There's a new school in Hillsborough County.

Cristo Rey Tampa High School will officially open its doors Monday. The Catholic college preparatory school is the first of its kind in Florida.

  • Doors open Monday at Cristo Rey
  • Students will participate in work-study programs
  • About 100 freshmen will be part of first class

Each student will participate in a work-study program, once a week, to off-set tuition costs and learn about future careers.

The students enrolled at Cristo Rey come from families who otherwise would not be able to afford the private school tuition.

"I want to better my future, and this school is giving me the opportunity to do that," said 14-year-old Joseph Alesandrini of Seminole Heights. "I'm getting experience that other kids can not get at this age."

Dean of Student Growth Cristo Rey said, "This has to be, in my opinion, the single most effective way to change the community environment right now. What's happening in our community is a lack of economic resources and workforce, and these kids are going to get it all."

Friday morning, each teen learned which company they would work for during the school year as part of the work-study program.

Aaron Mammah, 14, of Pasco County was excited to get the chance to work at Coca-Cola.

"It was one of my top three choices, so it felt good," Mammah said. "It felt great knowing that a company wants to invest their time. It really means a lot."

About 100 freshmen will be part of this year's inaugural class.

Cristo Rey Tampa High is part of a national network of 32 schools. The concept started in Chicago in 1996.