Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano is in its 14th year providing academic enrichment opportunities and support for highly motivated students under-represented in higher education from in and around San Juan Capistrano.
Those opportunities continue to expand, as are the number of students taking part. Breakthrough is currently serving 230 students from middle school through college in the tuition-free program founded, hosted and sponsored by St. Margaret’s.
Breakthrough’s six-week intensive summer session wrapped up this week with a record-high 134 students grades 7-9 participating, led by 24 teaching fellows and five junior teachers. This summer, students had experiential learning opportunities around environmental conservation, marine biology and art, participating in a STEAM lesson hosted by The Ocean Institute and Lagunas Art Museum and going on field trips to the California Science Center, Los Angeles Museum of Art and The Ocean Institute.
“This summer’s theme was, ‘Our Earth, Our Future’ so students learned about sustainable practices, incorporating reusing and recycling into various aspects of the program,” Breakthrough SJC Director Alex Serna said.
Of the teaching fellows, 30 percent are Breakthrough SJC college students giving back to the program. That includes two college support interns, Citlali Perez and St. Margaret’s alumnus Jaime Del Rio ’18, who provide information and support for students starting down the path toward college.
In addition, Breakthrough SJC also offers twice-weekly tutoring during the school year for middle school students, weekly tutoring sessions for high school students, and college counseling support for students and parents during the college application process.
In addition, Breakthrough recently launched its College Access and Completion program, providing a host of new support services and resources for Breakthrough SJC college students. This program helps Breakthrough students with financial aid, resource identification on campus and connections to summer internship opportunities to help keep them on track to graduate.
“When we make the promise to a new grade 7 Breakthrough student, now we can authentically say we commit to supporting them on their journey until they graduate college. We will be with them until they achieve their dream,”Mr. Serna said.