Students Inspired by Cornelia’s Words

By Fr. Joseph P. Parkes, S.J., President of Cristo Rey New York High School

“Be yourself, but make that self all that God wants it to be.”

Cornelia Connelly’s famous words hang on the assembly room wall at Cornelia Connelly Center, and they’ve stuck with CCC graduates Hiliana Arroya and Jasmine Herrera as they embark on their first year at Cristo Rey New York High School.

The two CRNYHS freshmen have fully emerged themselves into high school, building new friendships, reconnecting with other CCC graduates now at CRNYHS, and joining clubs like choir and art club. “High school is great. It’s challenging, but some things come more naturally than I expected.¬† I’ve always loved science, and my time at CCC prepared me for these harder science classes more than I thought they would,” said Jasmine.

Jasmine and Hiliana, CRNYHS Class of 2019, stop by the library on a dress down day.

Hiliana is particularly excited about her Corporate Work Study job. Every Monday, she heads to the Catholic Medical Mission Board. “They’ve set really high expectations for me, so sometimes it’s hard,” she said. “But I know that I’m learning a lot, and with time, I’ll be able to achieve everything they want me to and more!”

Both girls feel that Cornelia’s values have been helpful in more ways than one. “Thinking of Cornelia reminds me to be courageous, to advocate for myself and be strong,” Jasmine said. Hiliana added, “At CCC, I learned to persevere like Cornelia did, and I use that skill all the time. I always ask, ‘what would Cornelia do?’ Plus, being so familiar with Cornelia helped me ace a quiz about her at Cristo Rey!”