Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama, combines academic rigor and a corporate work-study program to empower students from economically challenged communities to graduate high school prepared to persist in college and flourish in life.
Welcome From Our President
Fr. John Foley, S.J., the founder of the Cristo Rey movement, remarked “we should be embarrassed by our optimism.” However, our optimism that our students will change the world is precisely what enables that change to happen. As a people of faith, hope, and love, we see in our unique brand of education opportunities to extend the kingdom of God, to provide transformative education, to achieve academic success through college persistence, and to flourish in life. These opportunities give substance to our optimism and urge us onward.
Cristo Rey education combines a high quality college preparatory academic curriculum with the real world experience of the Corporate Work Study Program. However, it also combines the hard work of scholars and their families, our faculty and staff, corporate partners from across Birmingham, and benefactors from around our city, region, and nation. Through our mutual work and collaboration, unprecedented successes are formed and young people grow up prepared to transform their lives and that of their communities.
Birmingham has hosted the Cristo Rey brand of education for more than thirteen years. There is no more important place in this country to demonstrate the transformative power of education than here in the post-industrial heart of the American South. We invite scholars and families to learn more about the opportunities we afford, as well as partners and benefactors who seek to join in this improbable work of grace.
Fr. Jon Chalmers
A Member of the Cristo Rey Network
Holy Family High School was founded in the Ensley neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama, by the Congregation of the Passion in 1943, and faithfully served the community for more than 60 years. In 2007, Holy Family High School joined the Cristo Rey Network and became Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School. But what does it mean that we are a Cristo Rey school?
The Cristo Rey model is an innovative combination of rigorous academics and real-world corporate work experience which provides students from economically challenged families the tools needed to persist in college, flourish in life, and break the generational cycle of poverty. The first Cristo Rey school--Cristo Rey Jesuit High School--in Chicago, IL opened in 1996 under the leadership of John P. Foley, S.J. The success achieved there inspired educational leaders across the country to apply the model in other cities, and within five years other Cristo Rey schools began to open across the United States.
Today, the Cristo Rey Network is the only network of high schools in the country that integrates four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience through the Corporate Work Study Program. Comprised of 37 Catholic, college- and career-preparatory schools that today serve 12,000 students across 24 states and collectively claim more than 18,000 graduates, the Cristo Rey Network delivers a powerful and innovative approach to inner-city education that equips students from families of limited economic means with the knowledge, character, and skills to transform their lives.