FORT WORTH - A new Catholic preparatory high school planned for southeast Fort Worth in 2018 aims to steer more low-income students to college.

The high school will replace the existing Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School, an 87-year-old campus in the Terrell Heights Historic District. The new school’s name will be Cristo Rey Fort Worth High School at Our Mother of Mercy.

It will be the third Texas campus under the national Cristo Rey Network of schools — a system that touts college enrollment and completion rates.

“I think there is a lot of excitement about it,” said Erin Vader, president of Nolan Catholic High School, who is serving on the project’s feasibility study committee.

Work is underway to raise at least $2.6 million for operating and capital costs, said Alma Hernandez-Blackwell, feasibility study coordinator for the Fort Worth project. Organizers are also trying to obtain at least 35 letters of intent to help from businesses.

Sixth-grade students who may want to be included in the first freshmen class have been surveyed.

Vader said the project will build on traditions that began at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School, 1007 E. Terrell Ave., which offers pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade classes to students from low-income and working-class families. The project is expected to promote a path out of poverty through education.

“It’s the same mission,” Vader said. “It had just grown up a little bit.”

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