In the second annual Ignatian Social Justice Tournament, Cristo Rey New York High School in Manhattan placed first among six Jesuit schools and received the $30,000 top award, which will be donated to LSA Family Health Service, located near the East Harlem school.
The tournament took place April 8 at Loyola School in Manhattan, which was one of the participating schools. The other four schools were Xavier High School and Regis High School, both in Manhattan; Fordham Prep, the Bronx; and St. Joseph Prep of Philadelphia.
“It felt really good to come in first place, and it felt really good raising money for LSA,” said Nathanael Hinds, a senior at Cristo Rey New York, who interned at LSA Family Health Service when he was a sophomore.
“That’s how I fell in love with LSA, and that’s how I fell in love with helping others.”
Nathanael said the LSA staff was grateful to receive the funds. “We sent them a video of us winning, and they put it on their website,” he said.
The tournament, a student-centered initiative, is designed to support the charity or organization each school’s Christian service programs already assist.
Jim Rowen, a 1982 graduate of Fordham Prep who is grateful for his Jesuit education, donated $120,000 to sponsor the tournament, up from $70,000 last year.
Rowen, a financial services executive, is also a former chairman of the school’s board, and a Fordham University graduate. Each school earned part of his gift—the winner received $30,000; two second-place finishers, $22,500 each; and three third-place finishers, $15,000 each.
Joe McQuarrie, a religion teacher and campus minister at Cristo Rey New York, was one of three school adult leaders who guided the Cristo Rey NY students in preparing their presentation. “It was a moment of great, great pride and excitement,” McQuarrie said of the reaction by Cristo Rey students and school leaders upon winning first place.
During the tournament, several students from each school were given 10 minutes to explain why their charity or organization deserved the money, and how they would use it. The students—23 in all, mostly upper classmen—then took questions for five minutes from six judges (one from each school) who selected the winners.
Here are the tournament results, with the school names, the amount received and the organization for which each school was competing:
Cristo Rey New York, Manhattan: $30,000—LSA Family Health Service, Manhattan. LSA, founded by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, helps poor families through advocacy, a food pantry, a thrift store, nursing services and parenting/child development.
Xavier High School, Manhattan: $22,500—Community Help in Park Slope, which feeds the hungry and shelters homeless women and their infants thanks to a community of Brooklyn neighbors, volunteers and friends.
Fordham Prep, Bronx: $22,500—St. Ignatius School, Bronx. St. Ignatius is a Jesuit middle school that empowers students in the South Bronx to become their best selves.
Loyola School, Manhattan: $15,000—West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps, a Christian ministry, supported in part by the Presbyterian Church USA, which assists West Virginia families impacted by natural disasters or struggling with poverty.
Regis High School, Manhattan: $15,000—Thrive For Life Prison Project, creates opportunities for spiritual development and provides educational resources for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons, in partnership with local universities and employers.
St. Joseph Prep, Philadelphia: $15,000—PAR Recycle Works, Philadelphia, a nonprofit electronics recycler that provides transitional employment to people returning from prison.