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Changing The Lives of Students: A Pathway Through Education To Economic Success

June 6, 2024

In July 2022, Cristo Rey Miami High School opened in North Miami and will serve over 400 students by 2025 across 9th-12th grades. Cristo Rey Miami is the 39th member of a nationwide network of private, Catholic schools utilizing an innovative educational model that combines rigorous academics with professional work experience. It is the only college-and-career preparatory high school in Miami exclusively providing hard-working students from families with limited resources a clear pathway through education to economic success.

The Cristo Rey Network are the only high schools in the nation to offer four years of rigorous college-prep academics combined with professional work experience through its Corporate Work Study Program. The Miami High School location is the only college-and-career preparatory school in the South Florida community exclusively serving hard-working students from low-income families. The Corporate Work Study Program enables students to earn and pay for more than half of their tuition, gain valuable job experience, and prepare for future employment.

How The Corporate Work Study Program Works:
• Students work in a professional corporate environment five days each month to earn a majority of their tuition and gain valuable experience for life after college.
• Students are transported to and from their work sites.
• Students must attend a three-week Summer Success Institute, a job training/school prep program.

During Cristo Rey Miami’s founding 2022-23 school year, Cristo Rey Miami students earned over $500,000 toward their education working at 18 partner companies.

Cristo Rey Miami’s student population is a reflection of Miami’s diverse community and its immediate neighboring area - 48% Haitian, 30% Black and 22% Hispanic, with an average family household income of $37,000 (family of 4). For students tuition ranges from $100 - $750 annually based on each family's income, 30 - 40% of tuition is covered through one of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships, 10% is covered by the contributed support of donors, and families contribute to the cost of education based on financial ability.

“By providing high-quality, college-preparatory education, particularly for underserved communities, Cristo Rey Miami High School is changing lives,” said Griffin. “I am honored to support its innovative integration of academics with work experience to empower students with the skills they need to be successful.”

Growing To Meet The Needs of The Community
Cristo Rey Miami High School is South Florida’s only college-and-career preparatory high school exclusively serving students from families with limited economic resources. With the generous support of South Florida's philanthropic leaders, the school is celebrating a major milestone in its “Built for the Future” capital campaign, reaching 90% of its $16 million goal.

“As we celebrate meeting this significant goal in our capital campaign, we extend our deepest gratitude to our donors, partners, and the entire South Florida community,” said Amelie Ferro, President and CEO, Cristo Rey Miami High School.

Continuing its trajectory of growth and excellence, Cristo Rey Miami High School is proud to announce a transformative gift of $2.1 million from Griffin Catalyst, the civic engagement initiative of Citadel Founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin. This generous donation supports the construction of a 38,000 square-foot academic building necessary to accommodate a full student body of approximately 425 students and lays the groundwork for future strategic endeavors.

Griffin Catalyst’s donation serves as a testament to the success of Cristo Rey’s education model. With students attending college at higher rates than any other socio-demographic group and graduating from college at two times the rate of their peer group, Cristo Rey schools equip students from low-income backgrounds to excel in college and beyond.

The success of Cristo Rey Miami capital campaign would not be possible without the generous support of South Florida's donor community. Key supporters such as the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation, the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, and the Smith and Shay families have played a pivotal role in realizing the school’s vision, demonstrating a shared commitment to empowering future generations through education. “Together, we are building a brighter future for our students, empowering them to realize their full potential and become leaders of tomorrow.” said Amelie Ferro.

Cristo Rey Miami prepares students to enter and graduate from college by providing transformative learning opportunities both in the classroom and in corporate offices across Miami. A key element to the curriculum is the four-year, integrated Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Beginning freshman year, every student takes a full load of college preparatory coursework while also working five days each month in a professional office setting. The CWSP enables students to earn and pay for more than half of their tuition, gain professional work experience, cultivate a strong network of relationships, and realize the relevance of higher education to career goals.

The Cristo Rey model has proven highly successful, graduating 25,800 students nationwide. Cristo Rey students enroll in college at higher rates than high and low-income populations and earn a bachelor's degree at twice the rate of their peers.

For more information on Cristo Rey Miami High School, please visit:

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