New Cristo Rey High School set to open in Tampa, offers students chance to work as they study

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jul 13, 2016

Cristo Rey Tampa High School at Mary Help of Christians Center is set to open to its first freshman class in just a few short weeks. 

The Catholic high school will be part of the Cristo Rey Network, a national association of high schools founded in Chicago in 1996.

The school offers an affordable college preparatory education for kids from lower income families in Tampa. 

According to their "who we are" section, the school is based off an innovative program through a corporate work-study program that allows students to pay for a portion of their education through real-work experience. 

Students will work five days each month in entry-level positions that they are assigned in the local community. The kids receive rides to and from work each shift. 

"Here we have 14-year-old students, who have been cleared by the Department of Labor to go to work, in an education assistance program through the corporate work study program, who are actually providing for their own education," said Cristo Rey Tampa High School President, Charles Imbergamo. 

Students go through a pre-screening process to understand their goals and interests in hopes of placing students in fields they desire. 

JaMonte Washington, 14, hopes to be a chef someday, so he's hoping to get placed in a restaurant style setting. He says it's important so that he "can learn about the business of how things work financially."

Cristo Rey has almost two dozen local businesses who are supporting the program, including Amalie Arena, BST Consultants, Coca-Cola Company, TECO Energy and the Columbia Restaurant. 

The national impact statistics that made Washington want to be part of the first graduating class are impressive. The school boasts a 100 percent college acceptance with a 90 percent college enrollment.

Cristo Rey Tampa Bay HS has 93 students enrolled for 2016-2017 and are still looking to add a few more freshman.

To qualify, you must meet certain income guidelines, as well as certain grade averages and good discipline and attendance records.

Along with adding more students, the high school is looking for more business partners to help give students work-related experiences. 

You can contact the school at 813-621-8300 or visit them online here.