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Saint Mary’s joins Cristo Rey national partnership

Caitlin Housley | Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Cristo Rey Network announced Jan. 18 that Saint Mary’s College is among its list of 14 National University Partners.

As a National University Partner, Saint Mary’s has teamed up with the Cristo Rey Network of 24 high schools across the country to ensure that low-income students have an equal opportunity of obtaining a secondary education.

“The partnerships demonstrate Cristo Rey’s ongoing commitment to ensure that all of the graduates of its network high schools have access to the academic, social and financial supports they need to complete a college degree,” Saint Mary’s media contact Gwen O’Brien said in a press release.

As part of this partnership, Saint Mary’s sends admission counselors to recruit at nearly all of the network high schools.

“This means we work with the network, the high school personnel and other partners in opening doors to postsecondary education to their students,” Mona Bowe, vice president of Enrollment Management, said.

“But it goes beyond that,” Bowe said. “We participate in the annual Summit, where we can exchange ideas with the guidance counselors and learn from them about their students and their success stories.”

According to Bowe, Saint Mary’s alumnus Janae Renteria is now the guidance counselor for one of the Cristo Rey High Schools in Tucson, Ariz. The college is very proud and honored to say they sponsored her to attend a national conference last fall.

Saint Mary’s involvement with the Cristo Rey Network stems back even before the Network’s launch in 2001. Bowe said she visited the original Cristo Rey High School in the 1990s.

“As I learned more about the high school, and about the network as it was formed, I realized how close their goal and mission were to ours,” Bowe said. “In particular, these caught my eye: learning in a context of faith, rigorous Catholic secondary education and a real world Corporate Work Study.”

Saint Mary’s Office of Admissions has enrolled a number of Cristo Rey students at the College, who have contributed their diverse views to the developing community.

Bowe said she is proud to note the contributions of the Cristo Rey students, and also expressed that the college gives the students something in return.

“The partnership gives us the best of both worlds,” she said. “We [offer] Cristo Rey students an outstanding Catholic education paired with women’s leadership development, and in return, we get some of their best and brightest women to join our community of learners, and their experiences enrich our community.”