College ready, work prepared — and persons for others. Those are the values of the graduates of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, as described by their principal, Michael Odiotti.

CRSM 2013 graduation

photo by Jim Dippold

At their recent commencement ceremony, it was noted that nearly every graduate heads to a four-year college, after earning a combined $8.5 million in scholarship offers.Among them are seniors who received full ride scholarships to Georgetown, Loyola and Marquette universities, as well as a Golden Apple Scholar, Horacio Alger Scholar, Posse Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar, who received a full ride to college and graduate school.

“Keep in mind that roughly 50 percent of our students score below grade level on the ninth grade standardized testing — and yet we still encourage them to take AP classes so they can receive college credit,” says Kristen Watson, development director and former head of the school’s innovative work study program.

Increasingly, the school is creating a culture where college is an expectation, and through students’ involvement in the work study program, they begin to understand the types of careers they can attain.

“We want students to thrive,” says Principal Mike Odiotti, “but also come back to this community and contribute in a meaningful and positive way.”