“Hello, my name is Damarion and I am a 10th grade student at Cristo Rey Richmond High School. My favorite subjects are geometry, world history, and P.E. The teachers are the reason I love these classes because they make me feel included. I came from a school where I didn’t fit in because of how shy I was, and this school gave me the opportunity to express who I truly am. My classmates make my experience even better. Everyone comes from different cultures but we are a family, one full of loving and caring people.

“Last year, the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) gave me a job with CREATIVE. I filed checks, worked on computer software, labeled order numbers on boxes before shipping them, worked on projects for the company and attended meetings about companies selling their products to CREATIVE. I developed communication, leadership, and time management skills. The experience I had at this company helped me step out of my comfort zone and be more confident.

“Last year I struggled with the spread of COVID-19. We lost family members and people we loved most. I experienced ups and downs. I was not able to learn in person, see the staff and my friends, or have easy communication with them. Luckily, we had technology to assist us during these times. The school sent us home with laptops so we could continue learning on Zoom. I felt like I was ahead of other students at other schools because I could still keep advancing in my schoolwork. I also felt like I was cared for not only as a student, but as a family member. Being virtual helped me improve my grades, feel a part of something, and feel loved.

“This year, I spend two days in-person and the rest virtual. My favorite virtual activities are working out with video tutorials, doing labs on, and jotting down notes on the videos we watch during history class. My most favorite part of being in person is CWSP class. We are learning about elevator pitches, personal branding, workplace safety, and the employee rights in a work environment. I get really enthused about the CWSP mentorship program because we get to meet with our supervisor from our companies. This year, I work for Bliley’s Funeral Home. We learn about the different positions and how to excel at them. I’ve been able to get a real job thanks to the CWSP program preparing me.

“I have enjoyed the two years I’ve been at Cristo Rey Richmond. The way they’ve treated me and my family has been a really good experience. For next year, I would like to envision the school full of diverse students ready to learn, and more staff who bring a positive attitude. This will boost my confidence for years to come. When I leave this wonderful school, I want to attend the University of Virginia. Once I get there, I am going to major in Business/Economics to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

“Cristo Rey is preparing me for the future I want. They use every resource to ensure my success, including the cool technology to help us learn. I hope you will help next year’s class have the same advantages. Thank you.” – Damarion, Class of 2023

Please give today and your gift will be doubled. Damarion is counting on you!

by Dr. Lynn Waidelich

Coronovirus has taken so much from so many. There have been times over the last six months, when each of us have wondered if there is anything safe from the virus. 

After Orientation Week at Cristo Rey Richmond, I will propose that HOPE is safe; hope is secure, and hope found its way to the surface in a very hot and humid gymnasium last Tuesday during New Student Orientation. We started the day setting up tables and laying out stacks of handouts. We had hand sanitizer stations and tested our thermometers. Our families trickled in just before noon, and one by one, they visited seven stations spread out on the gym floor. We welcomed them in our masks and gloves, requested  signed paperwork, and confirmed addresses. By the time the families got to my station, they were sweaty and overwhelmed with information. We had told them too much and not enough at the same time. My job, as the Assistant Principal, was to give the students their class schedule and explain our complicated hybrid model for the upcoming school year. I explained the four virtual school days per week, and the one live day, using a green highlighter to circle their class schedules and explained Zoom links to new students. 

At the end of my spiel, I stepped away to pick up the right sized t-shirt for our new 9th grade students. Then, I got to welcome them to the Class of 2024 by dramatically opening up their new t-shirts displaying CLASS OF 2024 on the back. This moment, recreated nearly 100 times that evening, was a moment of magic buried beneath the minutiae of orientation.  When I said “Welcome to the Class of 2024,” a smile would begin to form on the students’ faces. It was hidden by their masks, of course, but you could see it walk up their cheeks and light up their eyes. 

They were standing next to their moms or grandmas or in between their parents, sometimes they had younger siblings running around their feet, and at that moment, you could see the spark of hope. I asked rhetorically, “Do you know when we will have done our job for you?” They hesitated, wondering if it was a trick question and why in the world was I asking this. I answered for each student, “Our job is done when you graduate from college. We are here to support you to and through college graduation.”

Their faces lit up with the hope of graduating college and the opportunities that would present. Some of their mommas cried or said “thank you”. Some of the families cheered. Regardless of the student, tall or short, studious or relaxed, organized or disheveled, I could see a flash of the possibility they hold within. In a world that tells us hope is lost, I would suggest, hope is inherent. It smolders underneath the facade, and for some, it only comes to the surface on rare occasions but it is there. 

On a hot summer day, in an un-air conditioned gym, amidst a pandemic, we were blessed to witness the hope in our incoming class. Now the work begins. I promised these families our job is not done until their young people graduate from college. This is not an easy promise. It is what gets us up in the morning and what keeps us up at night but is a promise built on hope. As our founder, Father John Foley said, “May our hope be so outrageously bold that people will laugh at us if they knew what we hoped for.”

Meet Ms. Powers. Our EnglishTeacher.

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Powers

Cristo Rey Richmond would not be able to educate young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service without our dedicated and passionate faculty & staff. In an effort to recognize our educators, we will begin a series of Faculty & Staff Spotlights!

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Buckingham, VA

Q: What was your favorite subject in high school? And why?
A: Biology. I was interested in medicine and this class helped me to understand a lot about the human body. Plus, my biology teacher Mr. Caldwell was the best!

Q: Where did you go to college? And, what did you study there?
A: I went to Longwood University and majored in Biology/Pre-Med.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at CRR? 
A: My favorite part about teaching at CRR is the daily interactions with the students. They have very different backgrounds and often I feel that I learn more from them than they do to me. Its also an amazing opportunity to be a founding faculty member and watch the school evolve.

Q: What does the “Cristo Rey Way” mean to you??
A: The Cristo Rey Way means going above and beyond. It means beating the odds. It means having high standards. It means success for every student. Cristo Rey students are not your typical students. They put in more work, longer hours, and they work one day a week. But, they payoff is major. Students are accepted to the college of their choice and they gain work experience that the average 14 year old is not exposed to. In addition to college readiness and academic/workplace experiences, students at Cristo Rey also leave knowing how to serve their community as servant leaders through experience gained during service days. The Cristo Rey Way puts our students one step ahead.

Q: What is your favorite memory at CRR so far?
A: My favorite memory at CRR has to be the ending of the first day with students in the building. The end of the first day symbolized that we made it- the students made it through the first day as founding students as we made it through the first day as faculty and staff! I knew that the best was yet to come!

Q: Who is your biggest mentor and/or inspires you? Why? A:My biggest mentor in the field of education has to be my 10th grade Biology teacher, Mr. Caldwell. He was first person who really made me love science. We actually worked together in the science department at Buckingham County High School for 11 years. He always told me that students are emotional learners and if we can make a connection with a student we can teach them anything. It was the best teaching advice I’ve ever received. We still keep in touch to this day.

Q: What advice do you have for CRR students as they continue to focus on getting to and through college?
A: Persevere. Tough times are unavoidable. The key to life is to persevere through those tough times and come out stronger and wiser. When facing a challenging class (there will be some), buckle down, reach out to your teachers, find new ways to study, and make it through. When facing tough times outside of the classroom, let your teachers and administration know. We are here to help you and we want you to succeed!

Ms. Powers teaches our Freshman English courses and has been critical in helping our studentslearn the importance of reading and writing.
Meet Ms. Wilkerson!
Religion Teacher

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Wilkerson

Cristo Rey Richmond would not be able to educate young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service without our dedicated and passionate faculty & staff. In an effort to recognize our educators, we will begin a series of Faculty & Staff Spotlights!

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Little Rock, Arkansas

Q: What was your favorite subject in high school? And why?
A: My favorite subject in high school was English. I always appreciated the different texts and authors that my teachers asked me to interact with. It was through my English classes that I first learned how to analyze texts and take them apart so that I could understand the author’s message and put the ideas of various authors in conversation with each other. This skill was (and still is) absolutely essential for my theological studies.

Q: Where did you go to college? And, what did you study there?
A: I went to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. I studied both Theology and Philosophy as an undergraduate student. I am currently in graduate school and will finish my MTS (Master’s in Theological Studies) in Systematic and Philosophy Theology in the fall of 2020.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at CRR? 
A: The students! I have worked at three different Catholic schools, and I have never encountered students who fight for their education the way that our students do here at CRR. I see so many of our students overcoming obstacles everyday and facing circumstances that I never had to face at their age, and yet they still show up to school and put forth their best effort. I am incredibly proud of how hard they work.

Q: What does the “Cristo Rey Way” mean to you??
A: To me, the “Cristo Rey Way” means breaking new ground and overcoming obstacles. We do this not as individuals, but as a community. Being at Cristo Rey, whether as a teacher or student, means working harder than you have ever worked before; and yet, being at Cristo Rey, whether as a teacher or a student, also means being supported as you have never been supported before. That sense of work ethic and community is the “Cristo Rey Way.”

Q: What is your favorite memory at CRR so far?
A: Not long before the school had to move online due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the students did their first Socratic seminar discussion in Religion class. In all of the class periods, I was amazed at how well the students were able to articulate their analysis of the Scripture passages that had been assigned for the discussion, and I was equally impressed by their ability to critique each other’s ideas with kindness and thoughtfulness. It was a great thing to see!

Q: Who is your biggest mentor and/or inspires you? Why? A:My advisor from my undergraduate program has consistently pushed me, both when I was a student at Saint Vincent and when I graduated. It has been 4 years since I moved on from college, and yet I still hear from my advisor frequently. I once took a class that my advisor taught on Johannine Literature, and the final paper for the class was an exegetical paper (meaning that each student had to choose a passage from the Gospel of John and then analyze each aspect of the passage, “dissect” the passage, and then figure out how the message of that one passage fit into the rest of the Gospel account). When I got my paper back, I saw that my advisor had written a note on the final page, telling me how outstanding the paper was. The last line of the note struck me: “You should do this for a living!” I still have that paper and the note, and it motivates me to keep trying even when I feel like a failure.

Q: What advice do you have for CRR students as they continue to focus on getting to and through college?
A: Keep going! I think that’s the toughest thing, honestly. You are going to face challenges and seemingly insurmountable tasks, but you can’t stop. You have to keep pushing forward, no matter what.

Ms. Wilkerson teaches our Freshman Religion courses and is also responsible for planning our school masses.

“Cristo Rey Richmond is the best school
my son has been in”
Q&A with a current CRRHS parent

Meet Ms. Hyman, a current CRRHS parent and mother of freshman Rodney P. ‘23! As we look towards the end of our first school year, we’re receiving positive feedback from parents and guardians on how CRRHS is different. One of the parents has been Ms. Hyman, and she has so much she’d like to share with our community, especially potential families.

Q: Let’s just start from the beginning! How did you find Cristo Rey Richmond?

Ms. Hyman: My son, Rodney, brought it to my attention. He was like, “Mom, I would like to go to this school!” So I said, “okay, let me do some investigating and checking it out.” As I started doing that work on it and started getting involved in talking with the teachers, the principal and started interacting with Cristo Rey Richmond more and more, that is family. 

That is family. I love this school, and the atmosphere. They care about your kids. They treat my son like my son is theirs! They are awesome people. I’ll tell you this—the best thing that’s happened in Virginia with the schools is when they brought Cristo Rey Richmond here. The people I tell you, they are so amazing. I love them. That Cristo Rey Richmond is the best school my son has been in.

Q: What kind of growth or improvement have you seen in your son since he started at Cristo Rey Richmond?

Ms. Hyman: His personality. His eagerness to go to school. His demeanor has changed. When he was in the other schools, he wasn’t a people person, because people were teasing, you come across kids teasing and the teacher’s not taking time.

Rodney, he’s interacted more with the kids. Friends, he comes home, he has a smile on his face. He wakes up, I don’t even have to wake him up, he’s already up and ready and dressed to go out the door to go to this school. He loves his teachers. They take time out for him. They show him they care about him getting his education, because when he first came, he didn’t think he would make it because it was all new to him. They show him so much love. It brings tears to my eyes.

Q: With all the challenges that this pandemic has brought, what are your thoughts on how Cristo Rey has transitioned from in the building to teaching remotely?

Ms. Hyman: He’s still engaged! They are taking the time out to teach him online. Face-to-face on the computer. Any courses you have, anytime you need help with homework or work, just ask. They’re very supportive. Calls and checks on him. See how he’s doing. Now, if that ain’t amazing. That is so amazing. I haven’t had a call from my other children’s schools.

Q: What would you say to the faculty & staff at Cristo Rey Richmond?

Ms. Hyman: What could I say to them? I thank God for bringing them to me and my son’s life. They are blessings to us, it’s unspoken how I feel for them. We have truly been blessed, my son and me.

Q: What would you say to a parent when they’re considering having their child apply to Cristo Rey?

Ms. Hyman: Cristo Rey is the best school for any child who wants to apply. They will help you with whatever you need and support you and your family. This school will give you more than you can ever ask for out of school. It will give you a family. That’s number one, a family, a caring and loving family, because I don’t look at them as the teachers, or employees, I look at them as they are my family.

They are my family and I love them and people will grow to love them and I’ll tell you, oh God, if parents only knew about this school, they would take their children out of public schools and put them in this school… with people that care about your child and your child’s education.

Olga V. `23

Dominion Energy, a founding Cristo Rey Richmond corporate partner, has published an article written by student worker Olga V. ’23

Her article promotes the solar for student’s program sponsored by Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. 

“The program offers k-12 students from public schools or educational non-profit organizations with STEM programming a hands-on learning experience to generate electricity from a solar array installed on grounds accessible to students.” 

Read Olga’s full article Solar for Students Program expanding, seeking additional applications.

Every Cristo Rey Richmond student takes a full course load of college preparatory coursework for four years, as he or she participates one day each week in a four-year Corporate Work Study Program to fund the majority of their tuition. Students at Cristo Rey Richmond work in job-sharing teams of four. Each student works five full days a month. Their academic schedules are structured so that students work without missing any classes.

For more information or questions, please contact Amy McCracken, Director of Corporate Work Study, at or (804) 447-4704.

On Sunday, November 24, we celebrated in the Church the “Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe,” a day more commonly known as the “Feast of Christ the King.” So today, we are celebrating our feast day. As our founder, Fr. John Foley, SJ has said, “Our school movement bears that name, reminding us constantly that the work is not ours. This is a mission that has been entrusted to us to give glory to our King. That also means that we should take time now and then to check back on how we are fulfilling that responsibility. How faithful are we being to this mission of Christ the King/Cristo Rey?” 

Our mission says that we here at Cristo Rey Richmond are “a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service.” Faith. Purpose. Service. These are our three core values that guide all that we say and do at Cristo Rey schools. 

So what can we take from this feast? Well, the most important thing is whether Jesus really is the one who you consider your leader, and whether you grasp that God truly does reign over the universe. You know, whenever people read the First Commandment, which talks about not worshiping gods other than the One True God, people sometimes laugh. They say, “Well, I obviously don’t worship some other God. And I don’t have little statues or idols that I worship.” But then if you ask them if their lives are ordered around something like money or status or power or security or physical health, they’ll pause. Because maybe one of those things has become a kind of God for them. A kind of king. So one question to ask yourself this week may be, “Who is in charge of my life?” 

This day reminds us what the Christian thinking is all about: that Jesus really is the King, the Lord of our lives. We can say, with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” If we say anything else, we are horsing around with Christianity and not really living it. If we pay lip service to Jesus but do not submit completely to him, we are fooling around and not treating him as the King of our lives. If we don’t let him into one or two parts of our lives and not every part, he isn’t our King. If we look for and accept opportunities to develop our faith, our sense of purpose in life, and our service to those in need, then Jesus really is our King. 

On this feast of Christ the King, let us allow Christ to reign in our minds, our wills, our hearts and our bodies! Let us recommit ourselves to being followers of the Servant King who are committed to our mission. Let us pray. 

God our comfort and strength, in baptism we were anointed like Jesus as priest, prophet and king. May our lives bear witness to our belief in him, in our love and service, especially to the poor and those on the margins, imitating Christ, our King, who lives and reigns now and for all eternity. Amen. 

Happy feast, everyone! Viva Cristo Rey!

Rev. Mr. Peter J. McCourt
President, Cristo Rey Richmond High School

On Saturday, October 26, Cristo Rey Richmond welcomed more than 100 guests to its Open House! Thank you to our academic, corporate work study program and enrollment services teams … and the nearly 25 current students who shared the Cristo Rey Way with the Richmond community.
Learn more about the application process.

CRR Open House
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