As the only Catholic school in the 25 counties of the diocese, Christ the King Cathedral School, pre-K through 12th grade, plays an important role in educating future leaders of the Church. Principal Christine Wanjura, a former teacher, is determined to make the school accessible and inclusive. “My goal is to never turn away a child who wants a Catholic education,” she said.
Having grown up in a small Hispanic Catholic community in Texas, she is familiar with the challenges of a small rural parish and the benefits of diversity. She wants the school to reflect the demographics of the diocese, which is primarily Hispanic. Students come from as far as 70 miles away and even with a modest tuition, most receive financial aid.
During her tenure, enrollment has grown by 20 percent. In 2004, she reopened the school’s high school; that year its graduating class was two students and the 2020 class will have 28 graduates.
“Christine Wanjura can be credited with not only sustaining the school but growing its enrollment, reputation and stature during her more than 20 years at Christ the King,” said Bishop Robert Coerver, of Lubbock, “What started as a parish school has become a magnet for all Catholics in the South Plains of Texas. More than 60 percent of students are non-parishioners.”
Wanjura’s mission is to ensure students have a positive, well-rounded experience at school. Classes begin with prayer, an all-school Mass is held every Friday and community service projects are integrated into the learning.
She is also Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Lubbock and works with many small parishes to create after-school programs. Additionally, she was recently named as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Amarillo also. “As a minister in a rural diocese with limited connections to other Catholic schools, I feel the challenge to explore the best means of discipleship and formation to people in all corners of our diocese; not just in the epicenter who are blessed with the opportunity of a Catholic school,” she said. “This has led me to explore not only after-school opportunities, but also early childhood development and faith formation programs.”
Catholic Extension has financially supported the school superintendent position in Lubbock since 2001. In addition, it has funded an educational program for infants and toddlers at Christ the King.
“Christine’s efforts help to assure the future of our Catholic faith community,” said Christy Duran, business and development director at the school. “She has a servant’s heart with a mission to care for some of the least among us, our children. She strives for excellence, holding herself to a standard that we should all reach for—to be more Christ-like to others.”