Monthly Archives: May 2016

Breakthrough Students Embark on Mammal Cruise

Breakthrough was recently sponsored by the Croul Family Foundation through the Adopt-A-Class program at the Ocean Institute. Saturday afternoon, Breakthrough students met up at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point for a marine mammal cruise. Joining us on the cruise was Dan Stetson, former Ocean Institute President and current Executive Director at The Nicholas Endowment.

The Adopt-A-Class program was established in 2001 and has served 10,000 underserved students in the 2015-2016 school year. Headed by Adopt-A-Class Manager Shira Greenbaum, students saw plenty of ocean life and were able to get some hands-on experience in taking and viewing samples under a microscope. According to Shira, “when [the Ocean Institute] started having sponsorship classes, it was great to see how excited the students were and for them to experience things for the first time.”

During the cruise, the students spotted a blue whale en route to Alaska swimming up from Baja California! They also saw a pod of hundreds of dolphins, sea lions, and various birds. The friendly staff at the Ocean Institute helped our students take samples of the sea floor and plankton while informing them on the various species of ocean animals and the importance of keeping our oceans clean.

Thank you to the Ocean Institute, the Croul Family Foundation, and The Nicholas Endowment for your generosity and support.

Breakthrough Students Receive Scholarship from Black and Latino Men Read


We are excited to announce that two of our very own Breakthrough SJC students have received scholarships from Black and Latino Men Read, a program that encourages young men surrounding Los Angeles to read. Entrants for the scholarship were required to write an essay about a book that impacted them in some way.

Victor Chavez, a freshman at San  Juan Hills High School won first prize at $500 and chose the book Me & Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. According to Victor, the book written about a man helping a girl who has cancer, “inspired me to help others and made me realize that some people are less fortunate and we need to help them.” Uriel Macias, also a freshman at San Juan Hills High School won third prize at $175 after reading and writing about Legend by Marie Lu. Both Victor and Uriel will be saving the scholarship money for college.

Thank you Black and Latino Men Read for encouraging young, male students to read. Congratulations to Victor and Uriel. Click here to read an article on the scholarship program published in the Los Angeles Times.

Breakthrough Participates in St. Margaret’s Day of Service

St. Margaret’s staff came together to give back to the community during St. Margaret’s Day of Service. Each staff member was given the option to choose from a handful of nonprofit organizations to volunteer with for the day. Breakthrough SJC joined in on the fun and was selected as one of the various Day of Service organizations. With finals just around the corner for Breakthrough SJC alumni now attending college, creating care packages seemed like the perfect way to spend our time.

Ten people from different St. Margaret’s departments gathered in the Upper School administration office to offer their day towards helping the alumni. In the morning, half of the team split up to shop for snacks, school related items, and feel good trinkets while the other half stayed back to print out some motivational quotes and decorate greeting cards and boxes. With everyone’s amazing team effort, Breakthrough SJC was able to send out 28 care packages to students at universities that include St. Olaf College, UC Davis, Claremont McKenna College, and Pitzer College.

We have been sponsored by St. Margaret’s for 10 years now and continue to be thankful for its generosity and continuous support. Thank you Amy Warren, Bryan Sullivan, Christee McCarthy, Elizabeth Cheney, Carol Keith, Andrea Chou, and Dallas Clemmons for donating your time and energy to our students. The care packages are already having a tremendous impact on our alumni as they finish finals.

Breakthrough Attends “Midori & The Planets” at The Segerstrom Center

Breakthrough SJC and Kinoshita Elementary School students recently attended the latest Pacific Symphony concert at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts through the Heartstrings program. The night kicked off with fun in the Segerstrom photo booth where students were able to take pictures with various planets of their choice.

Once all of Breakthrough was seated, all became quiet and the symphony started. Along with classics such as Clair de Lune, each musical piece depicted a different planet in our solar system. The students were in awe and fully captivated as the music flowed on. One Kinoshita student even said, “I’ve heard some of these songs before.”

We always enjoy opportunities to expose our students to the arts. A big thank you to Mary Hawkes and Rachel Schlesinger from Heartstrings for the generous ticket and transportation donation. We can’t wait to be back again!