The Class of 2022’s Salutatorian: Jose Rafael Gonzalez


Chinwe Onwere

It’s official: Jose Rafael Gonzalez is the salutatorian for 2022!

As someone who has had the luxury of having Rafael in many of my classes, I can say he is one of the most kind and compassionate students I have ever met.

After high school, Rafael is attending the Colorado School of Mines and planning on majoring in engineering. At Holy Family, he is heavily involved in theatre, starring in both the fall play Frankenstein and the spring musical Crazy for You. Aside from his theatre expertise, Rafael is also involved in the publishing of the Literary Magazine Club, sings in the choir, and is in the National Spanish Honor Society. Prior to coming to Holy Family, Rafael was a student at Global Village Academy in Northglenn.

However, the ‘title’ of salutatorian shows relative insignificance for Rafael, who believes that there are more important ideals to aspire to.

“Dang. Well, it’s a title. I don’t feel like I deserve it, nor should I be congratulated for it. I recognize it as something relatively unimportant. More than anything, it may be a sign of misaligned priorities: choosing to pour so much time into academic work. Not to undermine the importance of academics; but I don’t recognize this as the “most important” use of time. Something that would be important and worthwhile is practice in discipline, virtue, and service/love towards others. But, in those more important fields, I am deficient. A hypocrite. It’s ironic because I believe in these high ideals; yet I do nothing to work towards them. I’ve been blessed with so much just to end up squandering my gifts,” Rafael remarked.

“However, something I’ve done which I do consider to be an achievement is: gaming. Beating all the bosses in Hollow Knight on Radiant difficulty (i.e., hitless). Getting S-Rank in all Cuphead bosses. Collecting 201 strawberries in Celeste (and working toward my 202nd). Now those are achievements where I recognize my own skill/ability. Not academics.”

The humility that Rafael exemplifies not only shows through his academic work, but through every aspect of his life. So many students spend hours upon hours studying and working in order to achieve the glorified title of being the best in their class, and while all of that is plenty well, there is more to high school than that. School is not only meant to develop the mind, but ultimately should help to develop our hearts to become leaders of change.

We look forward to hearing what Rafael has to say for graduation!