Baltimore School Transforms, Empowers With Unique Community Co-op Program

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore was founded just 10 years ago. It’s mission is to provide a low or no-cost college-prep education to urban communities with limited educational options.

But one thing that separates a Cristo Rey graduate is they have had 4 years of internships with local businesses.

Follow Lyndsay Sewell around the 14th floor at Mercy Medical Center and it would be easy to understand why you might think she’s one of the nurses or technicians roaming the hallways here.

But she’s not. She’s one of 12 high school interns at Mercy.

“Everyone here is so positive, being able to get hands on experience with patients like when I’m with the nurses helping the nurses out,” says Sewell.

A decade ago, Sister Helen, who runs Mercy Medical, welcomed the students from the just founded Cristo Rey Jesuit High School into the workplace. Mercy was among the first corporate partners to do so.

“We stress these are not volunteers. These students are working. So give them a work experience and expect of them what you expect of other employees,” said Sister Helen Amos R.S.M., Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mercy Health Services.

It’s the school’s philosophy, all students do internships all four 4 years.

“Five times a month, all day long, and work in a corporate environment, that’s special. Many people finish college maybe having one internship,” said Dr. Bill Heiser, president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. “Our students have had four years of an internship.

As for Lyndsay, she realizes few students her age get such opportunities.

“If I was to get an internship right out of college I wouldn’t be… I wouldn’t know… I wouldn’t be where I was in freshman year. But now I’ll be more experienced and know what to do,” said Sewell.

Currently there are 360 students entirely from Baltimore City enrolled at Cristo Rey’s school near Canton.

More from Mike Schuh
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