Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis High School is celebrating a huge accomplishment: Every one of its graduating seniors has been accepted at a two- or four-year college.
This is the sixth year that Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s has been open, and only it’s third graduating class.
The college-prep, inner-city school recruits from some of the toughest areas of the Twin Cities, but it’s turning out graduates who are finding success after high school.
This Saturday, 48 graduating seniors will take the stage and accept their diplomas. Some students were accepted by as many as seven schools.
Seniors credit teachers and the program Christo Rey has in place as the secret behind their success.
It’s finals week at Christo Rey, and Edgar Alcantar is all smiles. He’s been accepted to St Mary’s University in Winona.
“I’ve accomplished a lot during these four years,” Alcantar said. “I want to study English in college or writing so I can be a lawyer.”
Alcantar says teachers at Christo Rey helped him achieve his dream of going to college.
“They actually help you out a lot. They push you to the limit,” he said.
Edgar’s cousin by marriage, Emerald Alcantar, is also going to St. Mary’s.
“Teachers are always…holding college up in front of us like the big reward that we’re going to get at the end of this,” Esmerald said.
She has a full scholarship, and credits Christo Rey’s corporate work-study program with helping her succeed.
“Christo Rey has helped me develop a lot of skills that I didn’t even realized I had,” she said.
The program pairs students with a corporate partner, and they gain work experience during the school year.
Cristo Rey President Father Tim Manatt, S.J. says this component is crucial in preparing students for college and career success.
“What our students learn, especially as part of the corporate work study, is how do you advocate for yourself. How do you recognize and own up to your own limitations, and then how do you overcome them,” Manatt said.
This year’s graduating class received 145 acceptance letters from 37 universities and colleges in 13 states.
They also pulled in more than $820,000 in scholarships.
Many former students return to campus to visit teachers and to work with a full-time graduate support coordinator – who helps guide them through college and makes sure they get their diploma.
Next year, they expect to have to cap the freshman class at 130 students, which is a 30-percent increase over last year.
Word is getting out and, and many middle schools are pushing for their students to attend Christo Rey.