Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano today announces the appointment of Tania Solano Cervantes as Assistant Director Middle School and Early High School programs, overseeing all elements of the academic enrichment program for its students in grades 7 – 10, beginning June 13.
As a longtime Breakthrough SJC participant, Ms. Solano Cervantes brings unique skills, insights and experience to this role. Growing up in Dana Point, she attended Marco Forster Middle School and graduated from Dana Hills High School. Ms. Solano Cervantes is an alumna of Breakthrough SJC as a student and has served for the past four years in leadership and mentoring roles, as a tutor, summer volunteer coordinator, teaching fellow and dean of students.
“Tania is a Breakthrough SJC success story in every way. She has quite literally walked in the very same path as our students and teaching fellows. She brings extraordinary perspective, personal understanding of our local community and organizational culture, and possesses a profound passion for the power of education and importance of equal access,” said Breakthrough SJC Director Elizabeth Eusebio. “We are incredibly proud and excited to have Tania joining Breakthrough as a full-time member of the team helping to guide the program and further mentor our students with her deep knowledge and exceptional talent and skills.”
Before starting her new role in June, Ms. Solano Cervantes will be among the graduating Class of 2022 from the University of California, Los Angeles, earning Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in labor studies, with academic honors.
“Breakthrough has had a tremendous impact on my educational journey—from my years as a middle school student of the summer program to now. I am just a few weeks away from being the first in my family to graduate from college and breaking the cycle of poverty for my family. This is truly an indication of the impact that Breakthrough has on first-generation students like me,” she said. “I am honored that Breakthrough SJC has trusted me as the right person to assume the role of Assistant Director of Middle School and Early High School for Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano.”
Ms. Solano Cervantes’ relevant experience extends beyond Breakthrough, as well. Since 2020, she has served as an AB540 project director at UCLA for IDEAS (Improving, Dreams, Equity, Access, & Success), a support program for immigrant students. She also competed coursework in immigrant rights, labor and higher education. Both of these experiences have further shaped her perspective, skills and expertise to support first-generation students and immigrant-based, working-class communities.
St. Margaret’s Director of Equity and prior Breakthrough SJC director Victor Cota said, “One of my favorite things about St. Margaret’s is our commitment to the local community, especially through our outreach programs, Special Camp and Breakthrough SJC. Tania’s hiring is yet another incredible example of St. Margaret’s and Breakthrough’s missions in action. Seeing Tania grow in the program as a student into the amazing adult and educator she is today, is a full-circle moment for me and the work we do through Breakthrough. As Tania takes over the programming for Breakthrough’s seventh through 10th graders, she will tap into her own lived experiences and guide these young people on their own paths to and through college as an authentic role model they can look up to. This is exactly what Breakthrough is all about!”
Ms. Solano Cervantes is passionate about Breakthrough’s purpose and impact on young people. “Coming from an immigrant, working-class background, I have learned to overcome the systemic barriers that made my pursuit of higher education difficult. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of communities like Breakthrough, which have paved a pathway for my success. The commitment that Breakthrough SJC demonstrated to me, and countless other students, has ultimately instilled in me the values and passion for achieving social justice and advocating for educational equity,” Ms. Solano said.
“As the new Assistant Director, I will continue to ensure that underrepresented students are not left outside the pathway for higher education by addressing the barriers that except them, and making all students and their families feel valued and included. I look forward to working with staff, students, and families as we continue serving and empowering the next generations of Breakthrough college graduates.”