Website   About Breakthrough   Donate   Students   Teachers   Contact  
Aaron Velez (right) with fellow Breakthrough student, Kobe Kezer in 2011.
Aaron's College Admission Essay
Aaron Velez attended three Breakthrough summers in middle school before moving to a different town in New Hampshire.  Breakthrough arranged a college counseling meeting for Aaron and his mother this past fall.  We didn't hear from him again until last month when he shared the news of his acceptance to Boston University, his first choice school, with a $50,000 per year scholarship.  Aaron's remarkable college admission essay is below, used with permission.

I was born to a teenage mother and a drug-addicted 
father. This piece of my history will never change, parts of it define who I am, but growing up in this life has overwhelmingly been an experience I wouldn't change. I've seen struggle, heartache and depression, but I've also seen triumph, unity and love. Growing up amidst many of the deeper trials life can throw has made me see what's important and how the decisions made when you're young can affect the rest of your life. I've always felt that I had two choices, I could either bemoan the opportunities my parents weren't able to give me, or I could prove the world wrong and strive to be more. 
Before I continue, I should add that my Dad has been clean for 16 years and started a career as a truck driver, my Mom went to night school and started her own piano business, they got married and I have 3 younger brothers. I guess we are some sort of success story now! But it seems that no matter how much distance I put between past and present, the one thing that never changes is the feeling of being out of place. This has certainly been one of the most difficult aspects of being born to teen parents. The differences between myself and my peers are glaringly obvious at times, especially since my parents moved us into a 600 square foot home in one of the wealthiest towns in the state so my brothers and I could go to good schools. This puts us in a category of 'different' that a lot of people don't understand. Yet different is also just another way of saying unique and I think being unique is one of the best things about me. I want my unique qualities and different experiences to set me apart and drive me towards my goals, and I have big goals!

College has always been my greatest aspiration. I hope to someday receive a Ph.D. in my field of study. I'm still discovering the road to that destination, but I've been dreaming about it since I was a small child. This dream began as an incredible love of learning. I have this unquenchable curiosity and a desire to know more. I read and search and think and ask and I remember! 

I was able to apply to a special program called Breakthrough Manchester in 6th grade. This program was designed to help smart kids who were at-risk in the city where I lived. I was accepted and for 3 summers I dedicated my free time to education. I took my first chemistry course, learned about biology, physics and math, all while increasing my love for the STEM fields. I also met many kindred spirits in the young teachers and students learning alongside me. I came out of this program knowing that I never wanted my education to end!

I am incredibly excited about the idea of going to college. No one in my family: and this includes parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have completed a normal college experience. I will be the first person in generations of my family on both sides to graduate from college. This is exhilarating but also intimidating. My biggest motivation is the idea that I could use my passion for knowledge and my experiences with limited opportunities to make my dreams a reality. I want to do more, I want to be more. I believe that by pursuing a higher education, I can make a difference.

Breakthrough Hires 32 Summer Staff
Our Summer Staff is Complete!
After reviewing hundreds of applications and conducting dozens of interviews, we have selected our full staff for summer 2017, including Instructional Coaches, Teaching Fellows, Program Assistants, an Operations Coordinator and a Dean of Students. 

Host a Breakthrough Teacher this Summer!
Thirteen Teachers Need Homestays
At Breakthrough, we hire exceptional college undergraduates from across the country to teach limited opportunity middle school students in our award-winning Students Teaching Students summer program. While many of our Teaching Fellows live locally, we seek home stay placements for those teachers who are out-of-town and need a place to call home for the summer.

Our Teaching Fellows are always bright undergraduates, eager to make a difference in the lives of children and ready to grow as teachers and leaders. They are interested and interesting people. Please consider being a homestay family for a Teaching Fellow this summer!  

Thank You Merrimack High School!
Dodgeball and Literature?
Thanks to the students and advisers of Merrimack High School's National Honor Society, Breakthrough has a set of literature books for our rising 9th graders this summer! Students donated the proceeds of a dodgeball tournament to Breakthrough, and copies of Farewell to Manzanar are on the way!  Thank you!
Quick Links

Pipelines and Pathways
Breakthrough Manchester is a critical link in the PATHWAY to college for bright, limited opportunity students, and a PIPELINE for the development of the next generation of excellent teachers.  

Connect with us, so that we can better connect these pathways and pipelines for students!

Our Mission
Our Vision
All young people, regardless of circumstance, can achieve their full potential as students, teachers and leaders.

Our Mission
The dual missions of Breakthrough Manchester are to launch promising Manchester middle school students, particularly those with limited opportunities, on the path to college while inspiring high school and college students to pursue careers in education.

We do this by:
* Recruiting and selectively admitting high-potential sixth graders with limited opportunities from Manchester middle schools for a tuition-free, three-year program
* Providing three rigorous, joyful academic summers and school year supports to admitted students during their middle school years
* Connecting ninth graders with the Breakthrough College-Bound program at Southern NH University to create a seamless pipeline of opportunity 
* Recruiting, training, mentoring and supporting college students, and some local high-achieving high school students, as excellent teachers
* Engaging a broad array of stakeholders in understanding, promoting, funding and championing both missions of Breakthrough. 

With thanks,

Becky Berk
Executive Director
Breakthrough Manchester