Viatorians were among the endorsing communities when Cristo Rey St. Martin opened in 2004, and each year they have joyfully attended the Founders’ Dinner, hosted by the school.

This year’s dinner took place April 30 at the school’s new state-of-the-art campus and drew more than 180 supporters. It’s theme was Planting the Seeds for Success, and one of those success stories was in the crowd.

Ervetta Rogers

Ervetta Rogers, a 2012 alumna, was attending the dinner for the first time. She sat with some of the Viatorians, including Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, her former counselor at the school.

“It was an amazing evening,” Ervetta said. “It was so beautiful to see the new school, especially at night.”

Ervetta was a popular member of her class and she served as an ambassador for the school. She still remembers grabbing the microphone and singing at the school’s opening picnic her senior year, drawing her classmates and their families into spontaneous line dancing.

“The best thing the school gave me was support,” she says. “I always felt supported, by my teachers and people like Br. Gosch, and the people I met through the work study program. They gave me all the tools I needed to work in today’s world.”

Ervetta earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, before earning her master’s degree in conflict and mediation at Chicago’s Roosevelt University. She now works as a child welfare specialist, doing intact case management along side officials with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Ervetta performing at the opening family picnic in 2011.

At any one time, she says, she has a case load of 10 to 15 cases, all in Lake and McHenry Counties. Her first priority is always putting the children first, but she also works to link the families to other resources in the community, that they may not know are available.

“It’s very rewarding,” Ervetta says. “I think back to who was there for me when I needed it, and now I’m that person for these kids, who don’t have a voice.

Ervetta, dancing with her classmates

“I’m still learning how to be a person for others, which was one of the pillars of our school,” she adds. “It’s all about support and I’m trying to pay it forward.”