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“Learning To Work And Working To Learn” At Cristo Rey

Catholic Times • February 8, 2015

“Learning to work and working to learn” is a phrase that encapsulates the professional work-study program at Cristo Rey Columbus High School. It’s also the key to helping the school provide a college-prep education to students with otherwise limited resources.

“Cristo Rey Columbus is based on the proposition that all students will benefit from a great Catholic college-prep education. In this era of high tuition, some families simply can’t afford it,” said Jim Foley, president of Cristo Rey Columbus. “Our professional work-study program makes that education affordable while exposing our students to professional careers.”

The national educational model developed by the Cristo Rey network 18 years ago offers Cristo Rey Columbus students the opportunity to work one day each week in the professional offices of local businesses and organizations, all while completing a full-time load of college-prep classwork. The money the students earn by working is directly applied to the cost of their education. In some cases, the students are offered the opportunity to earn a personal paycheck during holiday breaks and summer vacations.

“The Cristo Rey Columbus work experience provides a window into a successful, achievable future that our students have likely never dreamed could be theirs,” said work-study program director Carolyn Flahive. “These students are working in law offices, hospitals, banks, arts organizations, and government offices and learning professional skills, as well as making community connections.”

Since the school opened in the fall of 2013, Flahive has secured positions at national companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Safelite. and SafeAuto, as well as local businesses and organizations that include Bricker & Eckler, Dawson, Kimball Midwest, Commerce National Bank, Lancaster Pollard, BalletMet, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the City of Columbus, and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

The Cristo Rey work-study program is “one of the best investments we have made ... period,” said Steve Kennedy, managing director at Lancaster Pollard. Adds Judith A. Johnson, director of personnel at Porter Wright, a law firm in Columbus, “Our students are thoughtful, interesting, and simply delightful young people.”

Flahive is diligently working to add work-study positions to accommodate the anticipated enrollment of 140 freshmen for the 2014-2015 school year. Work-study teams consist of students from all grade levels, which, beginning in the fall, will include juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.

“All of us at Cristo Rey Columbus are truly excited about the good things we see happening with our students and the vital role our work-study partners play in that process,” she said. “But we need more businesses to join with us to help our students achieve their goals.”

Businesses that are interested in learning more about the professional work-study program at Cristo Rey Columbus can contact Flahive by phone at (614) 223-9261, extension 12005, or by email at cflahive@cristoreycolumbus.org.