Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, the first Catholic school to be built on Chicago’s West Side in 85 years, welcomed 160 freshmen and sophomores to the imposing monolith at Jackson Boulevard & Leamington Avenue. The date chosen for the dedication Mass was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a fitting tribute to the great civil rights leader and humanitarian. The 100,000 square foot, $28 million state-of-the-art building sits on the site of the former Resurrection Parish & School.
Reverend Christopher Devron, S.J., President of Christ the King, who led the dedication program and service, noted that many people asked why it was necessary to build an expensive new building instead of using an existing structure. He took his answer from St. Mathew: “Do not pour new wine in old wineskins.” He then asked the Christ the King students to stand and asked the assemblage, “Don’t you think these young people are worth this new building?” The auditorium erupted in cheers.
Reverend Devron said many people also doubted the school could be built. “But, God had other plans,” he said. He called the school “The Miracle on Jackson Boulevard.”
When asked about building a new school in the midst of a recession, Chairman of the Board Dr. Anthony Barbato, retired Chief Executive Officer of Loyola Medical Center, replies, “The efforts of people who have stepped out of these hard times to give and help has been amazing to watch. There is no right time. We believe these kids need the school now more than ever, and that is what this is all about.”
The school still needs $17 million to pay for the building.
The challenges Christ the King is taking on is to reverse the current statistics of less than half of Austin’s students finish high school and only 38% go on to college. Only 11% of students meet state standards.
As a Cristo Rey model Jesuit high school, Christ the King provides an affordable, private school alternative through an innovative work-study program. Students earn 75% of their tuition through jobs at Chicago area companies.
“The building is designed to inspire,” says Father Devron. “With God’s grace, we are creating a beacon of light and hope – a place where our young people will become tomorrow’s leaders; leaders who not only better themselves, but commit to serve and lift up their community.”
For information on course offerings and admission require-ments, call Noelle Nicosia at 773/413-3588.

In the Book of Matthew we are told, “Do not pour new wine into old wineskins.” (Photo by Brad)
Father Devron reads the Gospel. (Photo by Brad)

Rev. Timothy T. Kesicki, S.J., blesses the new school and its mission. (Photo by Brad)

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