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Local High Schools Help Students

Explore Their Futures by Kristy MacKaben

High school is a time of exploration, making friends and learning about life. Many kids are just starting to figure out their interests and their strengths, and to ponder what the future holds. Metro Atlanta students who are a little more in-tune to their future career paths, though, are already on their way. Atlanta Parent is highlighting four teenagers and how their schools are helping them reach their long-term goals.

Zidane Dixon Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School Fourteen-year-old Zidane Dixon is pretty sure he wants to be a mechanical engineer. At least once a week, the freshman at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School gets a sneak peek into the world of engineering at Delta Airlines corporate offices in Atlanta. Dixon is one of 155 students attending Cristo Rey in its inaugural year in Atlanta. The private Catholic school’s mission is to educate young people of limited economic means, regardless of faith. In order to offset tuition, students work at one of 41 Corporate Work Study Job Partners, such as Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Cox. In addition, donations from the community are integral to funding the school and its programs. “Students feel a great deal of pride when they go to work,” says Bill Garrett, executive director of Cristo Rey. “They learn different skillsets of education. It’s great for them to be in a work environment. They really are stepping up and developing 48 Atlanta Parent    January 2015

and maturing.” “My mom wanted a better future for me,” Dixon says. “My mom thought it would be a great start to see what the business world would be like.” Dixon, who lives in Decatur, starts his day around 5 a.m. He rides a train, then a bus to Cristo Rey where he arrives every day before 6:50. On days when he works at Delta, a Cristo Rey bus transports him to the Delta office by 8 a.m. where he works until 3 p.m. (Four students from Cristo Rey work at Delta. Other Cristo Rey students work at different companies in the area.) “They are literally in uniform and badged as Delta contractors,” says Letty Ashworth, director of global diversity at Delta Airlines. “They will walk away with their first corporate experience at such a young age. I think all of the students participating in these programs will have maturity that will likely out-distance their peers.” At Delta, Dixon works in the corporate offices helping with paperwork and filing, but he also sometimes works alongside

[ Focus on Education ]

Zidane Dixon gets a sneak peek into the world of engineering at Delta Airlines corporate offices in Atlanta. mechanical engineers to understand more about the profession. “It’s really interesting. I learn what engineering is all about,” Dixon says. After work, he returns to school for announcements and an end-of-the-day wrap-up. Then, takes the bus and train, and arrives at home around 6 p.m. “I’m not tired at all,” Dixon says of his rigorous schedule. “My parents are so proud of me. They tell me every day, ‘Son, I’m so proud of you.’ It makes me feel good about myself. It makes me feel like I’m doing something for my future.” For more information on Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School’s programs, visit

January 2015  
January 2015  

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