Posted February 27, 2019
Cristo Rey Jesuit Demonstrates True Grit While Scoring First-Ever Varsity Championship

BALTIMORE, Md., February 27, 2019 – “Thirty seconds of magic.” That’s how Cristo Rey Jesuit School president Dr. Bill Heiser describes the video footage documenting the school’s first-ever MIAA “C” Conference Championship win against reigning title-holders, Annapolis’ Key School Obezags, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Federal Credit Union Arena on Feb. 24.

In that 30 seconds, as the Cristo Rey Jesuit Hornets rush the court, embracing one another and hoisting the history-making trophy high above their heads, the expression on their faces says it all: persistence, determination, and service pay off in a big, big way.

It’s a lesson these individuals embody on a daily basis.

On Sunday evening, the team, led by Coach Derrick Lifsey, Assistant Coaches Jason Eckles and Joe Binder, and Athletic Director Eric Toedtman celebrated their landmark achievement with camaraderie and pride.

Early Monday morning, it was back to the books. According to Lifsey, who is also the school’s Dean of Students, the team was brought together once again – this time to regroup, refocus, and re-prioritize. The celebration was undoubtedly well-earned, but these students – students who regularly balance academics with rigorous corporate internships at partner companies – must always be mindful of their myriad responsibilities; of the multiple balls in the air that are juggled far from the gymnasium floor.

For the seven seniors on the team, those responsibilities include college applications. Like the ten cohorts of CRJ seniors before them, they plan to continue to uphold the “100% college acceptance” accolade the school has maintained since its inception in 2007.

It’s all part of what Lifsey has coined “The Cristo Rey Way,” an ideal that begins in the classroom and segues into on-the-job experiences.

It’s about creating their own success by making the most of limited resources, he says – which includes vying for gym time in a space that pulls triple duty as a cafeteria, an auditorium, and a church meeting area.

Ultimately, it’s about the tenacious work ethic and common core values that Cristo Rey Jesuit’s 350 students share, whether on the court, in the classroom, or while working in the real world, representing their school and its mission.

“We have established a standard of excellence at Cristo Rey,” Lifsey said. “We want to be excellent – at everything. That doesn’t mean we won’t fall short. It doesn’t mean we won’t have any hurdles. But excellence is what we’re striving for. And that’s a measurable thing. Did I work hard today? Did I give it my best? And it’s okay if the answer is ‘no.’ You can always come back tomorrow and try again. But it’s that standard of excellence that I think separates us from a lot of other schools.”

That, and 30 seconds of magic.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, 420 S. Chester Street, Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone: 410.727.3255
Fax: 443.573.9897