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.