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Saint Viator High School Work Study Program Empowers Students

January 28, 2019

The summer before her sophomore year in high school, Helena Chuchala ’21 completed an internship that

Helena Chuchala, center, poses with her mentors from BMO Harris Global Asset Management

many college students would covet: She spent six weeks working with BMO Global Asset Management in Chicago learning about investment solutions for its institutional investors.

Sound complicated?

“She knocked it out of the park,” said Eric Mandell, one of the BMO directors.

BMO Global Asset Management was one of the newest corporate partners to employ a Saint Viator High School student as part of its innovative Summer Work Study & Internship Program. The program places interns — 22 last year — at work sites of participating business partners across Chicago and its suburbs, who contribute $3,000 toward the student’s tuition.

Kate Capra poses with Jim Vandenbergh, her mentor at Rose Packing Company

In part, the program is modeled after the Cristo Rey model — blending a college preparatory education with professional work experience —which Viatorians have supported since 2004. They were one of the original sponsoring communities to back Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, in Waukegan, IL.

Last year, the Viatorians began laying the groundwork for Cristo Rey St. Viator Las Vegas, which is on track to open in August.

Saint Viator High School’s work study program continues to build each year, and Viatorians — and their business partners — continue to support its success.

Another student, Kate Capra ’19, has participated in the program all four years. The last three she spent with Rose Packing Company in South Barrington. Most recently, she interned in the freight department, learning about is billing price structuring for trucking companies.

“The analysis she did totally revamped our shipping rates,” said Jim Vandenberg, executive vice president. “More than that, her enthusiasm permeated the whole company.”