Cristo Rey San Diego High School began to offer classes in August, the culmination of a three-year process to offer an innovative Catholic model of education to low-income families.

The 62 students in the inaugural freshman class began their classes online on Aug. 19, given the health orders in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The school, located in the Southcrest neighborhood of San Diego, continues to accept applications from teens who would be entering ninth grade. Tuition averages $67 per month at Cristo Rey, compared to around $1,500 per month at other local Catholic high schools.

The school, the 37th one in a network across the nation, is able to offer a college-prep education by offering a mix of classes and work experience. Each student works one day a week at a white collar job, with groups of four working at a corporation or nonprofit organization per week. The salaries they receive help pay for tuition.

The freshman class attended a virtual three-week “Summer Success Academy” where instructors taught them workplace basics, such as how to use the Microsoft Office suite and how to conduct themselves in a professional setting.

The academy ended on Aug. 21 with a festive event dubbed “Draft Day,” when groups of four students at a time found out which employer had picked them to work at their organization. Given COVID-19 restrictions, the employers introduced themselves to the students via Zoom on a big screen.

Full story at The Southern Cross.