HOUSTON—On Saturday 60 seniors will become the first graduates of Houston’s Cristo Rey Jesuit on the city’s southeast side.
The high school was established four years ago with a unique model in mind: to teach class for 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, and then have students work all-day jobs on Fridays.
“Every kid who is at Cristo Rey Jesuit has a job,” said the school’s president, Fr. TJ Martinez.
He said the students’ paychecks not only help pay their tuition, but build resumes as well.
“It really challenged the imagination of what we could do in the private school world for children living in poverty,” he said.
So did it work? Just ask Andres Salgado, who says he never ventured far from home prior to high school.
“Most of my life I’ve just been confined to a four-mile radius,” he said.
Next year he will be attending Rice University and majoring in computer science on a full scholarship.
“I’m the first one in my family to go to college, to actually graduate from high school and then go to college—so that’s really big for me and my family,” Salgado said.
Graduating is a really big for Daisy Alvizo’s family too. Her parents did not go to college either.
“I’m going to take full advantage of it and like show them I can do it,” she said.
Every Cristo Rey senior comes from a family who was living below the federal poverty line. All of them now have acceptance letters from top universities.
It is a major milestone for a small school that did not even exist just a few years ago.