Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School (CRAJ) opened its doors on July 14, hosting 139 students who are taking part in CRAJ’s summer enrichment academy. The students – along with more than 20 others who are taking summer enrichment programs elsewhere – will make up the first freshman class, which will begin their formal studies on August 4.
A collaborative work of the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces, and the first new educational work of the collective region, Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit is located in midtown Atlanta and is the newest addition to the Cristo Rey network of schools. It joins 27 other schools in the nation that provide students from low income families with valuable corporate work experience in addition to education in a college preparatory environment.
All enrolled students at CRAJ will work five days each month at organizations that have established a relationship with the school. As school president, Bill Garrett pointed out recently in an interview on NPR, the students will hold a wide range of positions. Some will serve as tour guides or staff reception desks; others will take on jobs such as translating documents, or positions that are more complicated and which would normally be reserved for someone with a college degree.
The income generated from the students work, offsets 60% of tuition fees and prepares students for the next step, which is college. Mr. Garrett pointed out that 100% of Cristo Rey graduates in the last two years have been accepted into college – over 1400 nationwide in 2014.
CRAJ has received generous public and private support from companies and individuals in the Atlanta area and beyond; generous gifts from the Jesuits, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and from the CRAJ board of trustees provided the initial funding for the school.
“The faculty members are very excited, the building is finally ready and the students are anxious to figure out what is expected of them,” Mr. Garrett said. “We are grateful to be able to provide outstanding opportunities for students in the Atlanta area and are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we have received. We look forward to forming our students to be men and women for others.”
For more information on Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, visit www.cristoreyatlanta.org.