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New San Diego high school giving students chance to pay for their education

Posted at 6:24 AM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 10:26:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new school set to open in fall 2020 will be the first of its kind in San Diego.

Each student at Cristo Rey High School in Southcrest will have to get a professional job that will help them pay for their tuition at the school.

In order to qualify, the students' family income has to be less than 2.5 times the poverty rate in their area.

“I like to say that we are a very exclusive school because if you can afford to be here, you can’t,” said Bob Nascenzi, founding president of Cristoy Rey High School.

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The school focuses on this demographic to give hardworking, aspiring students the right tools and environment to succeed.

“I think all kids have potential, and it's just that these kids don’t have that opportunity,” Nascenzi said.

The Cristo Rey network has over 30 schools in the U.S. They work closely with the Department of Labor and major companies to find professional-level employment for low-income students. This covers around 60 percent of their tuition to the private high school.

“Students have professional colleagues, and they see that ‘I belong, I fit,’ and that’s so important and that will translate to success both in college and when they graduate,” said Michael Derrick, founding principal of the school.

It’s a concept that has proven to work at other Cristo Rey high schools around the country, with some students getting into top universities like Stanford, Yale, and UC San Diego.

Cristo Rey officials are hoping this new school becomes a game-changer in San Diego.

“The average kid can succeed when they are put in the proper environment,” said Nascenzi.

The school needs $2.5 million in pledges before they can begin recruiting students this year for the 2020 school year. So far, the school is $1 million short of its goal.

For more information on the upcoming Cristo Rey school in San Diego, including how to donate, visit