Christmas gift for students in East San José

Press Release 

Christmas gift for students in East San José

Jesuit Cristo Rey San José High School set to open in 2014

John A. Sobrato and B.J. Cassin spearhead new Catholic high school for underserved East San José students.

San José, December 19, 2012:  Just in time for Christmas, the Board of Directors of Cristo Rey San José High School led by co-chairs John A. Sobrato and B. J. Cassin announced that its charter was approved by the Cristo Rey Network on December 12. The California Province of the Society of Jesus endorses the new high school; the Diocese of San José and Five Wounds Portuguese National Parish support the latest Cristo Rey school set to launch in 2014.


Twenty-five Cristo Rey schools in 17 states and the District of Columbia provide a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to 7,400 young people living in poverty whose families make less than $35,000 a year in urban communities with limited educational options.  Headquartered in Chicago, the Cristo Rey Network was founded in 1996.


In consultation with the Society of Jesus, the Cristo Rey San José Board of Directors also named Rev. Peter Pabst, S.J., as school president.  Rev. Pabst founded Sacred Heart Nativity School for boys in 2001 and Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for girls in 2006. He currently serves as president of these urban Catholic middle schools that seek to educate 129 low-income students from the Washington-Gardner neighborhood of San José to enter college preparatory high school programs.


“Serving at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools has been a great joy,” said Rev. Pabst. “I am excited to have the opportunity to launch another school for members of our community who find themselves underserved.  I look forward to helping these young people come to know their dreams and to help realize them. To graduate 125 students a year who are college-ready is a blessing for their families and for our community.”


Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop of the Diocese of San José, echoed his support that “the Society of Jesus has a long history and commitment to Catholic education nation-wide and particularly in the Diocese of San José. I am excited about the launch of Cristo Rey San José as an opportunity to bring education to those most in need on the east side of San José.”


Besides being challenged by a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that prepares them for college success, Cristo Rey students participate in an innovative Corporate Work Study Program that provides them with real-world work experience. Every student works five full days a month to fund the majority of their education, all the while gaining job experience, growing in self-confidence, and realizing the relevance of their education.


Students work at law firms, banks, hospitals, universities and in other professional settings in jobs arranged for them in a fee for service agreement between the school and its corporate partners. Students build résumés that are the envy of their college-bound peers.


Cristo Rey schools accept students as much as two years behind academically and catch them up to grade level in four years. They are proving that the most vulnerable and at-risk youth in America can and will succeed in college when given a high-quality high school educational experience. These schools give parents another choice for educating their children. They strive to break the cycle of poverty through education.


For the classes of 2008-2011, 88% of Cristo Rey Network graduates enrolled in college – twice the rate of their peers of the same socioeconomic background. For the classes of 2008 and 2009, 90% have persisted into their sophomore year. And 21 graduates have been named Gates Millennium Scholars since 2008.


Cristo Rey San José will open on the campus of the former diocesan Five Wounds School on East Santa Clara Street near Hwy 101. A freshman class will be admitted each year until the full enrollment of 500 students is attained in 2017.

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