Hello everyone, thank you for coming to the annual Breakthrough Gala. My name is Amrin, I’m a current 12th-grade student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. And I’m a part of the Cambridge Site. I’m so happy to announce that I will be going to Northeastern next year and I truly, genuinely could not have done it without Breakthrough and all its amazing staff. 

Like most Breakthrough students, I joined the summer before 7th grade. I spent my time wandering through the hallways, trying to figure out where my classes were. Mornings were bright, loud, and chaotic, cheers greeted us the second we got off the big yellow bus. It was a whole new community of young educators who loved to learn and were excited to teach. I was introduced to spirit sticks and Breakthrough lore. We went on adventures with the superheroes from the math department and explored the world of poems from our English and Social studies Teaching Fellows. Our science department never failed to show us the craziest of experiments. Despite the energy being akin to a summer camp, education was everywhere, and we were constantly learning. 

In the Fall, I will be pursuing a stem major in college, but one thing to note is, I hate math. Well, more like hated. I could never understand math, it made me feel unintelligent. Math wasn’t something that you could argue was right, it’s something you had to prove. But Breakthrough changed that. A Teaching Fellow name Tanisha, who herself was a former Breakthrough student helped me realize math wasn’t this evil ultra cynical terrible villain in my life, and that it could be fun. She stressed the importance of understanding the basics and rules of algebra, not just memorizing and solving every problem on autopilot. Though she probably doesn’t know this, I really appreciate her for helping me get over my hatred of math. I don’t think I would ever have had the courage to pursue a stem major had I not learned math with Tanisha.

My parents are immigrants. My father arrived to New York and somehow made his way to Boston. He worked days and nights, just to send money back home. Later my mother came to the U.S to join my father.  My mother, an incredibly intelligent and educated woman back in Bangladesh was suddenly considered someone unintelligent in the U.S., less than if you will. Two people, who came to the U.S. for the American dream, trying to raise a child in an unfamiliar world. It was not easy. Many of my peers in school have parents that are professors, teachers, or have gone through the U.S. education system themselves. My parents did not, which is part of the reason why subjects like math were so difficult for me. Many of my teachers failed to realize that there were educational supports some of us didn’t receive from home. This neglect further increased the difficulties of learning in school. But the goal of Breakthrough was to combat this neglect. Breakthrough, is a sort of shining light that provided me the tools to learn, understand my education, and be on the same level as my classmates. 

I know some people may say Cambridge doesn’t really need support for their students, because of our numerous opportunities, but I don’t think anyone realizes how severe the polarization and disparities are between high-income families versus low-income families. It is difficult to live in Cambridge, and it is even harder to keep up with your peers when they have personal tutors, extra support from their parents, and even special attention from educators. Breakthrough bridges that gap between students who have many resources and students who don’t, while setting them up for a future of success. As I continue on with my educational career at Northeastern, I can confidentially say that I am living evidence of that. And with Breakthrough’s help I will not be the last.

Thank you.