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.

Ariana Hernandez

Ariana Hernandez

Ariana Hernandez was a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Twin Cities during our 2018 Summer Session! Check out her thoughts on Breakthrough and the Teaching Fellowship in her 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 grew up in Compton, California. I was accepted and was lucky enough to attend the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS). My school was designed to provide a rigorous education to students from all backgrounds, but especially those of us who came from impoverished neighborhoods. I graduated from CAMS in 2015 and enrolled in Middlebury College that same fall. Middlebury is a small liberal arts college in rural Vermont, and was very different from what I was used to. I am about to enter my last year at Middlebury and am trying to decide what career path I will choose. I am going to graduate with a Chemistry and Spanish double major and over the past three years I have been trying to decide if I want to go to medical school, pursue a Ph.D., or become a teacher. I have been working at an after school program for the past three years, and that is where my interest in teaching came from. It has been fun working with younger children, and that is something that I see myself doing in the possible near future.

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

My roommate was part of Breakthrough Miami last year and she told me that she loved the program, and it helped her decide that she would love to be an educator. I looked into the program and realized that I loved the mission and that Breakthrough would be an organization that I would be very happy to work with. I decided to get involved as a Teaching Fellow because I knew that this experience would allow me to experience what it might be like to be a teacher.

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

This experience has allowed me to become an even more patient individual. I like to think that I have a great amount of patience, but it takes a new level of patience when working with younger scholars. I am required to have patience when teaching, giving instructions, and when communicating. This experience has also given me the opportunity to grow as an educator. This is my first teaching experience, and this program has provided me with a very real insight as to what it is like to teach a class.

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

As a Breakthrough Leaders Program (BLP) teacher, I accompanied our students on their week-long BLP retreat. As a math teacher, it is difficult to build much of an emotional connection with students because of the subject matter, but in this week, I felt like that bond between my students and myself grew. It was very rewarding to see my students grow as leaders and connect with their emotions in ways that I had not seen before.

Eh Mu

Eh Mu

Meet Eh Mu, another Breakthrough Twin Citeis student! Eh Mu is in eighth grade and attends Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet. 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?

It’s a program that helps with your schoolwork and it helps you remember all the knowledge you had when you get back to school. It’s a lot of fun though, classrooms are different.

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

My cousin was doing it and I wanted to also!

3. How has BTC impacted you?

It kept me so organized, I was never this organized until this summer.

4. Why have you stayed involved in BTC?

One of the reasons is my parents, and I just wanted to try Breakthrough for the whole summer, you can’t just give up on the first day. And going for the whole summer was worth it.

5. What is your favorite Breakthrough Code and why?

“Persist,” everyday we have to persist up the stairs. Also “Strive to Understand,” when I do something I always want to make sure I know it and I want to get it, I don’t want to leave without understanding. “Strive to Understand” is really who I am.

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

Getting me out of my shell, in school I’m never this confident. I would never talk this much in school. And I learn new things every day in all my classes and I like that.

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

Breakthrough is fun, it makes summer go so fast, if you’re bored at home you should come to Breakthrough.

Breakthrough Twin Cities

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