More than a Dream: How One School's Vision is Changing the World: The Cristo Rey Story  

More than a Dream in the Chicago TribuneRead the review
60 MinutesCristo Rey on 60 Minutes
Cristo Rey Network video "Transforming Urban American One Student at a Time"
Eric Hoffer Award Finalist



Questions for Book Groups

The following questions have been collected to help foster discussion in book groups.  If your book group comes up with additional questions that you found to be particularly provocative or useful, please e-mail them to so they can be added to this list.

Yu can also download a print-friendly PDF version of the MTAD book group questions.

  1. Does every child in the United States deserve a quality education?  How do you define quality?

  2. Should the children of undocumented immigrants receive the same education as the children of United States citizens?

  3. Are there certain things every high school student in the United States should study?  If so, what are they?

  4. What were some of the issues that resulted in the poor quality of education in the neighborhoods Cristo Rey was created to serve?  How did Cristo Rey address some of these issues?

  5. Cristo Rey was created to be an explicitly college preparatory school.  Is it more important for Cristo Rey (and schools like Cristo Rey) to prepare underprivileged students for the cultural challenges of college or the academic challenges of college?

  6. Forget for a moment that Cristo Rey’s work program was developed to provide high quality college preparatory high school education to people who couldn’t otherwise have afforded it.  If given the opportunity, would you want to attend/send your child to a school that provided corporate internships similar to those offered at Cristo Rey?  Why/Why not?

  7. Imagine you are part of Cristo Rey’s founding faculty and that the school opens on schedule, meaning there isn’t time to do three weeks of extra Corporate Internship Program training.  You are asked to spend fifteen minutes with a group of students before they leave for their first day of work.  They have never before held down jobs and few have entered an office building.  What advice do you give them?

  8. Which of the students in the book did you most connect with?  Why?

  9. Which of the students profiled in the book do you think has been most successful?  Why?

  10. What role did parents play in the lives of the students who were featured in More than a Dream?

  11. What were the primary determinants of success for the four students in More than a Dream?

  12. How do you think the work experience affected Cristo Rey’s students’ perception of themselves?

  13. How did the relationships that Mayra Hernandez and Maritza Santibáñez-Luna had with their mothers differ?  How did those differences affect each of them?

  14. What effect does the fact that Cristo Rey is a Catholic school have on the story?

  15. How did the faith of the school’s founders affect the development of the school?

  16. Were the Jesuits uniquely suited to open a school like this?  Why/Why not?

  17. Each day, 25% of the Cristo Rey student body goes to work.  How do you think this impacts the quality of education offered at the school? 

  18. Do you think Cristo Rey’s faculty and staff could have maintained the energy and goodwill of the school’s early years?  How?

  19. The model adopted by Cristo Rey’s founders had never before been tried.  It was, in many ways, risky.  Are you surprised that it worked?  Why do you think it worked? 

  20. Do you think any one group or person was most responsible for the success of Cristo Rey?  Who?  Why?

  21. What more could Cristo Rey do to prepare its students for college?

  22. The Cristo Rey story is a very entrepreneurial one.  What lessons does it hold for those people trying to start new businesses or organizations?

  23. What can corporate America teach to the nation’s public school system?

  24. What can the nation’s public school system teach to corporate America?

  25. Should Cristo Rey be eligible to receive funding from the State of Illinois or from the federal government?  Why/why not?  What if the funding were to come in the form of state vouchers?

  26. Do you think this model could work in public schools?  Why/Why not?

  27. The student body at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago is almost entirely Latino.  The student body at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory High School, which will become Chicago’s second Cristo Rey model high school in fall, 2008, is expected to be almost entirely African-American.  Why do you think the only racially homogenous schools in the entire Cristo Rey Network are in the same city, Chicago? 

  28. Is it important for high school students to go to school with diverse groups of people?  Why/why not?

  29. What are some ways that we, as individuals, can contribute to the work Cristo Rey has begun?