Cristo Rey High School OpensBy Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem - November 27, 2004. East Harlem has a brand new high school within it’s confines. Cristo Rey New York High School, opened it’s doors to 99 students on September 7, 2004. The 99 students are from the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Manhattan students include those from East Harlem and Harlem. Cristo Rey New York is a Catholic High School. It’s the school that works, because it quite literally is the school that works. All students work full time five days out of the month to garner over 70% of their tuition, with their parents paying the remainder, which comes out to $200.00 a month.
None of the work is at the school. Most of the jobs are located at Wall Street, or Midtown, the West Side and in East Harlem proper. Students are escorted to work daily by Cristo Rey staff, faculty and volunteers. The students are divided into four cohorts (teams) which work on the same day of the week. For instance, there is a Tuesday cohort, a Wednesday cohort , a Thursday cohort and a Friday cohort. Cohorts work on the day they are assigned, the day they represent. So a student in a Tuesday cohort, works every Tuesday. Mondays are rotated by the four cohorts so that Tuesday workers work Monday and Tuesday on the first day of the month, and Wednesday workers work the second Monday of the month and so on. This setup doesn’t stay quite so neat as some months have more than four weeks in them, but the rotation stays the same. Once a month all student work a Monday.
Money earned by the students goes directly to the school. It’s a way to ensure that the school is viable and there to offer the opportunity that many families would not have had without this way of funding a school.
The Cristo Rey educational opportunity is available only to those families who would not have been able to afford the other Catholic High Schools in the city. Any family found to be able to afford the other Catholic schools will not have their child accepted. They will be asked to attend those other schools.
Cristo Rey New York High School offers a great Catholic education, to those families who would not have had the chance to enter their children into a college preparatory, dual language, coeducational Catholic institution. And it’s good to see that those who are usually forgotten are getting an even chance to do their best.
As they settle into their new home, East Harlem.com welcomes Cristo Rey to our great community.