The Cristo Rey schools got their start back in the 90s in Chicago. The Catholic academic scene was a familiar though depressing one. The diocesan high schools were facing serious financial challenges. Those schools had always been the ray of hope for struggling lower-income families who dreamed of an education for their children. The Catholic schools run by the various orders were in good shape because they attracted a clientele that could afford the substantially higher tuition which those schools charged. The Jesuits met with parishioners in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and asked what they needed most. "A good high school" was the unequivocal response.
This short video clip shows what the Jesuits did.
- Arrupe Jesuit High School, Denver, CO
- Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, Chicago, IL
- Christ the King Preparatory School, Newark, NJ
- Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, Atlanta, GA
- Cristo Rey Boston High School, Boston, MA
- Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, Brooklyn, NY
- Cristo Rey Columbus High School, Columbus, OH
- Cristo Rey High School, Sacramento, CA
- Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, Houston, TX
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago, Chicago, IL
- Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, Kansas City, MO
- Cristo Rey New York High School, New York City, NY
- Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School, San Jose, CA
- Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, Waukegan, IL
- De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, OR
- DePaul Cristo Rey High School, Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
- Detroit Cristo Rey High School, Detroit, MI
- Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Washington, DC
- Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
- Immaculate Conception High School, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, Lawrence, Lawrence, MA
- Providence Cristo Rey High School, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
- St. Martin de Porres High School, Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
- Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
As this 2019 screenshot from the Cristo Rey web site shows, these schools are having an impact.
I can attest personally and professionally to the effectiveness of the Cristo Rey approach. In the 90's I was Deputy-Director of R-E-S-P-E-C-T Academy in Nassau, Bahamas. The school was the brain-child of Dr. Elliston Rahming, a brilliant criminologist, and educator who understood that high school students needed to have an education which was two-thirds academic and one-third practical or work-study. Besides running the academic side of the school and teaching English and history, I had the responsibility for signing up corporate and professional partners to take my senior class one afternoon a week. I well remember my colleagues in other schools saying that it couldn't be done. That the kids would go AWOL and so on. Of course, one or two tried playing that game. But they quickly learned the consequences were not worth it. To make a long story very short, my two adopted sons thrived in the Academy's program. One was apprenticed to a European-trained chef at age 14 and has gone on to become a Sous Chef in a major resort. The other son parlayed his work-study at one of the government departments into a very successful career as an IT manager for one of those departments. We gave those boys and all their classmates a chance. Most of them grabbed on and never let go just like the young man in the following clip.
- "More Than a Dream: The Cristo Rey Story"
- New Investment Expands and Strengthens the Cristo Rey National Network of High Schools, Responding to the Needs of Urban Youth
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