After years of planning, fundraising and dreaming, Cristo Rey St.

Fr. Thomas von Behren welcomes students on the first day.

Viator College Preparatory in North Las Vegas has opened.

Its 96 freshmen entered in dramatic fashion, walking in under a balloon arch and led by the school’s president, Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV.

“We are filled with excitement and joy,” Fr. von Behren said. “This is a Viatorian school, welcoming a special and gifted group of students. We are blessed, indeed.”

Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, school counselor, added simply: “We are over the top with excitement.”

The historic first class poses for a photo.

Francisco Aguilar, chairman of the board of trustees of the school and its chief operating officer, added that students now look forward to “draft day” on Thursday, when they meet their employers.

“It has been an incredible experience to see this day become a reality,” Aguilar said.

Cristo Rey St. Viator is the latest to open in the Cristo Rey model, which now includes 37 schools across the country and more than 12,000 students.

Cristo Rey St. Viator College Preparatory High School

What sets the schools apart is the combination of a rigorous, college preparatory  curriculum with a four-year corporate work study program.

“This educational initiative is so in line with the charism of our founder, Fr. Louis Querbes,” says Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, president of Catholic Theological Union. “May this school grow and thrive to change lives and proclaim the gospel to young people in Las Vegas.”