UNITED STATES: Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School welcomes 127 new students into its successful Corporate Work Study program
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School which was founded in 2007 and is located in Takoma Park, Md., outside of Washington. D.C., has welcomed 123 freshmen and four transferring sophomores this summer. All students attending Don Bosco Cristo Rey participate in the school’s Corporate Work Study Program where they gain professional work experience and earn money to pay for a portion of their education.
New students started a three-week orientation called Bridge for Success on July 30. The orientation program teaches students what is expected of them at the school, both academically and behaviorally, as well as teaches effective habits to be successful in the classroom, the workplace and life.
Students learn the importance of coming to school or work on time and the school’s basic rules of conduct as well as how to dress professionally, greet people, answer the telephone, file, use a keyboard and a computer, navigate the Washington area’s metro system and much more.
For example, on Aug. 6 students spent most of their day with Ray Green, an executive at Chick-Fil-A who is contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor – one of the school’s corporate work sponsors – to instruct students about workplace issues such as safety, hygiene, sexual harassment and the responsible use of computers and phones.
Bridge for Success is coordinated by interim principal Elias Blanco, Corporate Work Study director Ana Chapa and Raquel Rodriguez. Numerous faculty, staff, alumni and current students lead or assist with various aspects of the program.
Since it opened, Don Bosco Cristo Rey is continually improving and expanding to meet the needs of its students. After its launch, the school’s first major expansion was completed in April 2010 with the addition of a new Library-Technology Center and counseling, youth ministry, student support and administrative offices. The school saw a record-sized freshmen class for the 2014-2015 school year and continues to grow.
A new academic wing added three science labs, five classrooms, the Carlyle Computer Lab, a staff professional resource room, a multi-purpose training room, a counseling and academic center and a new reception area. The new wing provides the necessary technology and space to enable Don Bosco Cristo Rey to grow to its intended capacity of 500 students.
“Don Bosco Cristo Rey has already seen some great student success,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The first graduation took place on June 2, 2011 with 70 graduates who were all accepted to college. Since then, 100 percent of Don Bosco Cristo Rey graduates have continued to be accepted to college, receiving more than $16 million in merit and need based scholarships.”
Don Bosco Cristo Rey is part of the nationwide Cristo Rey Network of high schools that accept low-income, mostly minority students whose families cannot afford a Catholic high school tuition and who are at high risk of not being accepted into a university after high school.
The Cristo Rey program collaborates with local corporations, universities, government agencies and other businesses to provide jobs and related training for its students. These jobs pay most of the students’ tuition and gives them invaluable work and life experience. The work and academic programs at Cristo Rey schools are very demanding for both their students and their families, but the schools have proven highly successful in the 22 years since the first school was founded. Two of the 35 Cristo Rey schools in the network are operated by the Salesians.
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