Cristo Rey Jesuit was just an idea when Brian Reynolds first heard about it. Nine years later, it is not only an established school, but his alma mater, and a school the alumna visits frequently for his new job.
In July, Brian, a 2015 Messiah College graduate and former class president of CRJ ’11, started work as a public service fellow for Bridges, a mentoring program that supports middle and high school students from Baltimore City. He works with thirty 10th and 11th graders who go to a wide range of schools, including Poly, City, Mergenthaler, Boys’ Latin, and CRJ. His goal is to help the students be successful in and out of the classroom.
“In middle school and high school, the wheels begin to turn and a lot falls into place for students,” Brian said. “Everybody needs someone to process that with. I like being part of that.”
As a student in CRJ’s pioneering class, Brian was involved in a wide range of activities – from student government to gospel choir to soccer and lacrosse. “Anything I could be a part of, I joined,” he said. “I loved the opportunity to make friends. And we were so small. To make things work, we all had to participate.”
Our corporate internship program drew him to the school – “That was different than anything I had heard about before” – and he tried to learn as much as he could by interning for a different company each year. He worked for Allegis Group, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, WYPR, and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). CIP is another way for students to be successful outside the classroom, Brian said, and he uses those experiences to inform the students he mentors.
Brian recalled that one day in Spanish class, Ms. Daniela Amzel, who is now part of CRJ’s admissions team, shared that she had been a lawyer before she became a teacher. Her varied background got Brian thinking. “I understood that I really could be part of something. I could give back in the way I was given.”
He majored in social work at Messiah College, but had no plans to get involved in education or with students – until his junior internship. Which, as it turned out, was shadowing a high school social worker.
“Even though I said I didn’t want to work with students, I loved it,” Brian said. “I like the paying-it-forward aspect to working with students. And t
o be honest, a lot of that comes from my time at Cristo Rey.”