March 3, 2020
Preston Kendall, President, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
Excerpts from an interview with José Elizondo by John Geis
As one of only a handful of graduates to enroll as a senior, José (CRSM ’16, Marquette University ’20) thinks fondly of CRSM as “a place of amazing opportunities.” Cristo Rey St. Martin is a co-sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.
You arrived at Cristo Rey Saint Martin (CRSM) as a senior from Eagle Pass, Texas – population 29,487. How did you end up in Waukegan, Illinois?
As I finished junior year in Texas, my family’s retail furniture business had failed, my father was in Illinois, and my mother was struggling. We were in government housing during middle school into my freshman year. Because of an earlier decision, I decided to leave for Illinois after my junior year.
What decision was that?
It happened when I was 12. We were pretty much destitute. One night, my mom came home at 3 am. I was looking at her face and asked her what was wrong. She said she was so tired. She was keeping us afloat working multiple jobs. I’m thinking, this should not be happening. We’re in the United States, the greatest country in the world. There is opportunity for everybody, do something. I was really emotional – mad at the world. But it pushed me. Right there, I decided I was going to college and become the best person I could be. I didn’t even know what that would look like, but I was going to help my mother and sisters. I never looked back.
Click here to read the full interview.