Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Chicago)

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Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
1852 West 22nd Place
Chicago, Illinois 60608
United States
Coordinates 41°51′6″N 87°40′22″W / 41.85167°N 87.67278°W / 41.85167; -87.67278Coordinates: 41°51′6″N 87°40′22″W / 41.85167°N 87.67278°W / 41.85167; -87.67278
Type Private, Jesuit
Motto Men and Women for Others
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1996; 21 years ago (1996)
Founder Fr. John P. Foley, SJ
Oversight Cristo Rey Network
President Antonio Ortiz
Principal Patricia Garrity
Grades 912
Gender Coed
Enrollment 575 (2008)
Color(s) Maroon and Gold         
Nickname Cristeros
Team name Lions
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition Adjusted to family income

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is a Jesuit high school on the near southwest side of Chicago, Illinois, in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. It is the founding school of the Cristo Rey Network.[1] It was founded in 1996 as a way to help low-income students get an affordable, private, college-preparatory education. The school places students at entry-level jobs which cover roughly 65% of tuition costs. Cristo Rey students work for five days a month and attend classes four days a week. The Corporate Work Study Program is part of the school curriculum, therefore if a student is dismissed from their job, they are considered to have failed in that course.[2] [3]

The Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP)[edit]

In order to make private, college-preparatory education affordable to at-risk young people from Pilsen, an economically challenged area in Chicago, Cristo Rey developed an innovative work-study program for high school students called the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) which combines two commonly used business concepts, employee leasing and job sharing. This program was created by Richard R. Murray in 1995 when he was approached by the founders of Cristo Rey, who brought in Murray to help figure out how to finance their new school.[4] Chief among these founders was Fr. John P. Foley, S.J.

This initiative gives students the means of financing a private high school education that would otherwise be unaffordable for students in the Pilsen/Little Village area. Incorporated as the Cristo Rey Work Study Program, Inc., the CWSP allows each student to earn 65% of the cost of their education by working five full days (9am to 5pm) each month in entry-level positions at businesses and non-profit agencies in Chicago. "They're working at places like Ernst and Young, Bank One, and the Chicago Board of Trade."[1] Over 90 companies participate in the CWSP – Chicago’s major banks, law firms, hospitals, and consulting firms.[1] Students also work at several non-profit agencies.[5]

The Corporate Work Study Program has been incorporated into the school's curriculum and has evolved into an innovative means of providing students with hands-on, white-collar work experience, while simultaneously financing a major portion of their high school education. As a result of working in a business environment, students acquire job experience and marketable skills, develop a network of business contacts, gain exposure to a wide variety of career opportunities, and improve in their work ethic and self-esteem.[6]

Chapel of the Sacred Heart[edit]

The school's chapel, dating back to 1904, was renovated by Newman Architecture in 2010 at a cost of $2,540,000. It is a landmark to the city of Pilsen, but had been unused and in disrepair. It memorializes people of deep significance to the current school community: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego and the Jesuit martyr Miguel Pro. The stained-glass windows as well as grand retablo behind the altar portray Gospel scenes, Jesuits, and the school community in its cultural context and colors. Access is now directly from the school.

Book about Cristo Rey[edit]

In January 2008, Loyola Press released More than A Dream: How One School's Vision is Changing the World. The book, authored by G. R. Kearney, a volunteer teacher for two years at the school as part of a Georgetown University postgraduate program, documents the success of Cristo Rey in Chicago and the development of the Cristo Rey network of schools. Twenty-three notables are quoted on the Loyola website, commenting on the Cristo Rey model.[7]


Forty percent of the students participate in the athletics program, including varsity, junior varsity, and intramural sports. Cristo Rey’s athletes practice at the local Harrison Park, with its new turf field. Over the years Cristo Rey athletes have collected numerous trophies – league, regional, and sectional championships.[8]


Student leadership and activities[edit]

Cristo Rey fosters leadership and well-rounded growth through various extra-curricular activities.[9] These include:


Jesuit Volunteer program[edit]

The Cristo Rey Jesuit Volunteer program (CRJV) was created in 1999 to enhance the school's limited resources. Volunteers are university graduates from throughout the United States who assist at the school for two years, teaching, driving the Corporate Work Study Program busses, and supervising clubs or activities.[10]

Cristo Rey Student Volunteer[edit]

As part of their mission to be “men and women for others,”[11] Cristo Rey students are required to complete a minimum of 20 service hours per academic year, to enrich their own education and reach out to their communities, through work at community organizations, soup kitchens, homes for the elderly, and at home improvements, teaching, and catechizing, among other service opportunities.[12]


VIVA is an annual event that brings together 1,000 of Chicago’s business professionals to support the students at Cristo Rey. Since 1998, VIVA has raised a cumulative of nearly 3 million dollars that has gone directly to student scholarships and financial assistance. Ninety percent of the students who attend Cristo Rey Chicago receive scholarships and financial aid. The school distributes nearly $800,000 per year in scholarships and financial aid.[13]

What began with Fr. Foley at Cristo Rey in Chicago had drawn national attention, even before it was featured on 60-minutes. "A $22 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and venture capitalist B.J. Cassin is funding schools modeled after Cristo Rey in 10 other needy communities."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "In A Class By Itself". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  2. ^ "About Cristo Rey – About Us – Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Curriculum – Academics – Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  4. ^ Kearney, G. R. (2008). More than a dream: the Cristo Rey story: how one school's vision is changing the world. Chicago, Illinois: Loyola Press. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0-8294-2576-5. 
  5. ^ "Partner List – Corporate Work Study Program – Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  6. ^ "Impact - Cristo Rey Network". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  7. ^ More Than a Dream
  8. ^ "Championships – Athletics – Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  9. ^ a b Student Activities
  10. ^ "About Jesuit Volunteers - Miscellaneous - Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  11. ^ For others
  12. ^ "Service – Service – Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Cristo Rey Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 

External links[edit]