Portrait of a Graduate: Destiny Perez

“Is Destiny our intern today?” is the question several teams in the marketing department of Walgreen Co. ask regularly, according to Maureen McKee, executive administrator of the firm’s retail marketing department. “With the answer of yes, everyone smiled.”

The “Destiny” she is referring to is a member of CRSM’s Class of 2014 graduation class. A stellar student who received multiple awards at the send-off ceremony, Destiny has been an employee at the nation’s largest drugstore chain throughout her four years of high school, winning rave reviews from the mentors and “co-workers.”

“To think that I am only 18 years old, and I can tell future employers when I graduate from college that I’ve worked at a multi-billion dollar company, that’s pretty exciting,” said Destiny. “The first day I came to work and sat in a cubicle, I realized what can be. And everyone there, came by to smile, be patient with my mistakes and mentor me. We are no longer strangers, we are family.”

Destiny’s success at Walgreens speaks volumes about how CRSM and the Cristo Rey network of 26 high schools from Portland, Oregon, to Brooklyn, New York, is succeeding in getting low-income, minority students ready for college at schools across the country.  Through the Corporate Work Study Program, students are paired up with professionals who show them that there is life beyond the streets of Waukegan and North Chicago.

Destiny knows there are no shortcuts to success and that she has to put in the time. Like her peers who work in the health care industry, law firms, insurance companies and other businesses, Destiny has learned how to handle office work, man reception areas and online customer service — really the nuts and bolts of American business, where showing up to work on time, following directions from supervisors, dressing appropriately and conducting oneself in a professional manner is expected.

Walgreen Co. is among the about 80, corporations, banks, law firms, hospitals, companies and non-profit organizations that provide job opportunities for CRSM students. Companies and organizations range from Abbott Laboratories, American Hotel Register Company and Aon Hewitt to Cardinal Health, Lake County Recorder of Deeds, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Chicago Bears Football Club.

At Walgreen’s, Destiny works with the marketing team to plan and organize meetings for the management and leadership teams, bringing her face-to-face in meetings with CEO Gregory D. Wasson.

In the classroom and extracurricular activities at CRSM, Destiny also was a shining star. She won the senior “Outstanding Work Study Award,” and received highest performance for all CRSM students for all four years and was honored for her excellence in athletics in volleyball, basketball and soccer. “This school helped to shape my morals and to help me understand that it is so important to be a man and woman for others. It is our duty to help others no matter where we are, the corporate world, or coming back to mentor the students behind us.

Destiny plans to major in pre-law at Carthage College.

“The most important lesson I have learned is to set high goals for yourself and take on the hardest challenges,” says Destiny

“Destiny is dependable, reliable and enthusiastic,” added Walgreen’s McKee, about the company’s first student who worked there all four years of her high school. “We all know that Destiny is a great student in addition to our senior intern.  We all know that Destiny will be a successful woman.  I will never forget seeing her walk down that hallway to leave, knowing it was my Destiny.”