John Nguyen, Harding High School junior, has been a member of the BTC community since the summer before his seventh grade. For John, BTC offers academic rigor and social-emotional support, as well as a real sense of community. “My favorite part of Breakthrough is the camaraderie and friendly environment. I have made lifelong friends through the program. The program is closely-knit, and all the staff are student advocates.”
John has taken full advantage of everything the Breakthrough community has to offer. With a flawless GPA, National Honor Society membership, and a host of academic awards, John is thriving in his International Baccalaureate Scholar Program at Harding High School. Outside of the classroom, John continues to impress with his dedication to clubs and groups he is passionate about. Whether leading student council sessions, performing with VocalEssence Singers of this Age Youth Choir, solving complex problems on the varsity math team, or competing at varsity swim meets, John succeeds in any environment.
Reflecting on the impact that BTC has had on him personally, John recalls using Breakthrough’s “growth mindset” when trying out for the Harding swim team. “Coming into high school, I had not participated in sports before and I was labeled as unathletic. Despite this, I joined the swim team as a freshman, went to all the practices, used my coaches’ feedback, and pushed myself. I was able to make the varsity team during my freshman year!” John notes that Breakthrough’s emphasis on constantly striving to improve and progress helped him in this endeavor and others.
More recently, John completed a summer internship with Xcel Energy, assisting the Manager of Community Relations. John had an opportunity to present on nuclear energy and its environmental impacts to Xcel Energy executives, as well as discuss renewable energy sources with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and the Saint Paul City Council. John also served as the point of contact for St. Paul’s North End residents as they fundraised to install alley lights to prevent crime.
As a high school junior, John is excited to start his individualized college counseling with BTC. In regards to the support that BTC has offered him, John says, “I’m very thankful to the program for guiding me these past five years, and for serving me, and hundreds of other students, at no cost.”