Cristo Rey Celebrates a Trifecta of Graduates

Cristo Rey Celebrates a Trifecta of Graduates
Posted on 05/21/2015
Williams Triplets Class of 2015

Starting even before birth, Aaliyah, Aleathea and Alexus were distinct individuals. To legions of people that they have encountered along the road to high school graduation, they always will be the Williams triplets.

Members of Cristo Rey Kansas City’s Class of 2015, the sisters are stand-outs not only because they are triplets but also because they are contributors.

While each student is required to perform 80 hours of community service over four years of high school, the Williams sisters volunteered 503 hours. From sports teams to student government, Rotary Interact Club to National Honor Society, each found interests to follow at Cristo Rey.

Like 100% of their Cristo Rey classmates, the girls have been accepted to college. Armed with a variety of scholarships, Aaliyah, Aleathea and Alexus also are Kauffman Scholars. Starting with the program in the sixth grade, the triplets benefitted from years of resources, support and the promise of college scholarships. With financial support from Kauffman Scholars and other scholarships totaling more than $200,000 for four years of college, the triplets most definitely are college bound.

In the fall, Alexus will attend Baker University while investigating career paths. At this time, she is undecided but is interested in education or engineering. Aleathea is off to the University of Missouri – St. Louis and gained a seat in the School of Nursing. Passionate about pursuing a career in child and family development, Aaliyah was admitted to Missouri State University in Springfield. College will be the first time that the girls will be apart.

The CDC documents only 119 triplet births per 100,000 live births. The sheer scarcity of triplets creates a stir.

“Being triple means living three lives at one time,” observed Aaliyah. “We each want different things out of life, but we have to consider each other.”

And, that they have done.

The girls were born in Chicago and moved to Kansas City while still in preschool. Raising triplets challenges parents to create order from chaos. For La’Shon Wofford, preaching the value of education to her daughters was second nature.

“Our mother came to Kansas City because she wanted a better life for us, which meant education,” said Alexus.

Before starting school, the girls recalled how their mother told them to follow instructions, to take turns, and not always expect to be the center of attention. On their first day of preschool at Douglas School, however, the media showed up to document the girls’ first day of school.

Aleathea recalled advice from her mother, “She encouraged us to explore all of our interests to help us really be sure of what we want to do with our lives.”

For high school, their mother chose Cristo Rey. Over time, the girls individually came to the same conclusion about their mother’s choice in high schools.

“As time passed, I became certain that Cristo Rey was the right fit for me,” said Aaliyah. “I started getting opportunities that my mother said would help me make choices.”

Each student at Cristo Rey works one day per week in a corporate setting. The program not only pays for approximately half of the cost of each student’s education but also exposes students to career possibilities and professionals who become role models and mentors.

“My sophomore and junior year, Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program placed me at the VA Medical Center. There, I learned that I wanted to be a nurse,” said Aleathea. “I seized after-school opportunities to participate in the Perry Initiative, a program that exposes young women to medicine and engineering, the UMKC Medical Academy, and the KU Nursing Academy.

Reflecting on summer internships with the City of Kansas City Bright Futures Program that exposed the sisters to the work of the city, Alexus said, “Aleathea networks really well. She’s not as shy as she seems and helped us win the internship.”

“I feel that we are seeds in a garden,” said Aaliyah. “We have experienced hardship but this is our time to bloom.”

Nodding her head, Alexus said, “We all ride the struggle bus but I am getting off at Baker University.”


About Cristo Rey Kansas City and the Class of 2015
Cristo Rey Kansas City is part of the Cristo Rey Network of 28 high schools across the United States. The schools aim to break the cycle of poverty through education and work study experience. Cristo Rey Kansas City provides a Catholic, college prep education enhanced by a corporate work study program. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, the school serves a culturally diverse student body with demonstrated economic need. Cristo Rey Kansas City’s Class of 2015 was awarded $577,610 in scholarships for its freshman year of college or more than $2.23 million over the course of four years.
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