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When Vicky Garcia (SUNY College at Plattsburgh, Class of 2017) came to Breakthrough New York, her first impression was that it was different from her school experience so far. Her teachers were personally invested in her growth, explored a rigorous curriculum, and fostered a joyful community.

Vicky viewed the learning environment through a completely new lens. “Breakthrough offered that different perspective of what education could be and what it should be,” she says. “You had people who were giving you other options than a public high school. [It] was very eye-opening.”

Building a Community

During her ten years with Breakthrough, Vicky was very active, serving as a tutor and an interviewer for prospective students. She remembers one family in particular for which she had to translate. “It just reminded me so much of my process, and what I went through,” she says. “This is really helping families that are like mine, who don’t get this opportunity. It [was] really a full-circle moment.”

She also served as a Teaching Fellow in the summer of 2015. This experience was instrumental in understanding the classroom from the other point of view.

“As a student, you just walked into the space. But as the teacher, you created the space,” she explains. “It was very nice to see the active decision to build this community for the students.”

Teaching Fellow to Assistant Principal

Vicky soon after became a 5th grade STEM teacher, putting to use the ability to build close relationships with students. She taught for three years and currently works as an assistant principal, helping teachers find their own joyful experiences in the classroom.

Vicky reflects on her evolution from student to educator, saying: “When we were students, we were so happy to get it done with – we didn’t realize how much we would miss having each other around, or miss the space that was created for us. Take your time. Enjoy your journey.”

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