Freshman Ramon's experience at National Business Furniture is off to an "exceptional" start!
Building business acumen comes naturally through the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Freshman Ramon works as a Web Merchandising Assistant in the Ecommerce Department at National Business Furniture (NBF). About his first semester of work, Ramon reflected, "My experience at NBF has been nothing but pleasant. My coworkers are always so kind, not only to me but also to each other, and they always answer any questions I have, especially my supervisor." NBF is also very pleased to have Ramon on their team. In addition to receiving an ‘exceptional’ rating on his timecard, Ramon’s work has helped the company increase revenue.

Ramon was tasked with providing recommendations to customers for similar products across various price ranges. He said, "This was my first new project and really made me feel like I was making a difference in the company. That feeling was amplified when I learned of the amount of revenue generated from my recommendations."

Ramon’s supervisor Jen Pelt said, “This took a lot of thinking and using paper catalogs and combing the website to choose projects. After making the choices, Ramon then keyed this into the system, and then spot checked the live site to make sure it was implemented correctly. After 60 days, Ramon's efforts contributed to a $26,000 gain in revenue total for the project overall!

Following the successful project, Ramon presented to the entire Ecommerce team explaining the what, why, and how of the project. "When I initially heard that I was going to make a presentation, I was really nervous but I love doing new things so I decided to face it head on. Initially I was nervous but it got easier as the presentation went on and when I finished presenting it felt great. It was the first time that I had ever done a professional presentation." National Business Furniture was impressed with Ramon's efforts. “He did a great job creating the presentation with his own visual graphics and his talking speed and pace. Everyone was very pleased with the results,” Pelt said.
It was time to get a car wash! Salt residue and winter road grime had sufficiently covered my car and the weather assured me that my efforts would yield a clean car exterior, at least for the next several days. Upon arriving at the pay station of the car wash, I saw one of the car wash attendants walk quickly around the front of my car and exclaim, “Mr. Stith, today is your lucky day.” After a moment of hesitation wondering how this person knew my name, I looked more closely at the smiling eyes peering out over the mask of the attendant. I realized it was an alumna from our first graduating class. I smiled back and told her that I was glad to see her. She continued excitedly, “I have a deal for you! We have a sale on our unlimited car wash passes today and today only.” I was beaming with pride as our alumna used her honed sales skills to pitch me on the virtues of purchasing the car wash’s unlimited car wash pass.

Of course, I couldn’t help but turn questions about the car wash pass into questions about how college was going. Our alumna stated she was in her third year at a local university and was only one year away from graduating with a mechanical engineering degree. She told me she was working hard and succeeding in her classes. Then, she started listing a litany of names of her fellow graduates she kept in touch with from our first graduating class and how they were doing in college. By this time, we were backing up traffic and had to wrap up our conversation. She shouted over the engine noise, “In one more year, I am going to be looking for jobs, and I am going to come see you.” I responded, “Absolutely! Stay in touch and continue to work hard in school. It is worth it.” She nodded in the affirmative, waved goodbye, and I proceeded to enter the car wash.

Because of that alumna and her fellow alumni, CRJ is poised to exceed - by four times - the college graduation rates for young people of color from modest financial means in Milwaukee. We are looking forward to next year when we can celebrate with our first class of alumni their tremendous educational accomplishments. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School has the distinction of being the third largest feeder high school in the country to Marquette University. In last year’s graduating class alone, 21% of our graduating seniors received full ride college scholarship packages to attend college. In addition, 94% of the Class of 2022 has already been admitted to a 4-year college or university. We are building a pipeline of future leaders for the Milwaukee community.

In case you were wondering, I did buy the unlimited car wash package that day. I couldn’t resist! While our alumna thought she was giving me a great deal, I thought of the great things she and her fellow alumni will do upon college graduation and the deal that will absolutely pay off for Milwaukee in the near future.
In-person college tours give Trailblazers a new look at the college experience.
CRJ Seniors enjoyed their college visit to Ripon College including a discussion with
CRJ alumna Maricarmen Dorantes '21 (center).
This month, Cristo Rey Jesuit resumed in-person college campus tours for the first time since 2020 due to the pandemic. Eleven accepted CRJ Seniors traveled to Ripon College for the day. The visit included a tour of the campus, student support presentations, and a panel discussion featuring CRJ alumna Maricarmen Dorantes ‘21.  CRJ students Jackie and Candece shared thoughts on the impact of their experience.

“It was really incredible seeing their facilities. It was way above my expectations! Senior Jackie was impressed by the Willmore Center - the main health and wellness facility on campus that houses the athletics and exercise science departments. She plans to pursue a career in Athletic Training and seeing the facility in person was very helpful. It was also great to hear from Maricarmen about the similarities (to CRJ) she felt at Ripon. The school gives their students opportunities to succeed and the staff really support the students just like Cristo Rey Jesuit. To hear that from a fellow CRJ student - I knew I would be comfortable at Ripon."

Senior Candece is interested in becoming a pediatrician but also wanted to learn more about student life. She talked with Maricarmen about the college activities outside of the classroom including the theater and music opportunities available. “It was so great to be able to talk to Maricarmen as well as see the campus in person. Our tour guides shared so many great personal experiences. This visit wouldn’t be something I could do without CRJ.”

In the upcoming months, admitted students will be attending campus visits to area universities such as Mount Mary and Madison to help in their college selection. The CRJ college counseling department is also scheduling campus tours for underclassmen to help foster the dream of being the first in their families to graduate from college. 
Senior Carlos knows his CWSP experience is setting him up for success in college and beyond.
As a student worker in the information security department at a local multinational corporation, CRJ Senior Carlos had no idea his work would have a global reach. He was given the task to write two articles for the department. The first was staying safe online and the second was about creating secure passwords and shopping safely. Carlos’ article on creating secure passwords was so well done that it was shared with company personnel around the world and translated to 21 languages
Putting the guidelines together took Carlos a number of days. When it was complete, Carlos reflected on the experience. “I knew that I accomplished work that meant something on a grander scale. Ultimately, I'm a High School Senior who works one day per week, and the fact that this article and my work reached so many people puts into perspective the type of opportunity I was offered through CWSP."
While his work had an impact on company personnel around the world, Carlos has dreams that go beyond Earth. Ultimately, Carlos would like to study Engineering and aspires to work at SpaceX. “I believe I will go into the world after having an experience and the opportunity of working at a local multinational corporation with a better appreciation for my ability to learn new things independently. If I am given a task by SpaceX, I must be able to work with what I have effectively and present impressive results. Of course, I most likely will not be an independent worker on projects, but it helps to know that I can succeed as one if needed.”
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