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OKLAHOMA CITY – Until now, students from low income families could only dream of a quality, private education.

But, Cristo Rey is a faith based school with a unique approach.

“The beautiful part of our job is we devised a way we can make that education available to you people who don’t have the means to do that,” said one of the founders, John Foley.

Cristo Rey schools employ a ‘work-study program’ that provides students with real world experience.

Every student works five full days a month to fund the majority of his or her education.

They gain job experience but also grow in self-confidence and realize the importance of hard work.

“All you have to do is go to a graduation and see these young people walk down the aisle at the ceremony and see how excited they are about life and how positive they are about their future,” Foley said. “They can climb every mountain, and nothing can hold them back. That’s how it’s meaningful to me.”

Students work at law firms, banks, hospitals, universities and other professional Corporate Partners.

And, in the school’s 20 year history, most have entered and graduated college.

School officials call it a life-changer.

“Pope Francis talks about it a lot – the ‘throw-aways’ in our society. We want to attract young people who are in danger of being thrown away,” Foley said. “They do have talent, and there is a way out for them.”

Cristo Rey hopes to open by the fall of 2017 in Oklahoma City.