New Catholic high school offers opportunity
NORTH PHILADELPHIA - February 28, 2012 (WPVI) -- 31 students have already been accepted as freshmen at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School.
The new Catholic college prep school is located at Broad and Duncannon streets, the site of the former Holy Child School.
Central to its success is the work/study program, in which students work one day a week, to help finance their education.
"They say it's going to help out my tuition and I really wanted to pay back my parents for all the years they put up with me," freshman Simon Velez said.
The full-time internships will be shared by four students in professional, corporate settings. Comcast is one of Cristo Rey's biggest employers, providing five jobs for twenty students. Four students will intern in Mayor Michael Nutter's office.
"Working and going to school seems like it's going to be hard, but I'm ready for the challenge," freshman Cildayjah McLaughlin said.
The business partners pay a $30,000 salary to the school, which offsets about sixty percent of the cost of educating four students.
"We will only accept students who cannot afford to go to other private schools," Cristo Rey High School President John McConnell said.
Families are only asked to pay $100 per month.
So far Cristo Rey has 450 applicants. 125 ninth graders will be admitted in September.
"We want to meet as many students as we can in order to give them that opportunity," Director of Admissions Flannery O'Connor said.
With 24 schools in other cities, Sister Vickie Perkins started the Cristo Rey School in Kansas City six years ago.
"You watch them four years later opening letters of acceptance from college, leaving for college, and know that they're going to make a difference in the world," Sister Vickie said.
Sister Vickie says 100% of all Cristo Rey students are accepted to college and a vast majority of them graduate.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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