Reagan is a high school sophomore with a bevy of interests – from nursing to engineering to botany. She is confident in herself and her path forward, but that hasn’t always been the case. As a middle school student, Reagan struggled to find her voice and express herself. And while she’s always had big dreams of going to college, she wasn’t always sure how to pursue them. 

“I definitely think Breakthrough has helped me be more open and confident,” says Reagan, who recently served as a keynote speaker at Breakthrough Birmingham’s 10 Year Anniversary event. “Back in 2020, if I saw myself speaking at the 10 Year event, I don’t even know how I would react. To be able to be up there in front of all those people… I would have never been able to do that.”

At the heart of the Breakthrough model are the “near-peer” relationships formed between students and college-aged Teaching Fellows. This unique students-teaching-students framework allows students to benefit from instructors who are not only close in age, but also share similar experiences. “The Teaching Fellows are relatable and we look up to them, so getting to ask about their experiences created an excitement about college that I didn’t have before,” Reagan shares. 

Breakthrough has helped Reagan cultivate a strong sense of self – and has helped her to navigate the journey to college. “I know college is important to becoming successful because it allows you to find a career in something that you enjoy. What I like about Breakthrough is that everyone talks about college: from the admin to the Teaching Fellows; college is on everyone’s mind.”

To ensure our students are fully prepared to attend and succeed in college, our affiliates offer extended learning opportunities through college campus tours, financial aid courses, and college-readiness workshops. “Breakthrough has exposed me to college by setting up visits to the University of Auburn and Tuskegee University, where I toured the campuses and learned about what they had to offer. Now I feel prepared and excited for this next big step.” 

As Reagan’s confidence grows, so does her enthusiasm for pursuing college and her future aspirations.  With Breakthrough in her corner, she is prepared to embark on her path to college and find success at every step along the way.