Preston Kendall, president of Cristo Rey St. Martin, was honored by the Justinian Society of Lawyers and Judges of Lake County as their “Person of Faith” at a Mass and awards ceremony, Sept. 30, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Libertyville.
“Through his work at Cristo Rey, Mr. Kendall empowers and encourages his students from under-served and low-income communities to develop their minds and hearts to become life-long contributors to society,” said Judge Luis Berrones, in presenting the award to Kendall. “The passion Preston exudes when speaking about the school, the mission and the students is contagious.” Judge Berrones described how Kendall is a Northwestern University graduate with a B.A. in English and Writing and has a Masters of Management from The Kellogg Graduate School of Management.” In addition to the high school, Kendall serves on the boards of the national Cristo Rey Network, Arrupe College of Loyola University and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee.
“In 1996, he heard his calling and became part of the leadership team that founded Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago,” said Berrones. “It is profoundly moving to witness the duty and devotion Preston has to creating greater opportunities for these students in life.”
The award is bestowed each year at the Justinian Society of Italian-American Lawyers and Judges of Lake County at their annual Red Mass. It recognizes a person of faith, compassion and humanitarian qualities who has “served others beyond their professional roles and truly exemplifies the work of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
In receiving the award, Kendall said it belongs to the teachers, staff, parents and community of Cristo Rey St. Martin.
“This is bigger than one person and I think the award should be changed to ‘persons of faith,” said Kendall. “We are all called on to love one another. But love is a team sport and this award belongs to everyone at Cristo Rey St. Martin – and to all of the lawyers and judges and those in our community who help provide a safe place and love our students.”
At a reception and awards ceremony following the Mass, Kendall was honored along with Judge Thomas Schippers, Presiding Judge of the Law Division of the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lake County, who was selected as the honorary chair and recipient of the 2017 Judge Robert S. Smith, Jr. Humanitarian Award. The award was inaugurated in 2010 after Judge Smith passed away in 2008. Judge Smith was once described as “the kindest judge, the kindest lawyer, the person who talked with a sweet voice and who took a loving approach to life.”
A Red Mass is a mass celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for judges and lawyers as they begin a new term, traditionally held before the beginning of the Supreme Court term.