Gates Millenium & Posse Foundation scholarship recipients among Breakthrough Miami's class of 2015 Outstanding Scholars recognized and over $40,000 in scholarships awarded
Miami, Florida (May 16, 2015)– Since 1991, Breakthrough Miami has been helping students reach their full academic potential. The graduating Class of 2015 is no exception: Two Breakthrough Miami seniors have earned two of the nation's most prestigious awards, the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the Posse Scholarship.
On May 16, 2015, all 63 of Breakthrough Miami's graduating seniors gathered at Miami Theater Center for a ceremony that recognized outstanding achievements and awarded $41,000 in college scholarships funded by generous contributions from the Batchelor Foundation, Dade Paper Companyand the North Bay Village Optimist Club.
The event was a culmination of the scholars' eight-year commitment to Miami-Dade's premier tuition-free academic enrichment program that helps more than 1,100 motivated middle- and high-school students from underserved communities across Miami-Dade County. Breakthrough Miami students attend more than 100 public, independent and charter schools throughout the county, while participating in the enrichment program on Saturdays and during the summer.
2015 graduates will be attending University of California-Berkley, Georgia Tech, NYU, Grinnell College, FSU, Hamilton College, Clark Atlanta University, UM, FIU, Spelman College, Howard University, University of Alabama, Morehouse College, and Miami Dade Honors College, among others.
The Senior Class address was given by Gates Millennium Scholar, Shanava Saintolien, who will graduate from School of Advanced Studies with an associate degree from Miami Dade College and will attend Florida State University as a junior this fall. She shared a quote by Michael Dell: "As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own." She said, "Our time at Breakthrough Miami will be measured not only by the academic gains, but in all the friendships, it's our time now."
Just 1,000 students out of 57,000 applicants nationally receive the Gates award, which provides funding for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Shanava shared the Outstanding Achievement Award for her senior class with Pascal Dafinis, who will graduate from Miami Country Day School and will attend Hamilton College on a Posse Scholarship.
Students from low-income backgrounds are far less likely to graduate high school on time and attend college than more affluent peers. Nationally, only 26% of high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds graduate four-year degrees. For the past three years, 100% of Breakthrough Miami Scholars graduated high school on time, and 98% have gone on to post-secondary programs, the vast majority in four-year programs.
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