Cristo Rey Fort Worth kicks off 2022-23 school year with NFL-style ‘Draft Day’

CRFW Draft Day 2021: Former Dallas Cowboys star Darren Woodson, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber President Anette Landeros, Cristo Rey English teacher Trini Bui. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman)

Cristo Rey Fort Worth kicked off its 2022-23 school year Thursday (Aug. 25) with an NFL-style “Draft Day” matching up students with the businesses they will for as part of the school’s innovative work study program.

More than 70 corporate partners joined students, staff and celebrity commentators for the event, scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at the school’s campus, 2633 Altamesa Blvd., Fort Worth.

Cristo Rey Fort Worth is part of a 38-school national network that provides students a college prep education while giving them access to work experience and career exploration in a corporate setting. Students underwrite half the cost of their education by working one day a week in clerical and administrative roles for corporate sponsors offering employment experience in a wide range of departments, including accounting, human resources, finance, marketing, information technology, legal, records, mail and office services.

Color commentators for Cristo Rey Draft Day included Anette Landeros, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Marc Istook, anchor for the WFAA (Channel 8) morning news show Daybreak; and Steve Lamb of WBAP sports talk radio. Also set to be on hand for the festivities were the Dallas ManiACCs and Mariachi Arraigo de America.

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The Cristo Rey Network has its origins in a Chicago high school founded in 1996 to help Mexican immigrant families who lacked quality, affordable educational options for their children. Knowing that their efforts would require substantial funding and realizing that families and students needed to have a stake in the project, the founders adopted an unconventional model that required students to work five days each month in paid, entry-level professional jobs with their incomes going toward the school’s bottom line.

Cristo Rey Fort Worth follows a similar model as that first Cristo Rey school with an innovative work-study program  that combines four days of on-campus academic instruction with a day spent at a corporate job site.

The school was launched in 2018, and the June 2022 inaugural graduating class had 48 seniors with a 100% acceptance rate to 48 different colleges and universities and more than $8 million in scholarships and grants.

“Our students are able to quickly gain a four-year head start versus their peers on real world professional work experience during their years of high school,” Cristo Rey President Nathan Knuth told the Business Press for our Aug. 8 cover story about the school. “They grow in self-confidence, social skills, responsibility, accountability, and they create a robust network of social capital that will support them through the next phases of their college and professional careers.”

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Cristo Rey’s list of corporate sponsors features many of Tarrant County’s top businesses and organizations, including the Amon Carter Museum, Baird Financial, Baylor Scott & White, Cook Children’s Health Care System, Dunaway, Finley Resources, General Motors, GM Financial, J Taylor, Kelly Hart & Hallman, Higginbotham, Hillwood, Meador Auto, Oncor, Pinnacle Bank, TCU, TPG, and VLK Architects.

The complete list of corporate sponsors:

Acme Brick

The Advancement Foundation

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Alliance Airport*

All Saints Catholic School

Amon Carter Museum


Bank of America*

Bank of Texas

Baylor Scott & White


Brogdon Foundation*

Byrne Construction*

Casa Mañana

CCFW (Catholic Charities Fort Worth)*

CH4 Energy

Christ’s Haven Children’s Home


Cook Children’s Hospital

Cooper Natural Resources

Dallas Federal Home Loan Bank


Charles and Debora Morrison Foundation

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth*

Finley Resources

Fort Construction

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

The Fort Worth Club

Fort Worth Report


GM Financial

Goodwill North Central Texas


* Founding partners