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85 Cristo Rey freshmen drafted by Baton Rouge companies

A class of 85 incoming high school freshmen has just been “drafted” by roughly 40 local businesses today at the third annual Draft Day event held by Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School.

The ceremony, which took place at the LSU Carl Maddox Field House, likens to NBA and NFL draft nights: Cristo Rey students are linked to job opportunities with partner Capital Region companies, which provide the equivalent of a full-time entry-level position to a team of students who report to work one, eight-hour day per week while attending school the other four days.

At the event, companies announce their “picks,” calling students up to the field to shake hands with their new bosses and take some corporate “swag” before classes start Monday.

Katie Tasman, the school’s director of development, calls the Corporate Work Study Program “the unique piece that makes Cristo Rey stand out from the rest.”

“We serve an underserved population that wouldn’t normally be able to afford a Catholic education,” she says. “This gives students the opportunity to be exposed to the business world.”

The school already has 43 business partners, Tasman notes, though not all of them are sponsoring freshmen this year. Friday’s event was sponsored by LUBA Workers’ Comp.

Founded in 2016, the Baton Rouge campus of the high school currently serves 192 students from low-income families, offsetting the price of tuition by having students work five days per month at a local business. It’s part of a larger network of 35 Catholic work-study preparatory schools in the United States.

Earlier this year, the school reopened in north Baton Rouge after extensive renovations following the August 2016 flood in a ceremony reportedly attended by many corporate partners. And the number of partners keeps growing, Tasman says.

“They are mentors to our students as well,” she says. 

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