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Society / Featured Parties

Houston Private School Raises $2.2 Million in One Miracle Night

Remembering Father TJ at Cristo Rey

BY // 02.05.19
photography CatchlightGroup.com

There could be little doubt that beloved Father T.J. Martinez, founding president of Cristo Rey, was looking down from heaven on the festive proceedings taking place in the Marriott Marquis ballroom on Saturday. For surely, there was divine intervention that on this night inspired the $2.2 million windfall for scholarships to the Jesuit college preparatory school.

In fact, the evening was titled “Viva The Miracle!” in a nod to what has been considered a decade of miracles for the school that launched in 2009.  Though Father Martinez died of cancer in 2014, his vision lives on at the school that today boasts 569 alumni, 540 current students and 170 corporate work-study programs.

As the night progressed, the energy swelled, reaching a crescendo with an unexpected Paddles Up challenge. A generous donor pledged $250,000 if $500,000 was raised in the appeal. In less than 12 minutes, with excitement growing as each paddle was raised, the $500,000 challenge was easily met. Nothing short of a miracle.

Counting their blessings were gala chairs Lisa and Michael Heim and Cristo Rey president Paul Posoli as well as the numerous Cristo Rey students (all on scholarships) and their families that attended the black-tie gala.

In remembrance of Father TJ, as he was affectionately known, the Father TJ Martinez, SJ, Legacy Award was presented to Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza by Cristo Rey Jesuit graduate Victoria Perez. As is tradition, Father TJ’s family joined the festivities including his father Tony Martinez, mayor of Brownsville, and his mother Carol Berryman.

After the live auction and Paddles Up, the party energy kicked up an even higher notch with the sounds of I Love This Band filling the dance floor.

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