Denver's low-income teens should not have to go to the suburbs to get a good Catholic education, say church officials.
They and other community leaders are scheduled to announce today plans for a new Jesuit high school in inner Denver aimed at getting kids from poorer families into college. Arrupe Jesuit High School will use a work-study program to help families defray tuition and give students a taste of working at downtown banks and law firms.
Arrupe will also fill a gap left by older Catholic high schools that left Denver to grow in the suburbs.
"There is a tendency for Catholic schools to move away from the inner city," said the Rev. Stephen Planning, Arrupe High School president. "The ideal thing about this site is that it is right in the shadow of downtown."
Arrupe organizers want to hold classes in buildings that once housed Denver's Central Catholic High School - which closed in 1979 and was located at 18th and Logan streets. Arrupe Jesuit will use three buildings on the 64,000-square-foot property to serve as many as 500 students in grades 9-12. The school would open in fall 2003 with 100 students.
Arrupe will emphasize a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum, say organizers. To give Denver kids a chance at attending the school, it will offer the state's first corporate work-study program.
It will be modeled after one used successfully at Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Planning said.