Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

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Back to school means back to work!

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020
 
Surrounded by empty desks, a student logs on to a video call at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. With only a few students spread across a huge classroom, social distancing was easy for work-study students. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal
 

Back to school means back to work

Some of the only Minneapolis students in a school building on Tuesday were scattered across a spacious classroom at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a Catholic school serving low-income students in south Minneapolis. There, eight high school seniors logged on to their corporate work-study placements. The work-study placements—students spend one day a week working an entry-level position for a local corporation instead of going to class—are a staple of the school and help pay for students’ tuition. But the program shut down during the stay-at-home order in March. Now it’s starting up again.

Cristo Rey, like Minneapolis Public Schools, has adopted a remote learning model to begin the year. The classrooms are mostly empty. But some work-study job sites have shifted employees to working from home. Students who would have gone to those job sites may now work their jobs from the Cristo Rey school building one day a week.

Marlenne Reyes, a 17-year-old senior, appreciates the change. “I was very excited to come back to the workspace because I really enjoyed my work placement,” she said. 

Marlenne hopes distance learning doesn’t adversely affect her senior year. Sometimes she can get distracted working from home, she said, and she’s worried that she might not understand everything in her advanced placement classes.

Still, she’s excited to make memories with friends this year. She’s not counting on prom, because she doesn’t know if it will be possible. But she and her friends can still have fun Rollerblading, she said.