OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A new East Bay high school combines classes with on the job professional work experience.
Students at Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School are employed one day a week to help pay for half of their education.
In a pep rally atmosphere, parents, teachers and staff welcomed the inaugural incoming freshman class Friday afternoon. The students wearing their new suit jackets and ties took part in a "Draft Day" program. It's where the students were matched with their corporate partner.
"He's going to get the chance to get on the job experience early on and start learning those principals about how to present himself," says parent Jerome Knox.
Each freshman will work an entry-level position to help pay half of their $18,000 a year Catholic education. All of the students will go to their corporate work-study job five times a month.
That money earned is added to the parent's contribution, which depending on the family’s ability could range from $250 to $2,500 a year. Other funding comes from scholarships. However, the majority comes from the corporate partners.
"$9,000 of that tuition is covered by the student work that they do and they contribute back towards the cost of their own education," says Cristo Rey De La Salle President Mike Anderer.
"I think it's wonderful. it's very exciting, they're off to a good start. I don't think you could ask for a better way to begin the school year and begin a new adventure," says parent Lizzie Knox.
The school is located in former Saint Elizabeth High School in Oakland's Fruitvale District. The freshman class is diverse, made up mostly of African American, Latino, and Vietnamese students, who by all accounts wouldn't have an opportunity such as this.
"We're starting this year with a founding class of ninth graders and over the next four years we'll grow to a school over 500 students," says Anderer.
The school is still accepting students and currently has 69. Classes begin August 15th.