By LESLIE COLLINS
July 25, 2012
Cristo Rey Kansas City aims to set up its students for success not only in high school but in college.
“This (school) is for kids who have economic needs and most likely will be the first in their family to go to college,” Cristo Rey Director of Marketing Rebecca Summers said.
One-third of Cristo Rey students hail from the Historic Northeast, she added.
To lessen the financial impact of attending college, Cristo Rey enlisted the help of the community to create “grad packs” for recent graduates.
Community volunteers stuffed each backpack with college and dorm room essentials, like a flash drive, sheets, comforter, graphing calculator, composition books, laundry basket, among others. Each backpack has an estimated worth of $400, Summers said. Those contributing to the backpacks included Garmin Industries, Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club, Ladies of Charity and Christ Community Church.
Cristo Rey distributed the backpacks to recent graduates during its July 19 College Send-off Night.
Providing these backpacks lessens the burden on financially strapped families, Summers said.
A recent Cristo Rey graduate and Historic Northeast native agreed.
“Getting all this stuff for free is great, so families don’t have to be worrying about paying for sheets and stuff like that for their students,” Rayan Morales said.
Morales is an incoming freshman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and plans to major in computer science. When Morales first began attending the private college prep school, he doubted he would attend college.
“My freshman year I didn’t even think I would go to college,” he said. “As I hit my sophomore year, I started looking at it different.”
It was inspirational talks from Cristo Rey teachers and guest speakers that changed his mind, he said.
Morales will be the first in his family to attend college.
As Morales reflected back on his high school career, he called it a “great experience.” He commended the work-study program and said he feels confident about his resume and new work connections. He’s also ready to conquer the college experience.