Jalen Carpenter (2011)
When Jalen Carpenter (Class of 2011) reflects on her time spent at Providence Cristo Rey, she smiles and says: “Wow, I have a lot of great memories.”
Then she begins to list her favorites such as “Mini-mester” where students took a full week of interesting electives such as anatomy where she dissected a cat. She loved her English class because her teacher shared her passion for reading and writing. She also enjoyed serving on as treasurer of student government, being an inaugural member of National Honor Society, and serving as a school ambassador.
She transferred to Providence Cristo Rey during her sophomore year after moving to Indianapolis from Georgia. Her first job was with Corporate Work Study Partner Kite Realty. She then worked for Doyle Legal and finished up her senior year at August Mack.
“I don’t know that my Corporate Work Study experience helped pave my career path as much as it helped me become more interested in obtaining my college degree,” she said. Jalen, 24, obtained her undergraduate St. Mary-of-the-Woods and received her Master Degree in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame. She recently accepted a job as a Student Recruitment Specialist with Andrew J. Brown Academy.
The eldest of three children, Jalen said both of her parents – Paul Carpenter Sr. and Chrystal Carpenter - attended college and expected the same for her. “They were more concerned about me having fool-proof aspirations. They have been very supportive of my dreams and made it clear that education was fundamental to my dreams.”
When she heard about Providence Cristo Rey, she made the call herself to inquire about enrollment.
As a result of her academic pursuits, she has studied the disparities in health and education. “I’d say Providence Cristo Rey helped me build confidence and provided me with a platform for my abilities and potential to shine. Let’s face it, networks and connections are invaluable and have taken me through this journey so far.” Eventually, she’d like to earn her Doctorate Degree and work in the area of health and education as an advocate and teacher.
In July of 2015, Jalen married her high school sweetheart Vincent J. Sharp, Jr. (Class of 2011) who is a business partner with another Providence Cristo Rey grad, Daniel Bankhead (Class of 2011). Sharp is continuing undergraduate classes; Bankhead earned his degree from Indiana University in 2015.
“Why would I tell others students they should attend Providence Cristo Rey? It’s few and far between that high school students can hone in on career
skills and college readiness.”
When she enrolled at Providence Cristo Rey High School Ayre’Anna Smith (2011) was being raised in a single parent home. Her mother, Annette Wooldridge, was enrolled in college working toward a degree in early childhood education. Her mother eventually completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees and is now working on her doctorate.
“She set an example and told me I can do whatever I want to do. She also helped me realize my gifts – I’m an encourager,” said Ayre’Anna, 23. So when she graduated from Providence Cristo Rey, she entered Indiana State University as a 21st Century Scholar and set her sights on a career in adult education.
Last Spring, Ayre’Anna was hired as a special education assistant at George Washington High School and a few months later she was accepted to graduate school where she plans to obtain a Master Degree in Special Education.She recently accepted a new job as special education teacher at Tindley Renaissance Academy.
At Providence Cristo Rey she worked at four Corporate Work Study Partner sites: BKD, August Mack, Eli Lilly and Community Hospital North. “The biggest thing I learned is the importance of first impressions and making connections. It’s through networking that I got my job now – it’s about how you approach others and show professionalism.”