum Exchange. He is part of a cohort of 3 fellows at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Through the Fellowship, Jonathan (pictured at Fermilab) will continue his research in the Quantum Computing field that began during his CRJ Advanced Placement (AP) Research class. “It's amazing to see Jonathan take what he started in AP Research and have the chance to spend a summer working in a Quantum Laboratory to not only learn, but contribute to, the growing body of knowledge of Quantum Computing," said teacher Jack Nash.

Jonathan’s curiosity and eagerness to explore new things is what started his interest in quantum computing. “A quantum computer is a really powerful computer. The U.S. Department of Energy, IBM, Google, and more are struggling to build these complex machines - not because these organizations are not good, but because the machines and concepts are so new and complex that we’re still figuring out how to make them work without error. AP Research allowed me to have freedom to really explore this topic, and most importantly, feel supported. Mr. Nash taught me to go deeper in my critical thinking. Now, in my research at Fermilab, I'm using math to develop and apply new computer coding to try and reduce the errors that occur in quantum computers.”

Jonathan is looking for more than just solutions to computer errors in his experience at Fermilab and OQI. “More important to me, what I hope for is that I grow my inner peace with where I am in life. Last year, before coming to Cornell, I would sit in the chapel at CRJ, and I would ask God to give me strength because I was so uncertain about what college would be like. Those prayers were answered by giving me the ability to take on the hardest challenges in my life, opportunities for me to grow, and discerning who I am. As people, we want to feel we're doing something good in our lives and that we're doing the right thing. The best thing we can do is discern this together.”

Jonathan credits CRJ with offering him freedom in AP Research to pursue his passion, but even more, for providing the encouraging environment and supportive teachers. “Many times it is hard for a 15-year-old to get a glimpse of what's out there. The most incredible thing someone can offer somebody is to support a student on their journey. Without the support I received, I don't think I would be where I am today.


Following the commencement ceremony, many graduates posed for pictures with faculty and staff.

As I walked around our school building following the graduation ceremony we hosted in our gymnasium for the Class of 2023, I noticed something that had not caught my attention previously. The graduates weren’t leaving! For every senior, the thought of charging out the door to summer freedom and the awaiting college adventure comes to mind often, especially in the weeks leading up to graduation. In the midst of all the smiles, hugs, and celebration following graduation, it seemed like this class lingered longer for some reason. They were exchanging customary congratulations and introducing family members to one another. What also kept grads at school, however, was the longer goodbyes to teachers, staff members, and coaches who helped them to grow in their time at Cristo Rey Jesuit. I am sure this happens to some extent at most high schools, but I am fairly certain that anyone who would witness this at Cristo Rey Jesuit would see that these goodbyes carry on for a much longer duration than would be expected from newly minted grads who are anxious to get to the next chapter of their lives.

In order to learn, students need to feel that they are in a place with people who genuinely care about them. Learning implies that in the struggle to grow and obtain knowledge, students need to take risks in their classes. They need to step outside of what is comfortable to them to gain a new insight or perspective. The only way they’ll do this is if they experience their school community as a loving, caring place. One of our core values as a Jesuit high school is “cura personalis” or Latin for “care for the whole person". This core value asks us to demonstrate love in our actions and care for one another in order to bring us closer to understanding and experiencing God's love for us.

Recently, we received the results of the exit survey of our senior class. As part of the survey, students gave the following responses:

  • 91% of seniors felt like “there was at least one adult at CRJ they could trust”
  • 93% of our seniors had “meaningful friendships with Cristo Rey peers.”

In reflecting on this data and my observation following graduation, it is clear that our graduates recognized the many ways that they were assisted in developing a healthy love of self and one another in our community. 

St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Love has no meaning if it isn’t shared. Love has to be put into action.” While love of self or another isn’t measured in a test score, we are called as a Christian community to put love into action. As our graduates move forward on their respective paths, it is my sincere hope that they will share their gifts and talents generously with others just as they have witnessed staff members and peers do with them at our school. With the love our grads have experienced in their families and with our Jesuit and Catholic values, our graduation signifies the foundation they’ve developed to be men and women of character, conscience, and compassion for our world. We’ll all linger a little longer to celebrate that! 


Congratulations to the Class of 2023! On June 2, 88 Cristo Rey Jesuit (CRJ) students crossed the graduation stage and received their diplomas. For the 5th year in a row, 100% of CRJ’s new graduates were accepted into four-year colleges or universities and most will be the first generation in their families to attend college. Collectively, the class earned more than $17 million in institutional scholarships and grants toward their college education.

In her address to the graduates, Salutatorian Pamela Almaraz said, “Cristo Rey makes their goals for us very clear: ‘Cristo Rey Jesuit graduates will be open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, work experienced, and committed to doing justice. They will become leaders committed to a lifelong pursuit of learning, faith and justice.’ Today, that is what I see: young, empowered men and women ready to “Blaze a trail.” Every day, I see us living out these values as young men and women filled with knowledge and wisdom.” Almaraz will be attending Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall.

Valedictorian Arlin Sanchez spoke about the hunger that drives the graduating class. “Out of all of the things I have learned throughout these years, the most important lesson has been to be hungry - to be hungry for desire and be hungry for change. Hunger is what the Class of 2023 has.” Sanchez will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

President Andrew Stith reminded the graduates that they did not achieve this accomplishment on their own, and they will not be alone in the future. “While this day commemorates our graduates' achievements over the last four years, I ask them to remember all those who supported and believed in them. Trailblazers lead but do not walk the journey alone. As the Class of 2023 moves on to the next steps in their educational journey, know that we all remain with you in a trailblazing spirit.”

View Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony


To introduce the opportunity of a Cristo Rey Jesuit education to Milwaukee’s north side, CRJ began a new partnership with HOPE Christian Schools. To showcase everything a Cristo Rey Jesuit education has to offer, CRJ hosted a shadow day in May for 20 seventh graders from HOPE. Each student was matched with a current CRJ student, and discovered what it’s like to be a Trailblazer for a day. HOPE students met teachers and athletic coaches, explored the Northwestern Mutual Innovation Center, met with representatives from various student clubs and organizations and even played Corporate Work Study Program jeopardy.

When the seventh graders returned to their school, they met their parents and school dean with excitement saying, “It was so fun! The teachers and students are so cool.

I can’t wait to go to Cristo Rey.” Thanks to the admissions and academic staff and the CRJ students for displaying our grad-at-grad values and inspiring future Trailblazers at HOPE Christian Schools.


Milwaukee Stars Merengue

Saturday, November 4, 2023 | Kohl's Innovation Center

W165N5830 Ridgewood Dr, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Milwaukee celebrities take the stage with a professional dance partner to entertain and raise funds to benefit Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s rigorous academics, innovative Corporate Work Study Program and faith formation.


Is your business interested in partnering with our work study program?

We would like to speak with you about how your business or organization can partner with our Corporate Work Study Program! Contact Everette Fernandes at 414.436.4600 Ext. 3141 or

Partner With Us

Make a difference in the lives of CRJ Trailblazers!

The generous support of Cristo Rey Jesuit donors like you makes it possible for us to offer a Catholic, college-prep education combined with unique professional work experience to young women and men of all faiths and limited financial means.

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