De La Salle North Catholic High School is the only school in the Pacific Northwest with a corporate work study program. Students work one day per week to gain real-life work experience and help offset the cost of tuition.

In March 2020, when students began online learning and could no longer go into their jobs, GBD Architects supervisors Michael Coon and Stephanie Morales decided to try mentorship in a virtual setting. GBD’s student worker, sophomore Marelynn de Jesus, was excited by the idea. 

“Since a very young age I have been fascinated by architecture, so being given the opportunity to work for a company like GBD is more than I could ask for,” Marelynn said.

The trio set up weekly virtual lessons.

“We couldn’t help her practice architecture, but we could teach her about architecture, something we don’t always have time to do in the office,” said Coon.

Lessons included color theory, influential women and minorities in architecture, Black Lives Matter and architecture, and different architecture disciplines.

The group continued the hourlong lessons throughout the summer in the evenings because all of them wanted to keep going.

“Marelynn is committed,” Morales said. “The amount of effort she’s put in is absolutely amazing. She’s given us ideas of what she’d like to learn, which really shows her interest level. It’s been great to see her develop.” 

“Marelynn is driven,” Coon added. “She hasn’t disappointed. We’re excited to see what she’s capable of next. She will go into college like a rock star.” 

“The corporate work study program community has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the profession I one day hope to achieve,” Marelynn said.


De La Salle North Catholic High School

7528 N Fenwick Ave.

Portland 97217


Grades: nine-12

Enrollment: 280 

Tuition: $2,995 per student

92% of students receive financial aid

No student is turned away because of an inability to pay

Applications due: Feb. 19 

Every student works one day a week at more than 90 local companies

100% of the class of 2020 was accepted to college

New campus opening at St. Charles Church in the Cully Neighborhood, September 2021