Cristo Rey Students Join the UST Workforce
Partnership and collaboration with other organizations has always been important to the mission of the University of St. Thomas.
This semester, four new faces can be seen on campus. Monica Tierrablanca, Adam Pavlicek, Magaly Castillo and Jared Rosales are Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School students who are working part-time student jobs as part of a corporate work-study program through their school. UST has welcomed and provided them with entry-level jobs at Doherty Library and in the School of Education.
Cristo Rey Jesuit is a unique, private high school serving economically disadvantaged families in urban communities and striving to empower students to reach their full potential. In addition to having a rigorous academic program, the school utilizes a work-study program as part of the curriculum. Once a week, each student enters the work force at businesses and nonprofit organizations. They are able to finance up to 70 percent of their own tuition through this program.
“It’s a great experience,” Tierrablanca said. “At the end of four years we have four jobs on our résumé, and we have employers who will write us recommendations.”
Cristo Rey is part of a larger network of similar schools across the nation, adopting an innovative and successful model of secondary education. In recent years, 100 percent of the students graduating from these schools have been accepted into two- or four-year colleges.
More than 30 corporate sponsors in Houston have hired students for entry-level jobs. This is the second year UST has participated.
The class schedule at Cristo Rey is on a rotating basis so students never miss class because of work. Each student has an assigned day to work, and for the remainder of the week they have extended classroom hours from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. enabling them to complete their studies.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Pavlicek said. “I live an hour away from school and we have long days, so it’s time consuming. I’ve met a lot of people and I think it’s worth it.”
Doherty Library circulation desk supervisors Sylvia Coy and Natalie Aquila have enjoyed working with the Cristo Rey student and had high praise for them.
“They’re wonderful,” Coy said. “I’d be happy to have them five days a week if I could. They’re a blessing.”
The School of Education staff was also happy with their work.
“We have more than enough work to keep them busy,” said Jill Calzada, an administrative assistant in the School of Education. “It’s a great program because they are simultaneously exposed to a university environment of higher education and to a real job force.”
Shown from top to bottom: Monica Tierrablanca, Adam Pavlicek, Magaly Castillo, and Jared Rosales