Hello, I am Madeline Burns, an intern at Rivero, Gordimer, and Co. I am a Rising Senior at Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School. My school is a part of a Catholic, College-Preparatory, and Career-Focused network. Within the Cristo Rey Network, there are currently 37 schools nationwide. Cristo Rey Tampa is the only school from the network in Florida, with another set to open soon in Miami.
I was able to work this internship through my school’s Corporate Work Study Program. Every Cristo Rey school has this program, and every Cristo Rey student has a job. Since my freshman year, I have been working in offices for a variety of companies. From charities to banks, I have gained a lot of valuable experience.
I first learned about Cristo Rey when some admissions counselors from there came to my middle school. They did a presentation about the school, why it’s unique, and how we would benefit from attending there. This all caught my attention and influenced me to look into the school more.
Without Cristo Rey, I don’t know where I would be today. My school has challenged me in so many different, yet beneficial ways. Through the rigorous curriculum, I have completed almost 40 college credits, been a leader in many clubs, and was on two varsity teams.
Even better than all of this, the catholic aspect of my school has allowed me to grow and explore my faith. Before high school, I had little to no relationship with God. Now, I am one of the most faithful in my friend group, spending a lot of time volunteering at my church, and a camp counselor for the church’s summer camp. My theology teachers have all been great, and have 100% allowed for my classes to be curious, engaging, and entertaining through their teaching.
Honestly, all of my teachers at school are amazing. At no other school would you find a group of teachers that care about their students like mine do. Even if they’re not your teacher that semester, they will still say hi in the hallways and have a good conversation. There is not one kid at my school who doesn’t feel loved.
Going back into the faith, my school is sponsored by Mary Help of Christians, and the Salesians of Don Bosco. Every Cristo Rey is sponsored by a different church or Catholic Order. The Salesian system is built on four pillars: Home, School, Church, and Playground. These are all perfectly embodied at my school. Obviously, we have school and church. The more curious ones are home and playground. Every day, between the second and third periods, we have a 20-minute break.
During this time we get snacks, play sports, video games, and just have a break. Our courtyard has two full basketball courts, a volleyball net, and a few four square grids. Not only do we have this break, but also an hour and 10 minutes for lunch. Mostly everyone finishes eating in 20 minutes, so after that, we have plenty of time to hang out, and continue the activities from the break earlier that day.
Cristo Rey is a private school for low-income families. Our tuition is paid for through our CWSP jobs, the Step Up for Students scholarship, and monthly family contributions. Every student receives these three portions of tuition. For most families, their contribution is only $60/month. Through the offered programs, my school allows for students to get better opportunities in life than if they went to a regular public school.
I have worked in a total of four different offices so far, all in different parts of the city. My freshman year, I started off at Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Adoption Center. I like to think that this also had a big role in building a foundation for my faith. Sophomore year, I was at two different jobs. First semester, I was in the admissions office at my school. This gave me great insight into how the school really works and even a few hints about college admissions.
In the second semester, I worked at First Citrus Bank in Brandon. There, I learned a lot about different computer programs, specifically, ones for data entry. Finally, I started here at Rivero, Gordimer, and Co. Honestly my favorite job of them all, I have gotten to experience a real, corporate office.
Cristo Rey Tampa is still a fairly new school, I will be a member of its third graduating class. We just celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2021, the second graduating class. Not only is the school young, but also small. My class is the smallest, with only 37 students. The incoming freshman class is set to be the biggest yet, with a whopping 80 students total. The most interesting part of our school is the diversity. Most of the school population is Latin American, but
I’m sure we have a student from every country there. Not only are most of the students Latin, but many of them are first and second-generation Americans. One of my closest friends was born and raised in Venezuela. She didn’t move here until four years ago and learned English at the same time.
All of these are just a few of the reasons why I love my school. Without the culture of my school, I would be a completely different person. I know that in my very small, young high school, I have made friendships and memories that will last more than a lifetime.