Good evening. My name is Mahamud Mohamud. I’m a senior at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Next year, I will be attending Union College as a Posse Scholar for a bachelor degree in the STEM fields.
I decided to join Breakthrough at the “request” of my father but also through the high recommendation of my sister. My sister had done Breakthrough and she told me about all the ways it helped her in middle school. She told me about her favorite experiences such as the camping trip and how teachers showed appreciation for students with spirit sticks. Fun fact, till this day she sings the Breakthrough version of One Dance by Drake instead of the original. Mostly though, she would not stop talking about how her teachers were college students and how the closeness of age didn’t make her feel out of place.
I am so grateful to Breakthrough for all the help they provided me throughout the last 6 years of my life. Breakthrough’s role has been huge– helping me build a resume and get my first job… And of course, in helping me with my college applications and my college decision. And I am looking forward to continuing my Breakthrough journey for these next four years as part of the college success program. The support cannot be understated, and certainly won’t be forgotten.
Breakthrough exposed me to an unforgettable community and helped me build important relationships with my peers who also sacrificed the freedom of summer to achieve the same goals as me. Peers who today are some of my best friends.
When I think about the “Power of Breakthrough” I think about my Teaching Fellows. It was always easy to connect with and learn from the teaching fellows each year, each one playing their own role for me. They wanted us to engage with them rather than solely listen. Our teachers respected us from the moment they met us, as opposed to us having to work to earn their respect. They never treated us like children–although I will admit, I had my childish moments.
At Breakthrough, students get appreciations known as Big Ups! Big ups are shout-outs that are given out at our daily Community Meetings. How it works is you hold your thumb up, and say BIG UPs. Can we get a practice run?
And now, I need your help to give BIG UPs to two of my favorite teachers.
Caleb was both my advisor and also one of my teachers during my first summer as a rising 7th grader. He was the first Breakthrough teacher that I connected with on a whole different level. I rocked with him. We had exchanged contact information but didn’t stay in touch much after that summer. Until one day YEARS later, during the pandemic, I received a phone call. The caller id was “ Caleb.” I thought to myself, who the heck is Caleb? I answer the phone to get greeted with an enthusiastic, “MOMO!” I was like, “Caleb, breakthrough Caleb?” He says: “Yeah man, how’s it been?” He called just to catch up and make sure I was doing okay. I couldn’t believe that after all of those years, he was thinking about me. It meant so much. BIG UPS
Sylvester was my Leadership Class teacher during the summer before my freshman year. He built a classroom environment that felt like a family and he felt like a big brother to me. Sylvester always paid attention to what was going on with us. He was a great listener, and gave great advice, whether it was about breakthrough, high school, or just life. He was just so real. A takeaway from his lessons that sticks with me is advocacy. He taught us the importance of advocating for ourselves and that my voice should always be heard. He taught us that we had the power to have an impact and to create change. For ourselves and for our communities. BIG UPS
Going into college, I’ve come to a whole different stage in life. I think back to how my Teaching Fellows shared valuable tips and tricks about how to get into college, but also how to succeed. I have followed a good chunk of the advice, and look at me now–heading off to union with all this intel and support Breakthrough has given me.
But wait! The legacy continues. Thanks to my family’s breakthrough experiences, and the “request” of my father, my younger brother applied to Breakthrough this year and has been accepted. His first of many breakthrough summers starts this July. I am extremely excited for him. Hopefully, 6 years from now, we’ll all be here together again, and he’ll be speaking at the 2029 Breakthrough Gala.
Love and guidance and thank you for your time.