Angelene Estiandan: The Trailblazers of Cristo Rey
College applications are arguably one of the most stressful times of any college student’s life. When it came to answering questions about work experiences or even submitting a resume on the application, I was lost. My parents never pushed me to work outside of school and I was involved in many extracurriculars. By the time I was applying, I realized how behind I was in terms of professional etiquette, interview skills, or even workplace attire. I had to immerse myself into the workforce by taking up a job as a tutor and working my way up to a college counselor. There were just some parts of the applications that most schools don't teach us. When I read about the CWSP (Corporate Work Study Program) at Cristo Rey High School, it was eye-opening. I knew that Cristo Rey High Schools were equipping students with an opportunity that every college student wished they had in high school.
Cristo Rey High Schools are unique. Cristo Rey San Jose admits students who normally come from first generation immigrant families or are minorities. Once a week, Cristo Rey students take on corporate paid internships at big local businesses and nonprofits ranging from Google to PWC to Catholic Churches of Santa Clara County to fund their tuition for the school. These students are presented with resume building, LinkedIn connecting, networking opportunities, all while exploring the potential avenues for their future jobs. Although some students do not realize just how important and beneficial the experience that Cristo Rey High Schools are giving them; these students are becoming the trailblazers for minorities and underrepresented communities and have the opportunity to pursue many options to shape their destinies.
At this small school, the family-like bond is undeniable and has truly been a welcoming environment. The first day I walked in, there was a large “WELCOME ANGELENE” sign and I knew that this place would hold a special place in my heart in years to come. Each and every student and faculty member at Cristo Rey inspires me. My tasks that include creating job descriptions for existing student jobs, sending out alumni newsletters with internship opportunities, or helping load the students onto the buses for work, is nothing in comparison to the experiences I’ve gained through interactions. One example that stood out to me includes a conversation with a student about her interest in becoming an attorney working at a law firm. After her internship at Palo Alto Networks under the legal operations team, she realized that she cultivated an amazing relationship with her supervisor who has inspired her to potentially be head of a legal operations team within the tech industry. Without the internship, she described that she would never have known about this avenue for work.
As the academic quarter comes to an end, I am reminded that I only have two more quarters to work for a great organization with an even greater mission. I hope to make the most out of this opportunity and would love to leave a legacy behind for Cristo Rey staff, students, and alumni to enjoy!