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News & Press: SB/BT Program News

Breakthrough Saint Paul: Breakthrough Buzz April 2013!

Friday, April 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alex Shyu
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April 2013
RSVP TODAY for the BSP Graduation Gala

Please join us for the third annual
Breakthrough Saint Paul
Graduation Gala
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Macalester College
Alexander G. Hill Ballroom
in Kagin Commons
6pm – Reception
7pm – Dinner and Program

Help us celebrate and honor the time, dedication and commitment of the Breakthrough Saint Paul Class of 2013. We are so proud of their achievements and hope that you can join us for a night that will celebrate the promise of our amazing students.

To purchase tickets visit or contact Colleen Rourke at or call 651-748-5595 for ticket information, or download an invitation and RSVP.
Thank you to our 2013 Graduation Gala Sponsors:
The Stolpestad Family
Tamra & Richard Anderson
Jim & Joan Gardner
Lube Tech
Ted and Aileen Lyle
Anne & Curt Peterson
Chris & Dwight Porter
Martha Sanford & Tim Casey
Joyce Yoshimura-Rank & Brian Rank

Breakthrough Student Takes Action to Solve Homelessness for Youth

BSP Class of 2015 student, Padah Vang, is currently participating in a program called Youth Leadership Initiatives. She and her program colleagues have decided to tackle the issue of youth homelessness in Minnesota and will host an open-mic event on April 19th. Please download an Open Mic Flyer and consider joining her in these efforts!

Flyer for Open Mic with Youth Leadership Initiative
Are you a strong writer looking to get to know a young person a year away from college? Breakthrough Saint Paul has released the application for this summer's cohort of College Essay Coaches! Support a rising senior in honing his or her personal essay to be submitted in their college applications.

For more information and to apply by MAY 1ST, please visit or contact Natalie Clifford with questions at

Angie Baez, BSP Class of 2013, will graduate from Tartan High School in June. She is currently deciding which school to attend: Minnesota State–Mankato or Bemidji State University. Along with her college applications, Angie included the insightful and moving essay below. We look forward to hearing about her final plans at the Graduation Gala!
Like everyone else, I imagined how my first day of high school was going to be. In all those imaginings, I never thought I would come home crying my eyes out.

Fortunately, my mother was there to immediately wrap me in her arms, her lips whispering a series of comforting words and questions over my tears. I usually hated being hugged like that; it always made me feel weak and small. But, in that moment, a hug was exactly what I needed. In between sobs, I told her about how much I hated my first day at a predominantly white school. My dark skin, almond-shaped eyes, and infamous Hispanic hips made me stick out, which is the last thing I wanted on the first day at a new school. I almost expected my mother to laugh at my petty problems but, as always, she did not. She did not say much, either. She simply told me that it is our differences that make us who we are and make us beautiful.

My mother's soothing words took me back to a time when I could not understand that lesson. I used to feel pure embarrassment whenever my mother opened her mouth to speak. Strangers had to strain to understand her jumbled English layered with a heavy Colombian accent. As horrible as it seems now, I sometimes wished I had another mother to take her place. All throughout elementary school, I became instantly mortified whenever my mother uttered a word; I simply wished to vanish into thin air. I only voiced these thoughts once to my mother and immediately regretted it.

My mother had left Colombia to take me away from the increasing drug cartel violence and inadequate education system. She left her family behind and worked double shifts for eight years to make sure that I had a promising future. But once, as a 12-year old, I admitted how much her English embarrassed me. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt ashamed. It was as if I had told her that all the sacrifices she had made were for nothing because I still was not proud of her. Even with a hurt ego, my mother simply brushed my words aside. She has never been the type to apologize for who she is.

Looking back now, I finally understand. I no longer care about how different I am from my classmates. I also no longer care about my mother’s accent. It is my dark hair, almond-shaped eyes, and Hispanic hips that make me who I am, in the same way that my mother's thick accent makes h
er who she is. It truly is our differences that make us beautiful, and I will never apologize for being me.
BSP is grateful to the Otto Bremer Foundation for their continued support.
Thank you,
Otto Bremer Foundation!
Please consider a gift to Breakthrough Saint Paul. Thank you!
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