Cristo Rey helps

low-income students

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

We are delighted to welcome Cristo Rey Richmond High School to our growing network of 35 Catholic high schools, 12,012 students and more than 15,000 alumni nationwide. Each time a Cristo Rey school opens, doors of opportunity open for more deserving young people.

The Cristo Rey Network has taken up the challenge to exclusively serve youth who come from families with economic need and do not have access to a quality education. Our model is distinctive: The Cristo Rey Network is the only network of high schools in the country that integrates four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience through the Corporate Work Study Program. The impact is evident: Cristo Rey students are three times more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to the total U.S. low-income population.

Our movement started in 1996, when Jesuits in the Chicago area wanted to find a way to serve the local Latino community. After speaking to people in the neighborhood, the Jesuits learned what they wanted most was a college-preparatory high school.

Then they faced the challenge of being able to finance the project. The three-Jesuit team organizing the new schools asked a consultant for ideas on how to sustain a private school for students and families who could not afford to pay for it. He suggested that every student have a job through the Corporate Work Study Program. That was the origin of the Cristo Rey concept.

What we offer our students and their families is a concrete path to a future they had only dreamed of . In today’s world, there are so many young people who are not given a chance to develop their God-given abilities.

Our story continues to unfold 23 years after the first Cristo Rey school opened. We are pleased that Cristo Rey Richmond will be part of this exciting adventure and remain blessed by the support of those who make this work possible.

The Rev. John P. Foley, S.J.

Chair Emeritus,Cristo Rey Network.Chicago.

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