A Roseville Area High School and St. Olaf College alum, David Pellegrini discovered Breakthrough as a freshman in college. David knew he wanted to spend his summer doing something that would make an impact, but exactly what eluded him. An older cousin, teaching in the Twin Cities, encouraged David to learn more about the Breakthrough Collaborative and consider becoming a Teaching Fellow. In David’s words, “The help and guidance from the coaches seemed very valuable and like it would be a beneficial way to spend my summer.”
David joined BTC for the summer of 2015 teaching eighth grade chemistry. He enjoyed the Teaching Fellowship so much that he returned for the summer of 2016 and taught literature in the Breakthrough Leaders Program (BLP). Teaching over two summers offered the added benefit of a longitudinal relationship with students and seeing them grow.
Now an Associate at the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting company, David acknowledges that Breakthrough staff were helpful in providing advice and guidance as he considered options post-college. Reflecting on his experience at Breakthrough, David says, “The Teaching Fellowship was very foundational and helped me define who I am. I learned how to be confident when there is not necessarily clarity in a given situation and how to move forward, using my intuition as a guide. The skills I learned working in the classroom translate to how I approach my job today. I also improved my skills in communication, writing, and presentation. I still use the teaching techniques I learned at Breakthrough to structure my presentations.”
Since his first summer at Breakthrough, David planned to make a gift to BTC once he landed a job out of college. The impact that Breakthrough had on Teaching Fellows and students inspired him to pay it forward. “BTC is such an important program for me, and I buy into the program’s approach and vision. Donating was a very logical decision.”
For David, the most important work that Breakthrough does is getting students into college and giving them daily confidence. Breakthrough prepares students for success by “helping them find their identity and learning how to find their way.”
David plans to further his involvement with BTC through volunteerism.