After 10 months of construction, the northwest lot of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was transformed into a beautiful new practice field featuring an artificial turf. Over 100 students joined the Belen administration, members of the alumni association and the Jesuits to celebrate the inauguration and blessing of the 3-acre practice field Jan. 14.
“The new field is also a learning environment, an extension of the classroom,” said María Cristina Reyes-García, school principal. “Our students will develop many important life skills that they will need to succeed in life.”
The new field will be named the Hernandez Family Field after the donors whose great generosity helped finance the construction of the new athletic facility, located just beyond the Nike Hill. The field will be used by athletes who play soccer, lacrosse and football, and by track and cross-country runners. In addition, 400 meters have been added to the cross-country course and the shot put.
“Our family is eternally grateful to Belen and the community it has created. In the effort to show our gratitude, we would like to help with the addition of the Hernandez Field. We have created the Hernandez Family Foundation with the intention of giving back to organizations making a difference and Belen could not be a better place to start,” said Rudy Hernandez, ’93, when the family announced their gift in January 2013. “Our family, Rodolfo and Mercy Hernandez, parents of Rudy Hernandez, class of ’93, Danny Hernandez ’97, Greg Hernandez ’04, and grandparents to current student Adrian Hernandez, ’17, are all very excited to be a part of the continued growth of Belen.”
The lot was acquired by the school in 2006 but was unable to be used until the Miami-Dade County Commission approved the development plans. “It took the vision of the Jesuit Fathers and the administration to see the potential,” said Athletic Director Carlos Barquin. “Several obstacles had to be overcome in order for the turf field to be laid down including clearing trees, negotiating with our neighbors, acquiring permits, civil plans and prepping the land.”
“This sports complex does not guarantee success, but it sure gives us a much better opportunity to do so and less of an excuse to do otherwise,” said Barquin. ”
This gift that was given to our school community by the Hernandez family will be used by countless numbers of students for several generations and they will know that it was by the effort, dedication and love of Belen that made it possible,” said Jesuit Father Pedro Suarez, school president. “We are grateful to them for their generosity and for the example they give to the community.”