This past Saturday on December 13th, Breakthrough high school students, middle school students and parents met at St. Margaret’s Tartan Field for the first Breakthrough SJC soccer tournament. The soccer tournament allowed students from all grade levels to spend time together despite attending different schools. One Breakthrough parent commented, “It is great that you are having this event and that the kids can come here and see each other.” Parents also joined in on the fun, cheering on their children from the sidelines.
The tournament began with students from Dana Hills High School playing against a team with students from San Juan Hills, St. Margaret’s, and Capistrano Valley High School. Both teams displayed copious amounts of enthusiasm and skill, but the team from Dana Hills took the win and advanced to the next round. After the high school game, 7th and 8th grade students from Marco Forster Middle School played against each other to win the middle school championship title. The 7th grade team snagged the win, surprising the high school students and the 8th grade team.
In the final round, the team from Dana Hills faced the team from Capistrano Valley High School. The final game ended in a tie and three students from each team participated in a penalty kick-off. The students from Capistrano Valley High School won the kick-off with two excellent penalty kicks and can now say they are the high school soccer tournament champions. In the end, what students enjoyed most was catching up with Breakthrough friends, Capistrano Valley High School sophomore Juan commented, “It was fun being together and seeing all of our friends from over the summer.” Thank you to all the students and parents who came to the tournament and helped make it a fun and successful event!
Friday evening, December 5th, twenty-four of our College Bound students went on a field trip to Cal State Fullerton. The trip began with a scavenger hunt where small groups of students explored the student services building, health center, event center, and even went inside the Humanities department to take pictures in college classrooms. After the scavenger hunt, Breakthrough students attended a panel featuring three current Cal State Fullerton students who are also members of the school’s Hermanos Unidos group: Lazaro Gonzalez, Angel Diaz and Edgar Ruiz. Similar to Breakthrough students, the members of Hermanos Unidos come from low-income, Spanish speaking families and will be the first in their families to graduate from a four year university.
The panel began with the college students answering questions about their experiences being first generation college students and how they got into a four-year college. They encouraged our students to work hard and aim for A’s in their high school classes and to not settle for less. The co-chair of Hermanos Unidos Lazaro Gonzalez advised students to “get involved with programs, go to after-school tutoring to get those good grades because it will help you get into a good school.” Lazaro’s point of view resonates with our program because we offer after-school tutoring twice a week for our College Bound students so they can get help to obtain those A’s and B’s.
During the question and answer portion, BTSJC sophomore Ivan asked, “do you think there is an equilibrium with spending time on academics and extracurricular activities?” Angel Diaz of Hermanos Unidos answered, “Yeah, definitely. Academics always come first, set that in your mind, always put that first. If you have to choose between practice or a big exam that you have to study for like a final or a midterm, go study for that final or midterm.” At the end of the day, students left Cal State Fullerton with greater knowledge of a local four year university and some sound advice from college students with similar background and experiences. Thank you to Lazaro Gonzalez, Angel Diaz, and Edgar Ruiz for taking the time to meet with BTSJC and for sharing your personal and academic experiences.