Two Breakthrough SJC seniors, their parents, and Director Lorena Martinez attended a special SJC Rotary meeting last week. At this meeting, the SJC Rotary gave a total of $7,000 in scholarships to several local high school students, including two of our seniors. This is the first time Breakthrough SJC students have been awarded scholarships from the SJC Rotary and we are very pleased to have this opportunity. St. Margaret’s student Jassmin Del Rio and Capistrano Valley High School student Brian Salgado each received $1,500 scholarships which will be used to help fund their college education.
Both students gave speeches highlighting their experiences as first generation college students and why going to college is important to them. In his speech, Brian thanked the Rotary members and said, “I am really glad I was chosen and that Rotary believes in me.” He also announced that he will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall to study either Spanish or Journalism. Jassmin also displayed her gratitude saying, “As a first generation college student, it’s great to see that I not only have the support of my family and the Breakthrough community but the support of the entire San Juan community.” Jassmin in unsure of her college decision but will either attend the University of Southern California, Claremont McKenna College, or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Rotary president Dave Adams was happy to award the scholarship to Breakthrough SJC students saying, “The San Juan Capistrano Rotary has long been impressed with the Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano program and St. Margaret’s commitment to the entire community by hosting this program. We truly appreciate that the Breakthrough program is committed to match our motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and are thrilled to be associated with them.” We would like to give a special thank you to Lorinda Sloss, Roberto Casareto, and Dave Adams of the SJC Rotary for taking the lead on organizing these scholarships for Breakthrough SJC students. We appreciate their dedication to education in the San Juan Capistrano community and hope to continue our partnership.
This week Breakthrough SJC participated in Orange County Community Foundation’s first ever county-wide giving day, #iheartoc. Orange County Community Foundation’s goal was to raise $2 million in 30 hours for local nonprofits. All of the participating nonprofits together raised $1.8 million dollars.
We had many people liking and sharing our posts on Facebook and Twitter throughout the giving day and our organization raised $300 from individual donors! We would like to thank everyone who helped spread the word about donating during #iheartoc. A special thank you to everyone who donated and, of course, Orange County Community Foundation for creating and planning the giving day. We cannot wait to participate again next year!
Breakthrough held its second annual Family Night event at the Boys and Girls Club last Thursday, with over 90 guests in attendance. At Family Night, Breakthrough parents, students, donors, and advisory board members joined together to have a delicious home cooked dinner and celebrate the program’s recent successes.
The night also included two student speeches, one from Rey Cano, a current 7th grade student at Marco Forster Middle School and another from Maribel Castanon, a junior at Capistrano Valley High School. Rey gave a heartfelt speech, highlighting how his mother and two older sisters inspire him to want to go to college. Maribel shared her story of joining Breakthrough in 10th grade after volunteering as an after-school teacher in the middle school program. Breakthrough parent Larissa Sosa followed by giving an emotional speech on how the program has helped her son stay on the college path despite having some initial resistance and struggles.
Donors and advisory board members had a great time getting to know Breakthrough families while hearing about the program’s impact on the San Juan Capistrano community. Thank you to Breakthrough families for preparing the delicious food for the event, thank you Breakthrough students for helping with set up and clean up and thank you Boys and Girls Club for hosting our event. Last but not least, thank you donors and advisory board members for continuously supporting Breakthrough SJC! Our program would not be possible without your support!
Current Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano and St. Margaret’s senior, Rolando Perez has recently been selected as an Honorary Certificate Recipient for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for the San Diego region. The prestigious prize recognizes local high school students for their efforts to improve race relations in their communities. Rolando applied to the Princeton Prize after Breakthrough SJC Assistant Director Alex Serna, alerted him of the opportunity and explained his extensive work with St. Margaret’s TIDE (Tartan Inclusivity and Diversity Education) program. As a leader in TIDE, Rolando has implemented initiatives to promote discussions on inclusivity and diversity at his school.
“The local committee was very impressed by Rolando’s work. We trust that you are as excited as we are about his selection,” said Co-Chair of San Diego Committee for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Richard Winchester.
Additionally, Rolando has been accepted into six four-year universities: Bates, Pitzer, Occidental, Lewis & Clark, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Merced. He plans on attending Pitzer College and is looking forward to “greater learning opportunities with professors who have achieved a lot in their field and preparing for a career.”
Congratulations Rolando on winning the Princeton Prize and your college acceptances!