UNITED STATES: Don Bosco Cristo Rey offers a unique corporate work study program to prepare high school students for college and employment
(MissionNewswire) Launched in 2007, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School is located in Takoma Park, Md., outside of Washington. D.C. The school is a unique partnership between the Archdiocese of Washington, the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Cristo Rey Network of Schools. The school, which is led by founding president Salesian Father Steve Shafran, was started for students who come from limited financial means but have a great drive to go to college and advance their education.
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. Students work five full days each month in entry-level clerical jobs throughout the area. These jobs support their education and provide important skills to help them both get into and succeed in college and later the workforce.
Imani Kakoma is a sophomore at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School and was recently interviewed by the school’s newsletter “Wolfpack Wire” about her experience as a student and worker. Kakoma said in the interview that her experience at Don Bosco Cristo Rey helped her with her future goals by giving her the opportunity to work in a business development field.
“Throughout my two years at Don Bosco Cristo Rey, I have worked with two sponsors. I have worked with Don Bosco Cristo Rey as a principal’s assistant and at THEARC as a fundraiser development coordinator intern,” explained Kakoma. “Working as a principal’s assistant and an intern has helped me learn the logistics of developing a nonprofit company and office management.”
Kakoma also noted that the school’s four pillars of faith, family, future and fun have helped her to become a more well-rounded person outside of school with emotional and spiritual maturity. At school, she is currently involved in multiple extracurricular activities such as the African Student Association, step team and volleyball team. She is also a student ambassador. When thinking about her future, Kakoma has some very defined goals.
“My first goal after graduation is to begin my freshman year at Spelman College with a major in social work or psychology,” said Kakoma. “I then plan to pursue a masters in science, followed by a doctorate in a social science field. My next goal is to open my private practice in social work to help adolescents in high-risk families and communities.”
Don Bosco Cristo Rey has had continual improvement and expansion since its start to meet the needs of students. After its launch, Don Bosco Cristo Rey’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, staff professional resource room, multi-purpose training room, a counseling and academic center and 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 success for its students. 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.