Pausing to acknowledge Breakthrough’s 30th anniversary year is bittersweet. I am so incredibly proud of this program that has been such an important part of my life AND a little resentful of the reminder of just how old I am these days! I’ve been involved with Breakthrough since 1994 and have seen, first-hand, how this joyful, intentional, and transformative community impacts the lives of students and teachers.

I fell in love with science at Breakthrough. I found my passion for teaching at Breakthrough. I even found my wife at Breakthrough! As I enter my 15th year as a teacher in Boston, there isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t think of the lessons I learned as part of this family.

28 years ago, a very enthusiastic Breakthrough Program Director walked into my classroom pitching a summer program. Her excitement was hard to ignore, and my best friend and I both applied. That first summer program did not disappoint. I remember a field trip we took in my Physics Rockets class – a T ride to calculate the train’s speed based on the number of lights we passed in 30 seconds and the distance between the lights. It was like getting secret inside information, and it framed both learning and science in a way I had never conceived of before.

After that first summer, I knew I wanted to be like those teachers. This fall marked my 15th in the classroom, and each day I make sure to bring the energy, spirit, and love that first attracted me to Breakthrough. I frame every lesson in a way that would appeal to 11-year-old me and am always thinking about how to replicate that “secret inside information” feeling of discovery that makes learning so exciting.

I know my story isn’t unique. For 30 years, now across three cities, Breakthrough has been making learning exciting for students and inspiring undergrads to take their place in the front of classrooms. There are thousands of stories just like mine – of growth, community, joy, and Breakthrough spirit. As a Breakthrough Board Member, I also know that our successes don’t happen without a broad community of supporters sharing in the work and celebrating our wins from near and far. Thank you for being such a valuable part of the Breakthrough community.

We look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the new year as we celebrate this awesome milestone with our Breakthrough family.

With Gratitude,




Josh Gresham-Connor
BTGB Alum, 1994

Donate Today