Mario’s path to Breakthrough was different than most. Normally, students learn about the program in late fall, when a Breakthrough staff member visits their classroom to introduce the program and incentivize student engagement using candy. However, Mario learned about Breakthrough much earlier—his mother, Jeanette, was a student in the second class of Breakthrough students entering in 2005! Back in her time, Breakthrough was just a two-year middle school program. Despite its relative brevity at the time, the program made an impression on Jeanette, who reached out when Mario was a 6th grader to make sure he had the chance to apply.
Mario has just finished his first summer with the program, and he wasted no time getting comfortable and confident in the community. Mario is particularly famous for his love of Harry Potter—he often brought a wand to Breakthrough and carried it around all day like a magical accessory. Additionally, Mario and his math teacher, Justin, spearheaded a weekly recess activity in which students would create “flags” for their families that utilized the Harry Potter concept of “houses.” Green family was Slytherin, Red was Gryffindor, Yellow was Hufflepuff and Blue was Ravenclaw. Mario’s enthusiasm for the fantasy series was so contagious that the summer teachers used the Harry Potter motif to write their much-anticipated end-of-summer skit performed at Celebration.
Although the summer is over and Mario is starting his first year at St. Michael’s High School, he is surely keeping the Breakthrough magic alive in his heart!