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Cristo Rey community says DeVos intrigued by school's education model


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos shakes hands with Alexis Stratton, a freshman at Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis, during the secretary's May 23 visit to the school. (CNS photo/John Shaughnessy, The Criterion)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- As Precious Mayfield and Froylan Avila awaited the arrival of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at their school May 23, the two students talked about the impact that Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis has had on them and their families.

The two teenagers will both be the first in their families to go to college.

"It makes me feel very accomplished that I can fulfill the dreams that my family has," said Mayfield, who is 17.

Standing nearby, 19-year-old Avila said, "Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and you work hard."

Moments later, Mayfield and Avila were among a group of students who were welcoming and shaking hands with a smiling DeVos as she entered the school that combines a work-study program and a college preparatory education for students from low-income families.

It's a model that has led all 46 students in the school's class of 2017 to be accepted into college. It's also a model that intrigued DeVos so much that she made a special visit to Providence Cristo Rey as part of her two-day trip to Indianapolis.

On May 22, the secretary of education arrived in Indiana's capital to address the national policy summit of the American Federation for Children, a national advocacy organization for school choice that she once served as chairperson.

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