Posted on Jun 18, 2023
Christo Rey San Diego High School co-founder David Rivera (left), Dean of School Culture Jacqueline Mendez (center) and Marty Peters (right)
More than 20 years ago, David Rivera, speaker for our June 15, 2023 meeting, co-founded Nativity Prep Academy to help economically disadvantaged middle school students start on a path toward higher education. In 2020, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, David helped launch Cristo Rey San Diego High School, which is part of a network of 38 schools that combines a rigorous college prep curriculum with work study experience that allows students to build solid foundations both in knowledge-based learning and practical skills that will apply to any career.  
The school has 155 current students and is off to an impressive start. All students exceed University of California A-G requirements for admission, 75% take at least one advanced placement (AP) course by their junior year, and 100% of seniors are taking AP math and computer science. Nearly two-thirds of students maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and 90% of graduates pursue higher education. 
Cristo Rey San Diego students spend one day a week working at one of range of corporate partners. The academic schedule is structured so the students can complete their classwork and devote themselves to work at the corporate partners. This work helps offset around 50% of the cost of tuition, with the remaining costs covered by fundraising (around 40%) and family contributions (around 10%, if possible).     
There are several ways corporate partners can help Cristo Rey San Diego succeed: Employ an on-site team comprising four students who rotate through the workweek (hybrid remote work options are also available) or sponsor a job through a tax-deductible contribution that underwrites a student team placed with a nonprofit organization.