Saint Martin De Porres HS gives inner-city students real world experience, gives families hope

CLEVELAND - First opening its doors in 2004, Saint Martin De Porres High School provides an experienced-based education option for low income families in Cleveland.

Now it's opening its new doors across the street.

"We seek to transform urban Cleveland one student at a time, one family at a time," Saint Martin De Porres High School's Co-Principal Ryan Hurley told News 5 as construction crews put the finishing touches on their new school building.  

Ninety-three percent of its students qualify for free of reduced lunch.

"We are rooted in a place our students live," Hurley said.

But students also come from 29 other zip codes. 

Based in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood, the school is located in an inner-city neighborhood where parents can sometimes feel hopeless and unhappy with the traditional school option available to their children. 

"You want to find a place to send your kid where you feel that they're safe. We had to find something we could afford," parent Jennifer Robinson explained. 

But the school's path is giving parents more than hope. Ricardo Henry told News 5 it changed his life. 

"It has helped me in a way I can't even put in words."

The school led him full circle. Henry graduated from Bowling Green and now works for A.M. Higley, the team building this new facility. 

"It was a big push in the back to get here," Henry said

Part of the school's curriculum is giving kids real-world experience during the school day. 

"They're gaining confidence in the work place and learning how to interact with professionals," Ann Davis, Vice President of their Corporate Work Study program told News 5.

Students work one day a week at one of the school's partners - companies like The Cleveland Clinic, Sherwin Williams and Progressive. 

"These are the people you want to be around, these are the things you need to do to fit in," Henry explained. 

The school plans to start moving their 400 high school students from their current building to their new building this spring. It will be the first new school opening in the St. Clair neighborhood in more than 100 years.

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