The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Thursday (August 4) that Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School will open in fall 2017. The school will offer families with new educational opportunities and an affordable and transformative educational option.
Opening in a leased space at OSU-OKC located at 900 N. Portland Ave., the school’s full enrollment goal is 500 students. The school will serve 125 ninth-grade students in its first year of operation and will add an additional 125 students each subsequent year, until it serves grades nine through 12.
Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School will be a member of the Cristo Rey Network comprised of 32 Catholic, college preparatory high schools that serve more than 10,000 underserved youth across 21 states and the District of Columbia. The schools combine rigorous academics with real-world work experience, seeking to prepare their students for success in college and life. As part of Cristo Rey’s unique Corporate Work Study Program, students work one day a week in professional settings, earning a majority of their own tuition.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said the school is poised to have a tremendous impact on both its students and the city of Oklahoma City.
“I have long been interested in making Catholic secondary education accessible to a wider segment of our community. Cristo Rey offers an affordable opportunity for an excellent Catholic high school education to those students whose families might never have considered such an option. Its unique model provides valuable training and work experience for young men and women as they prepare for higher education and for the workplace.”
Over the past 11 months, in collaboration with Cristo Rey Network, members of the Oklahoma City community conducted a feasibility study to determine whether a Cristo Rey school could succeed in the city. This thorough assessment examined demographic data, educational opportunities, religious, philanthropic and business community support, and other relevant market information.
Bill Price, chairman of the feasibility study team said the community support was overwhelming.
“We have talked to parents who are literally begging us to bring this school to Oklahoma City. They understand how successful this model is and what it can do for their children and their future.”
Price, former U.S. attorney for the western district of Oklahoma, has served for several years on the Oklahoma State Board of Education.
Cristo Rey Oklahoma City has received letters of intent from more than 30 high pro file business executives to hire students as part of the Corporate Work Study Program, including Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, Boeing, Bancfirst, Mercy Health, Phillips Murrah and Cox Communications. Cristo Rey Oklahoma City is seeking additional partners who can provide substantive, productive work opportunities for its students.
Judy Love, co-founder of Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores and the honorary chair of the steering committee for Cristo Rey, remarked, “The Oklahoma City community has once again proven their generosity and commitment to bettering the lives of others. This school will positively affect so many lives by providing the opportunity for students to reach their full potential while exposing them to professional careers.”
Rene Alvarado Porter Chosen as President
The archdiocese also announced that Renee Alvarado Porter, who formerly served as executive director of both ChoiceMatters and Scissortail Community Development Corporation, has been selected as president of the new Cristo Rey Catholic High School. Through her prior work with both organizations, Porter has advocated for policies that support choice in education and more diverse education options for parents and children.
“I believe that every child – regardless of zip code or income – has the right to a high quality education that readies them for success in college and in a career,” Porter said. “I feel deeply humbled and blessed to help establish and lead a school that supports that mission.”
Corporate Partners desired, Student applications encouraged
Businesses looking to participate in the Corporate Work Study Program or wanting to request additional information, should contact Regina Birchum, Director of the Corporate Work Study Program, at [email protected]
Parents who wish to get more information about Cristo Rey can visit the school’s website at www.CristoReyOKC.org or contact school President Renee Porter. Specific application information can be found here. Other contact information is available here.