But it’s not money, good grades and alumni connections that get you in to the St. Francis Center.
“We choose the poorest. The poorest of the poor. That’s it. That’s the only criteria,” said Sister Christina Heltsley, executive director of the center in the mostly Latino North Fair Oaks neighborhood near Redwood City.
Every six years, the St. Francis Center selects 12 students – most recently from a pool of 52 applicants – to study together from kindergarten through fifth grade. While the students are taught, the center helps their parents with English and job skills.