By Jessica Easthope
Richie Diaz owes everything to Cathedral Prep High School.
“I had great experiences, I made great friends, had great mentors all of whom on some level reflected Christ and really were my faith,” he said.
Diaz and Steve Somers have that in common, and both men are giving back in their own ways. Richie, now the principal of Cathedral Prep and Steve, a businessman who’s made sure he’s given back to the school over the years – his most recent gift – a donation of one-million-dollars.
“It was an honor to be able to go to Cathedral, I got more out of that than what I gave, I always do, it’s so much better to give than to receive and that’s been the greatest gift in my life,” Somers said.
He made the announcement at a golf outing last month honoring his former baseball coach, Jim Dilj. Though he’s been generous in the past helping the school build a new science lab – a seven-figure-donation was quite the shock.
“There was a moment of disbelief where we the administration looked at each other quizzically like did we just hear that correctly,” said Philip Franco, the assistant principal of academics and admissions at Cathedral Prep.
Now the million dollar question – what’s that million dollars going to be used for? The students wanted their say.
“We had our jokesters who said let’s buy a movie studio or free lunch every day, but they did have some constructive ideas too, increasing technology, after school offerings,” Franco said.
There definitely won’t be a movie studio, but the plan isn’t mapped out yet; however, both Steve and the administration agree allowing students who can’t afford Cathedral to get the same Catholic education they did – would be life changing.
“Their first question is are there academic scholarships, are there scholarships for financial concerns and now this is one way we can again say ‘yes,’ said Franco.
“My father got a second job for me to go to high school at Cathedral and I know how much of a challenge it is today,” Somers said.
There’s no doubt the donation was generous, but Steve says what Cathedral gave him in four years – you can’t put a price on.