New Catholic school aims to bring affordable private education to North Las Vegas

An artist drawing of Cristo Rey St. Viator private Catholic school planned for North Las Vegas. (Cristo Rey)

A new Catholic high school set to open in North Las Vegas in the fall is focused on giving students the quality and support of a private education without a huge price tag.

Cristo Rey St. Viator High School is under construction in North Las Vegas. The $20 million campus sits on 13 acres of land. When complete, the facilities will span 100,000 square feet and feature a gymnasium and soccer fields.

Father Tom Von Behren is the school's president. He says the plan for the school became concrete about 3 years ago and has a specific focus.

“It’s a high school for students who couldn’t normally attend a Catholic private school because of financial reasons primarily,” he said.

The key to making it affordable is following the Cristo Rey model.

“The Cristo Rey model is, our students work one day a week in corporate settings,” said Von Behren.

So far, 35 companies such as MGM Resorts, The Cosmopolitan, and some law offices, are on board with the work program.

It pays for about 60 percent of the student’s tuition. The other 40 percent is funded by scholarships and some family contribution.

Brittany Davenport, a UNLV alumni who struggles with ADHD graduated from a Cristo Rey school in Minneapolis.

“When I went to a public high school," she said. "It was kind of hard because I knew the teacher didn’t care, they didn’t want to sit down one on one with me like they did at Cristo Rey,” Davenport said.

She says the extra support led to her academic success.

“ I graduated with a 3.5 (gpa), I got accepted to 8 colleges, and that was a big shift,” she said.

It’s a shift Von Behren is hoping families in the area can experience.

The school will eventually house 500 students, faculty and staff.

“We never want tuition to be a hinderance of having students come to our school,” Von Behren said.

He’s talking about students such as Davenport, who is pursing a nursing degree. She says having access to a private education in her inner city neighborhood set her whole class up for success.

“It didn’t matter, the race, it didn’t matter where you came from; we all graduated high school with honors, we all graduated, an pursued to go to college,” Davenport said.

The school will be holding an informational session Jan. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Christopher Catholic School, 1840 N. Bruce St.

For more information on how to apply, you can head to the school’s website here.

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