I think someone declared Feb. 16 as Catholic education day in Baton Rouge. My two stops that night revolved around two of the city’s Catholic high schools — one long established and one opening its doors for the first time this fall.

Burger Bash

My first stop was at Catholic High, which for the 26th year was teaming up the Big Buddy Program to host the annual Burger Bash Scholarship Fundraiser. Members of the CHS Men’s Club manned the grill while members of the CHS Key Club served up hundreds of juicy burgers that could be consumed on site or taken home. The burger meals also included chips, ice cream and a soft drink. For those opting to dine in, there was entertainment from the Little Buddies.

Proceeds from the event provide financial support to deserving Little Buddies as they pursue post-high school educational endeavors. To date, more than 50 scholarships have been awarded.

Cristo Rey

From Catholic High I headed downtown to the swanky new law offices of Taylor Porter for a lovely reception honoring Jane Genster, president of the Cristo Rey Network. Among the attendees were board members, corporate work study program partners and donors.

With plans to open this August, Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School joins a network of 30 schools throughout the country in providing a college-prep education with a corporate work study program for low-income families. It will be housed in the former Redemptorist High School.

“You’re joining 10,000 students around the country,” said Genster, adding that the network is not just committed to education but to a Catholic education.

And, while Baton Rouge is one of the smallest cities where a Cristo Rey school is located, Sister Barbara Arceneaux with the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, which have signed on as religious sponsors of the school, said it’s the “biggest in heart.”

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