Rancho Santa Fe Review, May 2009

Rancho Santa Fe Review, May 2009

Breakfast Honors Student Success

Rancho Santa Fe Review (May 2009)
By David Wiemers

NPA student performers

Rancho Santa Fe—Hosting an impressive group of approximately 500, Nativity Prep held its first annual Breakfast of Champions on April 22. The event was a fundraiser to benefit the college prep school, which alleviates the cycle of poverty through education.

Held at the Mission Tower Ballroom at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the event raised awareness of the school, which was founded in 2001 by David Rivera. The school’s mission is to provide a Catholic Christian college prep, middle school education for the underserved children of Southeast San Diego. “We’ve focused on 12 neighborhoods in Southeast San Diego,” Rivera said. “On average there was a murder a week there. At Nativity Prep, we replace gangs with role models.”

Founder Rivera is living proof that education is the key to ending a destructive life. At the age of 25, Rivera was successful in real estate, yet he said, “I had a very destructive lifestyle… (of) alcohol and drug abuse.” After rehabilitation, Rivera put himself through college and graduated from law school in 1999. He then set out to give something back to the community.

Together with a brain trust, Rivera founded the Nativity Prep School. Now in its seventh year, the school is making a profound impact on its students. Brendan Sullivan, Principal of Nativity Prep Academy, said that the students put in a 10-hour day. School is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and then there are 1.5 hours of either study hall or athletic programs. Daily attendance is an impressive 98 percent and the parent/teacher conferences have a 100 percent attendance average. Sullivan quoted Mother Theresa, “We do small things with great love.”

Several former students are now in college or about to enter colleges and universities. “You have a chance to change a life,” former student Deon Randall said to the crowd. At age 11, Randall watched his father die of diabetes, yet he never let his grades falter. The inspiring young man is now being courted by several Ivy League universities to play football and receive scholarships. “You have sponsored my future,” he told the Breakfast of Champions audience.

Nativity Prep Academy has high hopes for Randall and all students like him. Their expectation is that students succeed in high school and college and become role models and leaders in their communities. The Breakfast of Champions was chaired by Jamie Carr and the entire breakfast was underwritten by Dawn and Michael House, Linda and Deacon Mike Daniels, and Judy and Tom Thompson.