“You are your own version of success!"
“Keep being unapologetically your authentic self!"
Those were just two pieces in a parade of confidence-building wisdom at the NA Breakthrough 2023 graduation on July 28. The extravaganza featured songs, poems, and even a Hamilton-themed dance with dinosaurs, as well as heartfelt testimonials about the program's power to galvanize learning for Middle School students.
Breakthrough Director Reggie Cole commended students for their "gumption and courage" to pursue learning all summer long, and he thanked the college students whose positivity served as examples for the students.
“These teaching fellows are concerned about others and I am amazed at how hard they are willing to work for others," Mr. Cole said.
Teaching fellows included Celine Maharaj and Naila Rivera-Morales, graduates of Breakthrough who returned to give back to a program they found so valuable. Both spoke about how much they learned both as students a few years back and now as teachers. Norfolk Academy alumni Corey Brooks '22, Sophie Knittig '23, and Anna Russell '23 also were among the teaching fellows.
A verse composed by two student rappers for graduation captured the exuberant spirit of Breakthrough: “Together we flourished like a well-coached team/Oh what a summer! It was like a dream!"
Directed by Mr. Cole, who teaches in the Lower School and coaches Middle School football, and Assistant Director Jordon Crichlow, who teaches and directs band in all three divisions at NA, Breakthrough is a tuition-free, academic enrichment program designed to prepare motivated public school students for success in high school. It also provides talented high school and college students with hands-on teaching experience intended to inspire them to pursue careers in education.