The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Yesterday, at our Celebration for the Future event, Baltimore CEO’s, philanthropists, and civic leaders met Mason. We want you to meet Mason, too:

Mason is a Cristo Rey Jesuit graduate. He is wise beyond his years. He is outgoing—not afraid to share that wisdom with whomever he is speaking.

In the summer of 2012, Mason showed up as a freshman for CRJ orientation, better known to students as Prep for Success. He said, “I remember the start. I remember being 14, [going to my internship], and feeling like I didn’t belong. I don’t talk the language they talk I don’t look the way they look. It was intimidating.”

Mason interned at Kelly & Associates, where he met Bryan Kelly and the extended Kelly family. Mason remembers meeting Bryan: “That man, Mr. Bryan Kelly, he said, ‘we’re going to show you the ropes.’”

Bryan recognized a spark in Mason. He shared:

“There’s a lot of bright young men and women in Baltimore City and if you give them an opportunity, I’m confident that they’re going to take it and run with. It’s our obligation to give them that opportunity. To be able to be a little part of Mason’s success brings great joy to me, to our organization, and to our family.”

Cristo Rey-9-19-17_067
Mason and former Senator Frank Kelly, Bryan Kelly’s father. Mason met the Kelly family while interning at their company as a student. 

From there on out, Mason jumped into every activity and opportunity that he was presented with including STEP Team, Campus Ministry, and Student Government. During his time at Cristo Rey Jesuit, he made an indelible impression on his peers and his teachers.

When the streets of Baltimore made the national news in the spring and summer of 2015, Mason was entering his senior year of high school. In a reflection assignment he completed that fall, he said, “A lot of us are getting discouraged. It is hard to survive in our city, let alone be successful. We worry about being safe and protecting our families, so much we tend to bump school down to a third or fourth priority when, at our age, it should be first.”

But, in Mason’s words,

“Each student that walks through Cristo Rey’s door has the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Mason earned his high school diploma in June 2016.

Now, Mason is going to community college, where he is working toward earning a nursing degree. His former teacher and mentor, Christine Gallagher, shared that “Vocation is where your talent meets the needs of the world and Mason has so many talents and gifts. He cares enough about our world to put those gifts to work for Baltimore City.”

“I am not going to school to become a nurse so my friends and I can show off our degrees. I am doing it so I can show my future son or daughter that you can be a successful kid from the City of Baltimore,” said Mason. “The Kelly’s gave back to me. I feel like I have to give back to my community. To them. To Cristo Rey.”

Watch the just-released video, “Cristo Rey: The Light in the City” to learn more, or visit our website at www.cristoreybalt.org.

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