By Nyesha Stone
After opening its doors in 2015, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee, 1215 S. 45th St., will be relocating to 1818 W. National Ave. It will be the first high school in the Clarke Square neighborhood.
According to the President of the school, Andy Stith, most of their students are Hispanic and come from households that make less than $33,000 a year. By moving and creating a new school on National, they’ll be able to serve more low-income students, he said.
The new location makes Cristo Rey more accessible, said Stith. Students can take the city bus straight to school, which is near Marquette University. The new school will have a better gymnasium with an usable stage, an area for green space, more parking spaces and a small theater, according to Stith.
Due to the school’s success, Stith and his team knew they would either have to add on to their current building or relocate. Cristo Rey Milwaukee is currently residing in the former St. Florian Parish School building with some of their classes being in the church’s basement.
Although the students are in an older building, the school ensured that the students wouldn’t be left behind. Each student is gifted with a Chromebook laptop for all four years, which they can take home. All the classrooms are updated with newer desk—similar to college—with white boards, projectors, and more.
“Students are going to get a really solid education [here],” said Stith to parents who are considering enrolling their children. “We really have deep experiences in what families (low-income) need for support.”
But, one major program this school has that most Milwaukee schools are missing is a Corporate Work Study Program. Once a week, the students work at a corporate job—through the school’s partners with places such as Northwestern Mutual—to see and understand what it takes to succeed in real life.
This program one of, and still is, the key elements to the whole Cristo Rey Network. The first Cristo Rey school was founded in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago through The Society of Jesus, which was responding to needs of that community. Within a couple of years, Father John P. Foley took on the task of creating a Christian-based school for low-income students in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Foley wanted the school to be free of tuition, but equipped with the best tools and staff, so he created the Corporate Work Study Program. Instead of the jobs paying the students, the money is given to the school, which then is used to provide students with an A-1 educational experience, according to Stith.
There are 35 Cristo Rey Schools and collectively they’re educating over 10,000 students, said Stith.
This is the first year Cristo Rey Milwaukee will have a senior graduating class, and each of the students will be eligible for an $18,000 scholarship for college, plus other amenities.
“We know when parents choose us,” said Stith, “They’re preparing for the future.”
The new Cristo Rey Milwaukee location will be opened at the earliest by 2020.
To learn how to enroll your child visit http://www.cristoreymilwaukee.org/