“Jesuit education was in my family and my dad was an educator who understood the power of learning,” Cretella says. “He always said that the Jesuits will make you learn how to think. Thirty years later, it is still the truth and I tell that to any prospective student or family.”
Cretella’s physical journey to the Prep started in Secane, Delaware County and it was life-changing. In addition to teaching him “how to learn,” it also gave him relationships that he still values.
“I talk with someone from the Prep on a weekly basis and it has been that way for years,” Cretella says. “The relationships that you form at 17th and Girard will last for the rest of your life. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never been in that environment. It’s just different and you have to see it for yourself. There is so much involved in it. It’s not just a high school. You see the brotherhood, the fellowship There is a common mission statement amongst everybody who chooses the Prep.”
Cretella says that he has used those Prep values in his work life. “At the Prep, we learned how to disagree and I credit the Jesuits with that,” he says. “I may not agree with everything that is said, but it’s ok to disagree because at the end of the day you are thinking about something a bit differently. From a business perspective, if there is an issue, I try to look at it from different angles. Those years at the Prep helped me learn how to do that.”
Also, Cretella learned the importance of surrounding yourself with smart people. “I was an average student, not a star, but I kept plugging along,” he says. “I never want to be the smartest person in the room and I surround myself with people who help me look at things differently.”
After years of working in sales and marketing, Cretella joined Harbor Technologies, an IT company owned by his dad, and was Director of Sales when it was sold. Now he runs a property management company and is an entrepreneur, investing in small businesses.
He continues to support his alma mater, both with his time as an active member of the Alumni Association and a class rep and also with his resources as a major donor to the school. He said that was instilled in him early on.
“When I was at the Prep, we were taught that it is important to be a Man for Others,” Cretella says. “If I have the ability, and I am grateful that I went, it is my responsibility to help someone who wants to go to the Prep, to help someone get what I got out of the Prep or more.”