100% college-bound in a drop-out prone neighborhood

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Image from school website

Stumbled  upon this news release about Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory’s first graduating class. The four-year-old school is only the 20th nationwide to use the Cristo Rey model.

Through the Cristo Rey model, Christ the King makes possible the dream of a quality and affordable education for students whose families could not otherwise pay the tuition charged by private schools.  Students earn three-quarters of their tuition costs while gaining valuable, life-changing skills and experience through jobs at Chicago area companies.

CHICAGO — Every senior in the first graduating class of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School (CTK) has been accepted to at least one college or university, according to Rev. Christopher J. Devron, S.J. president of the school. The announcement was made at a “College Signing Day Ceremony,” an assembly of the school’s 280+ students this week.

That number is significant in Chicago where it was reported that about 40 percent of high school students drop out and especially noteworthy in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago’s West Side where the challenges for high school students and their families are especially acute.

Eighty-four colleges offered more than 150 acceptances to CTK students. The roster is impressive including: Marquette University, DePaul University, The University of Illinois, University of Iowa, Fairfield University, Bowling Green State University, and Xavier University.

On June 9, this first class of seniors will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. “As we countdown to graduation, we congratulate our seniors on four years of hard work and dedication, and celebrate this significant milestone today as they announce their choices for college,” adds Rev. Devron.

“This is a momentous occasion for us as these young people are paving a way for everyone in this school,” said Darryl Hobson, assistant principal. “College is no longer a dream, but a reality.

During the signing ceremony, every one of the 50 members of the Class of 2012 took the podium to announce his or her college, share a favorite CTK memory and offer a pearl of wisdom for the student body.

“Don’t ever let people set limitations for you,” senior Shaquocora Henderson, who will enter Marquette University this fall, told the student body. “Go hard toward your goals and never stop dreaming. You have to do whatever you can with whatever is necessary to make it happen for yourself.” (see other senior profiles)

A Chicago-based web software developer presented every graduate with iPads, a case and a $25 gift card for apps.

Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, located on the West Side of Chicago in the Austin neighborhood, opened in August 2008 to educate the area’s underserved teenagers and their families. Small, safe and faith-based, Christ the King expands on a tradition of successful education with a new urban idea and is one of 24 schools in the Cristo Rey Network. All students participate in the Corporate Work Study Program, where they earn the majority of the cost of their education by working entry-level professional positions five days per month.

This year, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory students worked with more than 80 businesses and earned more than $1.7 million toward their educational expenses. The school looks to expand the number of businesses involved as the school enrollment continues to grow.

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