Anthony Sifuentes earned the distinction of being named valedictorian of the Class of 2023 at Cristo Rey St. Viator in Las Vegas. But he also will be remembered as the school’s first valedictorian — and the first recipient of the Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, Scholarship.

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school, announced the new scholarship at the graduation ceremony Saturday, which took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall. He said the scholarship serves as a lasting tribute to Fr. von Behren and his leadership in starting the new school.

“His enthusiastic spirit and leadership, warm and inviting personality, and his personal commitment in creating a school culture where every student feels safe and loved, has set forth a guiding vision for Cristo Rey St. Viator for generations to come,” Fr. Francis said.

In receiving the scholarship, Anthony met its criteria of demonstrating outstanding academic success, personal leadership and exhibiting personal and moral integrity.

Fr. Thomas von Behren introduced many new traditions, including a ring ceremony to seniors in February.

The creation of the scholarship — and its first recipient — was a thrill for Fr. von Behren, who also graduated with the class. After leading the school through its first four years, he will step aside this summer to allow Mrs. Lisa Cano-Burkhead to serve as the next president.

“It is a true honor to have a scholarship in my name, however the real honor is that the Viatorian Community has chosen to commit our financial support to deserving students who would otherwise not be able to attend the college or university of their choice,” Fr. von Behren said. “This year’s recipient, Anthony Sifuentes, now will be able to attend Stanford University because of this scholarship. It is my hope and dream that future CRSV students, because of the Rev. Thomas R. von Behren scholarship, will experience the support they need to attend their college choice as well.”

Fr. Thomas von Behren in 2018, with a rendering of the new school.

The annual award is presented and funded by the Clerics of St. Viator, the founding sponsors of the school. The scholarship is in the form of a cash gift of $10,000, to be used for college expenses.