Previously, I mentioned that The Wire’s portrayal of our city schools inspired me to get involved in education for my year of service. Our education system simply fails to meet the needs of our children, especially in low income areas, and many students don’t have the same opportunity to succeed in their educational journey as those in more privileged areas (Check out author Jonathan Kozol on this, too).
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, where I’ll be working, provides an affordable private school for families from Baltimore’s disadvantaged areas. It strives to prepare its students for college, work, and life.
Cristo Rey Jesuit in Baltimore is part of a larger network of 22 schools called the Cristo Rey Network. Each school is specifically tailored for low income families. The model that the network uses is absolutely genius. Let me explain: Each student’s education is funded in three ways: First, 60% (here’s where you can brace for the brilliant part) is actually earned by the student. Second, families contribute up to $2,500 to tuition. Lastly, the school’s development office secures a scholarship sponsored by generous individuals and foundations to cover the remainder of tuition.
The student actually pays for part of his or her education through a corporate internship with a local office (Cristo Rey Baltimore’s partners include PNC Bank, Legg Mason, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and AEGON). Yup (and this is where I start to get giddy), the student gains real experience in a real office setting with real professionals. AND, not only is the student gaining this experience, but he or she is able to gain a real sense of ownership for their education.
Without realizing it at the time, I actually worked with some Cristo Rey Network students from North Cambridge Catholic High School last summer at my internship with Brodeur Partners in Boston. They were great kids who had no problems in a corporate setting and it was easy to forget that they were only in high school.
When I read about Cristo Rey’s model and Corporate Internship Program, I knew it was a special program that I would love working for.
(If you would like to learn more about the origins of the Cristo Rey Network and its Corporate Internship Program, check out G.R. Kearney’s More than A Dream: How One’s School’s Vision is Changing the World.)