Each year, officials with Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep salute their “founders” or longtime supporters and religious communities — including the Viatorians — who helped the school open, back in 2004.

This year’s event, held in the school’s new location at the gateway of the city of Waukegan, IL, drew nearly 350 guests and raised $765,000. Those funds were earmarked to help the school continue its mission of providing a college prep education and advance phase II of its new building.

(L-R) Br. Michael Gosch, Mr. Michael Odiotti, Br. Carlos Flórez, Fr. Dan Hall, Fr. Mark Francis, Fr. Thomas von Behren, Mr. Robert Leong, and Associate Jim Thomas, back row.

“Thank you for being here tonight, and even more importantly, thank you for being founders of our school,” said Preston Kendall, president of Cristo Rey St. Martin. “As founders, we create opportunities. This is just the beginning.”

Future phases for the school complex include a gym, chapel, fine arts facilities and other enrichment opportunities. The dinner itself took place in the school’s new cafeteria, which is big enough to accommodate the school’s entire population, or nearly 400 students.

Each classroom is equipped with SMART Board technology and is enclosed in glass

Several Viatorians attended the dinner, including: Br. Carlos Flórez, Fr. Mark Francis, Br. Michael Gosch, Fr. Dan Hall, Fr. Dan Lydon, Fr. John Milton, Fr. Thomas von Behren, and Associate Jim Thomas — who serves on the board of trustees — and his wife, Associate Joan Thomas.

“It was a great evening for the school,” said Fr. Milton, who continues to serve as a consultant to the science department. “Even better was the fact that everyone attending the dinner could see the science classrooms next door and all of their new equipment.”

The event celebrated Principal Michael Odiotti for his 10 years of leadership.

“We celebrate Mike’s passion and perseverance,” Kendall said. “Cristo Rey St. Martin’s would not exist today without his hard work.”

Fr. John Milton helps students with a physics project

The featured speaker for the evening was one of its graduates. Octavio Adrian Brindis was a Gates Millenium Scholar and valedictorian of his Class of 2010. He now is headed to Columbia University in New York to pursue a doctoral degree in education.

Octavio Adrian Brindis, 2010 graduate

“I am very blessed to be here surrounded by so many people who have made an impact on my life,” Brindis said. “My elementary and middle school teachers didn’t really talk much about college as an opportunity for me.

“Standing in this building today,” he added, “makes me think of the larger impact that Mr. Odiotti and CRSM had on my life and the lives of others.”