Cristo Rey Columbus High School Visits College

Students from the freshman class of Cristo Rey Columbus High School participated in two full days of activities at the College of Optometry. A grant from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) provided support for the buses and supplies. Mr. Justin Griest, manager of admissions and financial aid in the Office of Student Affairs, introduced students to the profession of optometry and the admissions requirements of the College. Dr. Jackie Davis provided an interactive (“clickers”) presentation on ocular manifestations of systemic diseases—How the Eyes and Body Are Connected. She and Dr. Asha Motter also guided the students through a dissection of cow eyes. Dr. Barbara Fink, chair of the Committee for Inclusion and Diversity, led the students through the components of an eye exam. Students were provided simple instruments (near point card, PD stick, penlight, vision simulator cards, occluders) and instructed on how to perform some simple tests of the visual system on one another. Dr. Fink also discussed common vision problems (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia) and the major eye diseases. She made use of videos to demonstrate accommodation, presbyopia, and cataract surgery. Two first-year optometry students, Danielle Mayne and Chelsea Monroe, assisted throughout both days. They accompanied the students, Mr. Griest, and Dr Davis on a tour of campus, with lunch at the Ohio Union. Ms. G. Lynn Mitchell, an assistant professor and accomplished biostatistician, disclosed to the students the results of an online survey she had them take prior to the field trip. It evaluated the association of several factors (parental history, near work, outdoor activity, grades) with myopia in their freshman class. At the end of the day, a panel of faculty, staff, and students answered questions from the Cristo Rey Columbus teachers and students.

Cristo Rey Columbus High School is a college-preparatory Catholic high school. They have a professional work-study program designed to empower young men and women of all faiths, most of whom are from economically challenged families, to graduate high school and college and achieve a lifetime of success. The high school is currently located in downtown Columbus, just a few blocks east of Lower Lights Christian Health Center, where the College of Optometry has an outreach clinic. Dr. Cathy Thomas is the principal and made the arrangements for the field trip to the College of Optometry. Several teachers accompanied the students on the field trip.

The Cristo Rey program serves 7,100 students nationwide, through 25 Cristo Rey schools. They have 40 university partners and provide 1,600 professional work-study jobs. Ninety-five percent of the students are African American or Hispanic. In recent years, 98% of Cristo Rey schools’ senior classes graduated, and 100% of graduates were accepted into a college or university. The average family income is $35,000 for Cristo Rey students nationwide. Cristo Rey Columbus High School uses a work-study program in which students work five full days a month to fund the majority of their education, gain job experience, grow in self-confidence, and realize the relevance of their education.

We look forward to working with the students of Cristo Rey Columbus High School on future projects, workshops, and field trips. We strongly encourage these talented students to consider careers in optometry.