The following letter was sent by Rev. Christopher J. Devron, SJ, President of Fordham Prep, to parents and guardians. POTS (Part of the Solution) is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Charity of New York. The Sisters of Charity congratulate these fine young men. We also congratulate and thank Fordham Prep for nurturing the students in their outstanding tradition of service and social justice.

Students and proud staff members after their success at the First Annual Ignatian Social Justice Tournament.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

My service as president takes me to various student competitions–mostly in the athletic realm. While I try to make it to games, matches, tournaments and meets across the sports spectrum, there are so many contests I fail to attend.

On Monday, April 23, I attended a most remarkable competition, and one of the most inspiring of any I’ve seen: It was the First Annual Ignatian Social Justice Tournament.

In a “shark tank” format, student teams from five area Jesuit high schools presented to a group of judges on a social service organization that their school served and they felt was worthy of receiving a grant for funds from a generous donor who underwrote the competition. While every organization was guaranteed to receive a grant, the student team that developed the best presentation would take home a bigger grant for its adopted charitable organization. Teams were required to select an organization with which their schools had a relationship. Judges received a rubric to evaluate the effectiveness of each presentation, and the organization’s impact.

Even though it was the end of a long Monday the energy in the room was palpable and the spirit of generosity felt contagious as high school students stood in front of a group of several dozen attendees and the judges to make their case for why their charity should receive funding. Attendees heard extraordinary stories of Jesuit high school students serving Mexican migrants on the US southwestern border; men and women in Camden, NJ who suffer from drug addiction; grammar school children in East Harlem; inner-city youth in need of mentors in Bridgeport, CT; and finally, families served at POTS (Part of the Solution), right here in the Bronx.

I was thrilled that the Fordham Prep team of Chike Odume ‘18, Jonah Shortall ‘18, John Tomsen ‘18 and Michael Tozzi ’18 won first place in the tournament, earning $20,000 for POTS to use to increase its capacity to provide services for our neighbors in need. Our students spoke movingly about what they learned from their interaction with our Bronx neighbors who are served by POTS, and how POTS makes a difference by treating them with dignity, compassion and a comprehensive array of social and human services.

A video of the event is being produced. I hope you make the time to watch it. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating Chike, Jonah, John and Michael for their amazing victory, and in thanking Mr. Paul Homer who coached the Fordham Prep team and supported their efforts. Congratulations, as well, to POTS–for their unwavering mission of love and care for the least of our brothers and sisters.

Rev. Christopher J. Devron, SJ