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Breakthrough News 4

Fall 2016

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Join the Fun!

It's not too late to join the fun at Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s annual Are You Smarter than a Breakthrough Student? event on October 6th at the Computer History Museum. This is our one big fundraising event of the year, and it's a blast!

The evening features a lively competition of wits where teams battle it out in a middle school academic trivia contest. After two fast-paced question rounds, covering everything from science and math to literature and history, the winning team climbs on stage for a head-to-head championship round against our highly talented Breakthrough students. And get set, because our students are ready! 


So, join us in supporting hard-working students like Albin, Leo, and Arianna, proud members of Breakthrough’s Class of 2016 -- and all the classes coming up behind them. Because of you, Breakthrough students are defying the odds every day.


Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Other underwriting opportunities are available as well. Please contact Director of Development Ana Cruz if you have questions. (


Kim Luong - Breakthrough Class of 2016

A New Chapter Begins

Kim Luong

Over the last few weeks, Breakthrough’s Class of 2016 arrived on college campuses across the U.S., eager to begin an exciting new chapter in their educational journeys. Recently, we had the chance to check in with Kim Luong during her very first days at UC San Diego. Kim graduated from Archbishop Mitty High School in June and is now the first in her family to attend a four-year university. She spoke at our Senior Celebration about the road ahead for Breakthrough graduates, saying, “I’m ready for this new adventure. We all are! Let’s never forget what we have accomplished here together and what we are capable of doing in the future.”

An excerpt of our conversation with Kim follows:

Breakthrough Silicon Valley: Congratulations on this big milestone! How’s it going so far?

Kim Luong: Thanks! My mom, and aunt and uncle helped me unpack the first day. Then I had two full days of orientation. Now, we have some free time to explore before classes start.

BSV: How does it feel to finally be stepping on campus as a college student?

KL: It feels surreal almost. During orientation, you have to be your best self, 24/7. And not having a core group [of friends] yet, it’s a little overwhelming. But it’s new and exciting too! And I’m looking forward to starting classes and getting to know people better.

BSV: What’s one of your favorite moments so far?

KL: A funny thing happened yesterday. My roommate wanted to make cookies. When we got back from the store, we realized we’d forgotten half the ingredients. So we ended up knocking on doors to ask for ingredients. The whole thing became a collaborative effort between about 20 people. The cookies burned. And they didn’t rise. They didn’t even taste like cookies. But it was a start toward making new friends. And afterward, a bunch of us went to the beach!

BSV: Has there been anything surprising?

KL: Living in a university apartment – it’s a little further from other freshmen, but the rooms are really nice. Also, the campus is really big. From one end to the other, it takes an hour to walk. You can get lost.

BSV: What classes are you taking?

KL: Sociology, International Relations/Poli Sci, Spanish, and a writing class, called something like the “Subversion of Love and Poetry.” We’re on the quarter system so I know time will fly by. Midterms are in just a few weeks.

BSV: What are you looking forward to most?

KL: I’m excited to see what the International Relations/Poli Sci class is like – since that’s my planned major. And I look forward to exploring different classes and seeing where I want to focus academically.

BSV: Is there anything you learned at Breakthrough that you think will come in handy during these first weeks?

KL: Breakthrough helped me become a lot more confident – really emphasizing communication skills and people skills like hand-shaking and looking people in the eye. You’d be surprised how many people have shaken my hand since I got here!

BSV: What would you say to Breakthrough supporters about how you are doing?

KL: Breakthrough helped me get into a really good college. I couldn’t have done it without Breakthrough. And it wasn’t just academic help, Breakthrough taught me to not be afraid to push myself. It helped me grow. Really, it was lots of little things that together made a huge difference in my life.

To echo her words from June, Kim truly is ready for what lays ahead. Thanks to the generous support of Breakthrough donors like you, Kim and the entire Breakthrough Class of 2016 are embracing new challenges, as they shape a future they envision.      

Back to Breakthrough

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Fall is filled with new beginnings for students: new teachers, new classrooms, new routines. And now that our students are settled in back at school, they're ready to begin a new year at Breakthrough, too. We're excited to welcome them back, and we’ve been busy getting our classrooms ready! 


Our Middle School Program staff, David Tarula and Stephanny Ledezma, have created an engaging sequence of lessons for the year focused on building math and reasoning skills, plus those we like to call the “3 Cs” – communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Together, these crucial skills promote a growth mindset and foster student success in school and beyond.


Breakthrough students meet twice each week after school for hands-on classroom activities lead by trained high school and college students through our students-teaching-student model. This fall, we made some changes to better serve our students and families. While 7th grade students engage in structured classroom activities during the first semester, our 8th graders will participate in one-on-one meetings with Breakthrough staff. One-on-ones focus on the needs of individual students to ensure they have the support to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. By creating a safe space for students to freely express themselves, they can take time to reflect, receive guidance, and craft personalized action plans with their support team. During second semester the schedule flips – with one-on-one meetings for 7th graders and classroom activities for 8th grade students.


Also new this fall, our ground-breaking partnership with Santa Clara University expands as we place SCU Liberal Studies students into Breakthrough classrooms as after-school program facilitators. We are excited to offer these outstanding students authentic teaching experiences to prepare them as future educational leaders.


Breakthrough’s innovative After-School Program is made possible again this year through your generosity. Thank you for believing in Breakthrough’s mission, and helping us provide the resources our students need to be successful.

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Breakthrough Silicon Valley
1635 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126
United States

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