Website   About Breakthrough   Donate   Students   Teachers   Contact  
Julian Alonso now
Julian Alonso in sixth grade
Then and Now
We're beginning a Then and Now series as Summerbridge/Breakthrough Manchester begins its 25th year!

Then: Julian was accepted to Summerbridge as a bright and curious fifth grader.

Now : Julian is the Assistant Running Backs Coach for the Wingate University Bulldogs football team in North Carolina and is pursuing his Master's degree in sports management. The Founding General Director of Audible Football Camp, an international non-profit providing free football camps outside of the U.S., Julian is also the Associate Director of 4th and 1 Football Camp in Jacksonville, FL for underrepresented student-athletes.

In His Own Words: "My family moved to the United States from Colombia when I was very young. I attended Bakersville Elementary School in Manchester and never even considered that I might attend college. Breakthrough (then Summerbridge) changed my life. I was encouraged to think about my future, about college, about options and opportunities. The whole community of students and teachers was amazing - fun, positive, hard-working, goal-oriented. The program opened my eyes and began to open doors. They even had me write a draft of a college admission essay in middle school! I was challenged, supported, pushed and mentored. You are changing lives here, and I am so grateful to have had Breakthrough in my own life. I am sure I wouldn't be where I am today without it."

Tell us your Then and Now!  We'd love to share your story. 
Save the Date - May 24, 2016
May 24th, 2016 - The 25th Anniversary Party!

Joel Vargas Achievement Fund
Breakthrough Manchester students in middle school and high school can apply for financial assistance from the JVAF, an endowed fund established in honor of Joel Vargas, to take advantage of academic and enrichment opportunities that may otherwise be beyond their reach.

In Joel's Own Words: Summerbridge/Breakthrough made me realize that young people are capable of much more than adults usually give them credit or responsibility for.
  • As a student growing up in the program in San Francisco, I was asked to work harder and do tougher intellectual work than I had ever been pushed to do up to that time in my education. I learned the meaning of the words "dig deeper," when doing my research, revising my papers, and trying on new ideas.
  • As a young teacher in that same program, I was given responsibility for teaching and supporting the development of "kids" just a few years younger than I. Though demanding, it felt natural, and I started to understand the contours of my vocational calling.
  • As a young director in, then-Summerbridge now-Breakthrough Manchester, I had my first "real job," but the word "job" didn't describe the dynamism in each day and my ongoing, fast, often arduous learning. The program continued to stretch my problem solving and interpersonal skills.
  • Between the time of my years as a teacher and director, the program nationally had given increasing responsibility for the planning and design of the summer program to its high school- and college-aged faculty. They stepped up to the challenge and amazed me year after year with their passion, smarts, imagination, and teamwork.
  • Their students adored them and would do anything asked, showing up day after day to work hard during summers, after school, and on weekends. And the staff would do anything for them - demonstrating the mutually reinforcing power of the Breakthrough tenet, "students teaching students."
Quick Links

Pipelines and Pathways
Breakthrough Manchester is a critical link in the PATHWAY 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!

In my current work promoting the creation and expansion of a variety of strategies that raise educational attainment, I always try to remember these experiences. Where too many schools enable young people to take the path of least resistance and avoid positive risk taking, I try to promote strategies that place and engage young people on the steepest possible learning curve. With the support of strategies like those used at Summerbridge/Breakthrough, I have seen them climb and reach extraordinary heights.

Then and Now: Joel Vargas was the first Summerbridge graduate (San Francisco, 1979) to serve as a Summerbridge site director (Manchester, 1992-1996.)  Joel also served on the The Derryfield School Board of Trustees from 1998-2001.  Currently, as Vice President of Jobs for the Future, Joel leads the work of JFF's High School Through College team and researches and advises on state and federal policies to promote improved high school and postsecondary success for underserved students. Dr. Vargas is coeditor of two books, and in 2005 he was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of "Higher Education's Next Generation of Thinkers." He received a B.S. in journalism from Boston University and an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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
* Recruiting, training, mentoring and supporting college students, and some local high-achieving high school students, as excellent teachers
* Connecting with similar programs serving Manchester high schools to create a pipeline of opportunity for Breakthrough students as they enter ninth grade
* Engaging a broad array of stakeholders in understanding, promoting, funding and championing both missions of Breakthrough. 

With thanks,

Becky Berk
Executive Director
Breakthrough Manchester