We are excited to kick-off our In-Session program with 54 middle school students from Marco Forester Middle School! Based on student feedback from the summer, this year’s In-Session program focuses on tutoring and homework help. We have also added academic themes to each month of tutoring, ending in a big event. Some of the events taking place will be a science fair, spelling bee, and debate.
During In-Session, you can also see our “students teaching students” model at work: high school volunteers teach the 7th and 8th grade students. We currently have 27 high school volunteers from San Juan Hills, St. Margaret’s, Dana Hills, Capo Valley, and Santa Margarita High School, our largest group yet! Teachers co-teach small classrooms of about five students every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year. Some teachers have previous experience teaching with Breakthrough, either as intern teachers in the summer program or teachers in last year’s In-Session program. Nivin Singh, a St. Margaret’s student, said he came back to teach In-Session because he “made a real impact on students’ lives and saw a dramatic improvement in their scores.”
In-Session teachers Coral and Jassmin are not only returning teachers, but are Breakthrough students themselves. When asked why they decided to be In-Session teachers, both stated that their positive experiences as Breakthrough students motivated them to teach and inspire middle school students to go to college. Jassmin, an intern teacher from the summer program, said, “I did it for the students. I like getting to know them and motivating them so they can get to college,” adding, “I came from the same place and background and want to see them succeed.”
Wednesday evening, Director Lorena Martinez was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano. Rotary President, Lorinda Sloss, introduced Ms. Martinez to club members and announced that the SJC Rotary has added Breakthrough to its causes and will fund two scholarships for Breakthrough SJC students attending college. Ms. Martinez started the presentation by sharing her own story of community service as a Breakthrough SJC teaching fellow when she was in college. She explained that it was her positive experience with Breakthrough that encouraged her to work in education.
After the presentation, SJC Rotary Immediate Past President Dave Adams stood up and recalled the history of Breakthrough and how the program faced challenges at its inception, but now has proven to be an important staple of San Juan Capistrano. He added that the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano supports Breakthrough SJC’s work in the community. During the Q&A session, Relationship Manager Dee White from Farmers & Merchants bank said, “When we went to Visitors Day, we saw boys who want to be engineers and girls who like math. These students would probably not be thinking of these things or have the same opportunities” without Breakthrough.
Thank You to the members of the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano for generously providing two students with scholarship to fund their education and for your ongoing support of Breakthrough SJC. Together we will support students of San Juan Capistrano who are on a mission to be the first in their families to graduate from college!
Tuesday, October 7th, Stanford Admissions Representative Yanice Davis came to talk to Breakthrough students about college applications. Students began by sharing their top college choices and majors, even some of our middle school students shared their higher education aspirations!
Mr. Davis gave advice on how to turn life’s hardships and challenges into powerful personal statements. He went on to mention that students should be spending time researching and applying to scholarships as well as filling out FAFSA. As many parents also were in attendance, Mr. Davis praised them for their commitment to their children’s education and advised them to continue their involvement in the college application process.
He also highlighted the importance of students having a support system, including family members and the Breakthrough program. The session ended with a Q&A, with both students and parents asking questions about SAT scores, acceptance rates, and scholarships. The presentation was inspiring and helpful for Breakthrough seniors, who are currently applying to college. Thank you, Yancie Davis, for taking the time to meet with our students and for sharing your personal and professional advice.