Four years ago, Sankun Barjolo and Jamie Fuentes took a leap of faith and signed on to attend a high school that didn’t even have a building.
As the first students at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, they got started on a path that now has them poised for graduation.
“Even from day one, when we walked through the doors, we were greeted by smiles by people we’ve never seen,” said Barjolo, a senior. “Since then it’s been like that.”
The small Catholic school in Takoma Park provides low income students with an affordable education that readies them for college.
Through a corporate work-study program, the students offsets a significant portion of their tuition by working one day a week.
“I don't think I would be able to afford it if it was another private catholic high school. I would not be able to afford it,” said Jamie Fuentes, a senior. “But coming here made it possible.”
All of the 70 graduates have been accepted to college. A majority of them will be the first in their families to go on to higher education. And with less than two weeks left of class, some students are starting to get sentimental.
"We did it as a class. We did it as a family,” Barjolo said. “At a certain point in our freshman year, we all bonded together and come June 2nd it will be a day to celebrate.”