Dream Lives After Priest Death

Beloved Houston priest's dream lives on after death: Record $2.6 million raised for his city-changing school

Loved priest's dream lives on after death: Record $2.6 million raised

0232 Culver and Joan Stedman, from left, and Alma and Antonio Salman at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Culver and Joan Stedman, left, with Alma and Antonio Salman. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0518 Mary Tere Perusquia, left, and Melissa Schnitzer at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Mary Tere Perusquia, left, and Melissa Schnitzer. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0567 Kim Gabel at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Kim Gabel. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0497 Paul and Joy Posoli at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Joy and Paul Posoli. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0459 Mary Jane and Bob Wakefield at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Mary Jane and Bob Wakefield. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0411 Sheri Gross, left, and Beth Tilney at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Sheri Gross, left, and Beth Tilney. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0664 Mimi and Larry Levine at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Mimi and Larry Levine. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0296 Susan Jhin, from left, Cathy Borlenghi and Susan Gorman at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Susan Jhin, from left, Cathy Borlenghi and Susan Gorman. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0237 Dan Parsley, left, and Ricardo Perusqia at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Dan Parsley, left, and Ricardo Perusquia. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0166 Sara Dodd, from left, George Farish, Martha Oti MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Sara Dodd, from left, George Farish and Martha Oti. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0261 Elizabeth and Will Galtney at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Elizabeth and Will Galtney. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0030 Carol Beck, left, and Grace Kim MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Carol Beck, left, and Grace Kim. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0186 Lupe Fraga, from left, Susan Tumminello, Irene Fraga and Peter Tuminello at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Lupe Fraga, from left, Susan Tumminello, Irene Fraga and Peter Tuminello. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0167 Trey Martinez, left, with Jan and Oneil Mendenhall at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Trey Martinez, left, with Jan and Oniel Mendenhall. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
283 Alen and Valentina Atkinson at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Alen and Valentina Atkinson. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0028 Phil and Sally Edmunson, from left, and Brian and Jacque Branda MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Phil and Sally Edmunson, from left, and Brian and Jacque Branda. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0246 Cindy Kahle, from left, Dabney Pierce and  Jim Pierce at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
Cindy Kahle, left, with Dabney and Jim Pierce. Photo courtesy of © CatchLightGroup
0232 Culver and Joan Stedman, from left, and Alma and Antonio Salman at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0518 Mary Tere Perusquia, left, and Melissa Schnitzer at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0567 Kim Gabel at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0497 Paul and Joy Posoli at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0459 Mary Jane and Bob Wakefield at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0411 Sheri Gross, left, and Beth Tilney at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0664 Mimi and Larry Levine at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0296 Susan Jhin, from left, Cathy Borlenghi and Susan Gorman at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0237 Dan Parsley, left, and Ricardo Perusqia at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0166 Sara Dodd, from left, George Farish, Martha Oti MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0261 Elizabeth and Will Galtney at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0030 Carol Beck, left, and Grace Kim MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0186 Lupe Fraga, from left, Susan Tumminello, Irene Fraga and Peter Tuminello at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0167 Trey Martinez, left, with Jan and Oneil Mendenhall at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
283 Alen and Valentina Atkinson at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0028 Phil and Sally Edmunson, from left, and Brian and Jacque Branda MCW at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015
0246 Cindy Kahle, from left, Dabney Pierce and  Jim Pierce at the Cristo Rey Jesuit Gala January 2015

The legacy of the much-beloved Father TJ Martinez, founder of Cristo Rey Jesuit, shown brightly throughout the ballroom of the Hilton Americas-Houston where more than 1,200 revelers raised a record $2.6 million.

Applause, applause for chairs Mary Tere and Ricardo Perusquia and Beth and Schuyler Tilney, hand-selected by Father TJ almost two years ago with the goal of raising the level of fun and raising record dollars. They succeeded in both.

The rollicking Héctor Tirado y Su Grupo of Mexico City performed for four non-stop hours making 10 costume changes and keeping the dance floor packed until 1 a.m.

 “We began searching for the miracle that would keep TJ here. The miracle is Cristo Rey Jesuit. The miracle is these children. The miracle is you." 

But the evening was not without a contemplative note. Before the party action went full throttle, guests were reminded of Father TJ's transformational work as founding president of the school that serves 500 students from low-income families. Following a moving video tribute to Father TJ, Trey Martinez, brother of the late priest, spoke on the family's behalf.

“We began searching for the miracle that would keep TJ here," he said. "The miracle is Cristo Rey Jesuit. The miracle is these children. The miracle is you. TJ was, is and always will be a part of that miracle.”

Interim president Paul Posoli noted, “Father Martinez built a big boat and we all need to grab a paddle to keep this mission moving forward.” He added that the current class of seniors has earned $4 million in college scholarships.

The revelers included Cathy and Giorgio Borlenghi, Melissa Schnitzer, Mindy Hildebrand, Annette and George Strake, Marcy and Robert Duncan, Trini Mendenhall, Tani and Tony Sanchez, Jan and Oniel Mendenhall, Eduardo and Vanessa Sanchez, Daniela and Manolo Sanchez and Aimee and Wynne  Snoots.