Roni Margalit

Roni Margalit

1. Please tell me a little bit about your background! Where did you grow up, where did you attend high school, are you currently in college and if so where, what have been some subjects or potential careers you have been interested in, and how did you become interested in teaching?

I was born in Israel and my family moved to the US when I was 2 years old. I grew up for most of my life in the Bay Area of California, 20 minutes south of San Francisco. I attended Hillsdale High School there, in San Mateo, CA. I currently attend Macalester College in Saint Paul and am majoring in Sociology and Educational Studies. I wasn’t always interested in teaching; I thought for a long time that I wanted to be a lawyer or public defender in some capacity. I started working with students and realized that learning with students of all ages not only made me really happy, but is a sphere that could use a lot of patience and improvement. I love learning and always loved helping people learn, so it feels natural that this is where my path ended up!

2. How did you become aware of Breakthrough, and why did you decide to get involved as a Teaching Fellow?

My first year college roommate in Macalester College was a Breakthrough student and continued working during summers as a Teaching Fellow and during the year as a School Year Coach. I wanted to begin working with middle-to-high school aged students and she suggested that I join her during the year. I ended up getting more involved in Breakthrough, decided to continue, and applied to become a Literature Teaching Fellow!

3. In what ways has your teaching experience at Breakthrough helped you develop and grow as an individual?

I’m learning what aspects of teaching and maintaining interpersonal work relationships come naturally to me and what I still need to work on. Working through my weaknesses until they became strengths was necessary as I grew this summer. My students taught me daily about how to persist, how to remain true to myself, and how to have fun all the while!

4. What do you enjoy most about your job as a Teaching Fellow?

There are many things I enjoy about my job, but it ultimately revolves on being able to witness students engage with academic material critically and creatively and seeing the community that the students build together. There is so much support and they all hype each other up. It’s just fun!

5. Anything else you would like us to know about you or your experience as a Teaching Fellow with Breakthrough?

I have learned, grown, laughed, enjoyed, struggled, and persisted this summer! It was exhausting, energizing, and it gives me hope. I highly encourage any college or high school student considering teaching or wanting a challenge to try working at Breakthrough!

Raniya Abawari

Raniya Abawari

See what Raniya Abawari, a 7th grade BTC student attending Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented in St. Paul, has to say about Breakthrough in her interview below!

1. If someone had never heard of BTC, what is the one thing you would say to help them understand what BTC does?

It’s a fun learning environment where you can be yourself!

2. What motivated you to be a part of Breakthrough?

My brother and my sister are in Breakthrough and so I just did it and now I’m really glad that I signed up.

3. How has BTC impacted you?

I feel like it’s made me break out of my shell and it’s made me more extroverted because I’m usually an introvert; now I’m more outgoing.

4. Why have you stayed involved in BTC?

It’s just really fun and the teachers are so nice and everyone is really nice. There’s no one who’s mean. At school, there are some people who aren’t nice. But at Breakthrough everyone is nice and it’s just a good environment.

5. What is your favorite Breakthrough Code and why?

“Persist,” because even if things are hard you have to keep on going, you have to persist and keep going through it. I feel like you can use this code for life outside of Breakthrough, too.

6. If you could give Breakthrough a shoutout, what would it be for?

I would give Breakthrough a shoutout for helping me break out of my shell and for giving me nice teachers who are supportive!

7. Is there anything else you would want people to know about how you feel about Breakthrough?

It doesn’t sound super fun at first, because in the application it says you will have two hours of homework a night, but every moment of it is worth it. It takes a big part of your summer, but it’s all worth it, you should do it.

Shana Dukes

Shana Dukes

Check out what Shana Dukes, a 2018 Summer Session Teaching Fellow, has to say about Breakthrough Twin Cities!

1. What did you enjoy most about your job as a Teaching Fellow?

The thing I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to build relationships with my students. I became attached to the positive energy of the Breakthrough students. Every morning when the bus pulled up and my students got off, I knew that no matter how many hiccups I might experience, their smiles and good vibes would always bring me through.

2. Can you tell us about an experience working at Breakthrough that impacted you or sticks out in your mind?

I was sitting in my elective course and one of my students and I were joking back and forth. She looked at me and said, “Shana, I just feel like you know me, you just get who I am, you are like my best friend.” In that moment, everything that I had been doing seemed worth it – the lesson planning and staying up late. Being able to not only impact someone academically but personally made me feel like I had won the lottery. 

3. What advice or suggestions would you give for someone else who wants to get involved with Breakthrough or apply to be a Teaching Fellow?

When you are applying for Breakthrough, apply with the mindset that “I am going to be more than a teacher.” I say this because here at Breakthrough, we are more than teachers. We are teachers, friends, students, partners, and, most importantly, family. The Breakthrough Teaching Fellows Program is more than a summer job. This is an experience that will change your life.

4. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I see myself in the field of education. I’m not exactly sure in what capacity, but education is definitely where my heart is.

 

Jordan Hughes

Jordan Hughes

See what Jordan Hughes, another fabulous 2018 Summer Session Teaching Fellow, has to say about his experience at Breakthrough Twin Cities in his interview below!

1. Please tell me a little bit about your background! Where did you grow up, where did you attend high school, are you currently in college and if so where, what have been some subjects or potential careers you have been interested in, and how did you become interested in teaching?

I was born in Maryland but spent most of my childhood in rural southern Virginia and moved to the Twin Cities in middle school. I attended St. Paul Academy, where my dad was a teacher. After that, I went to Washington University in St. Louis, where I’ll be heading into my final year in August. I haven’t wanted to teach as a career, but I love working with students and young people and I think having teaching skills is essential to future advocacy. I’m hoping to go to law school after I graduate college and would love to be a public defender.

2. How did you become aware of Breakthrough, and why did you decide to get involved as a Teaching Fellow?

Breakthrough Twin Cities is an organization I’ve known about for a while and always held a lot of respect for – my dad always talked about teachers coming from it and a lot of my friends who study education apply to be Teaching Fellows. When I saw the opportunity for this summer, I decided to take a leap and try it out for myself – and I’m extremely grateful I did.

3. In what ways has your teaching experience at Breakthrough helped you develop and grow as an individual?

I’ve learned so much about leadership, management of groups and people, mentorship, and how to advocate on behalf of people I care about without cutting them slack or sacrificing their best interests for my attachments. I’ve learned to adapt the ways I explain and articulate myself, how to find energy from the little things in a day, and how to give and receive feedback in more productive ways.

4. Can you tell us about an experience working at Breakthrough that impacted you or sticks out in your mind?

After a few weeks, I showed up to class one day tired and flustered and clearly distracted by things going on outside of the classroom. My students picked up on it within the first few minutes of class, and one stopped me to ask if I was okay and if I needed anything. They then read my emotions and took it upon themselves to make sure the class went smoothly, and it became a successful and creative lesson despite my slow start. This really emphasized for me how strongly the relationships built at Breakthrough define the educational experience, and how willing the students are to make that two-way relationship strong.

5. What advice or suggestions would you give for someone else who wants to get involved with Breakthrough or apply to be a Teaching Fellow?

Learn as quickly as possible that if you want to be here, you will have to prioritize the students and the program in your mind, often above yourself. And it will be worth it, but it only works when everyone is committed to giving 200%.

Lindsay Pluger

Lindsay Pluger

Check out what Lindsay Pluger, our Dean of Faculty, had to say about her time at BTC’s 2018 Summer Session in her interview below! Lindsay is currently a Program Coordinator at College Possible, working to support College Possible coaches in the Metro Area. 

1. Please tell me a little bit about your background! Where did you grow up, where did you attend high school, are you currently in college and if so where, what have been some subjects or potential careers you have been interested in, and how did you become interested in teaching?

I grew up in Shawano, WI and attended high school there at Shawano Community High School. After high school I attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for my undergraduate degree. From there, I graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and moved to Minneapolis, MN to pursue a career in nonprofits. Since learning more about nonprofits and leadership development through various age groups, finding organizations whose mission I can align myself with has been the focal point when searching for careers.

2. How did you become aware of Breakthrough, and why did you decide to get involved as a Dean?

I had worked with another youth-focused nonprofit that has partnered with Breakthrough, so over the past three years I’ve learned more about Breakthrough and programming specifics through those partnerships and friends that have gotten involved and participated in Breakthrough.

3. What did you enjoy most about your job as a Dean?

One of the things I enjoyed most was working with the Program Interns (PIs) and supporting them throughout the summer on various “behind the scenes” tasks. It’s great to interact with current Breakthrough students in another way.

4. Can you tell us about an experience working at Breakthrough that impacted you or sticks out in your mind?

There are a lot of things that come to mind, but one of the main things is the Breakthrough Leaders Program Retreat. Being able to go on that retreat and see students connect and grow in another setting outside of the classroom was an incredible experience. The students participated in and facilitated leadership, team building, and reflection activities for their peers from their own site but also combined groups of both MPA & SPC sites.

5. Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?

Ten years down the line I see myself either continuing to work in nonprofits or working at a university in their academic success or international student services offices.

Ger Lor

Ger Lor is a BTC 9th grade student attending St. Paul Central High School. Check out what he has to say about Breakthrough in his interview below!

1. If someone had never heard of BTC, what is the one thing you would say to help them understand what BTC does?

BTC is a summer program that helps you prepare for college. And BTC will be with you until your graduate from high school.

2. What motivated you to be a part of Breakthrough?

My friends; they really wanted me to join and they told me it would be a great experience for me.

3. How has BTC impacted you?

I feel like BTC has made me more confident in myself and in sharing my ideas.

4. Why have you stayed involved in BTC?

Because I like the students here; they are not like the students in regular school. They’re not as rude and they’re more energetic, they want to be here.

5. What is your favorite Breakthrough Code and why?

“Be Grateful” – because being grateful shows that you care for someone. I like how the teachers and the students show each other that they are grateful for each other.

6. If you could give Breakthrough a shoutout, what would it be for?

I would like to give Breakthrough a shoutout for being with me and there for me even when I’m sad and don’t want to participate. Breakthrough pushes me to participate and put a smile on my face.

Breakthrough Twin Cities

2051 Larpenteur Ave E, Saint Paul, MN 55109, USA