Monday, August 24, 2015

Breakthrough Summer 2015: The End (?)

My time with Breakthrough Twin Cities has come to a close this summer.  Let me tell you a little bit about the last couple weeks.

Last Week With The Kids

The last couple of weeks of Breakthrough was a weird sort of organized chaos.  At the end of the summer, students participate in an event simply called Celebration.  But the event itself is far from simple.  Normally, students have their classes and then ASM (All School Meeting), lunch, and then college, electives, and organized recess (Yo-Time) before going home.  But with Celebration looming so close, we needed extra time to prepare acts.  So instead of Yo-Time, we had Flow-Time, which is half an hour where acts have time to prepare.  My elective, video production, managed to finish their final project during this time.

Not all classes were doing an act for Celebration though.  If you're not doing an act, you definitely have to do a display.  My literature classes, in an effort to not restrain their creativity, did a display so that their final projects could be as long as they pleased.  My kids' final project was to make videos recreating one scene from Of Mice and Men.  I will put these videos below.  Warning: Spoilers.

I'm really proud of my kids for what they accomplished this summer.  They have a lot to be proud of.

Squad pose :)
Behind the scenes in the final video above.
Class A editing their video and working on parts for their display (and also trying to listen to music).
My classes' display for Celebration night!
Before Celebration night, there was a lot to do.  We had to make sure the kids had all of their work that they made, tie up loose ends in our lesson plans (some people were working on writing their lesson plans even during the last week... that must have been stressful for them), practice for Celebration, and generally prepare for the end of the summer.

My fellow Silver College Leaders and I decided that it would be a nice idea to make something for our kids so I printed out pictures and stuck them to heart shapes.  After that, we put candy on the back and stuck them to the kids' lockers where they could easily find them.  Some of them didn't like the caramel, but I think they liked the picture.

What's This?  It's Celery!  No, It's Celebration!!

Once the last day of school was over, that wasn't the end of Breakthrough.  No, Celebration night was on Saturday, so students showed up around noon so that we could do one dress rehearsal before doing the real thing.  All of the kids sat on one side of the auditorium and they not only practiced their acts, but they practiced coming down the stairs quietly and in the right order of performances.  That way everything would be seamless.

I manned one of the spotlights.  It was pretty great :)
Classes performed their short skits, their songs, their stories... what the kids were doing didn't really matter unless you were one of the teachers, one of the kids, or possibly the parents of the kids.  But I thought they did an amazing job.  These are the coolest kids I've ever met.

The show was over, the kids were settled after doing their song and dance and all of the teachers were about to sit down to watch the slide show that had been put together when...

Surprise!  The teachers and staff had been practicing their own song and dance after the kids had gone home for the day!  There were very few dry eyes among the kids by the time we were finished.

After the slideshow, everyone was supposed to go out into the cafeteria to find their families and eat cake, but most kids stayed behind and walked on the stage to say goodbye to each other and hug the teachers (the only time we can give more than hand hugs and high-fives.  I think Celebration night was the hardest for those in the Breakthrough Leaders Program-- the rising ninth graders.  There is no longer a place for them during the summer, although Breakthrough will always be there for them.  But even the rising seventh and eighth graders had a hard time that night.  The seventh graders will be returning as eighth graders, no problem.  The eighth graders are not all going to come back next summer though.  There are only a certain number of spots for rising ninth graders.  Perhaps this will change as BLP becomes more widespread in Breakthrough.  I hope that it does.

So What's Next?

I know that I would like to come back to Breakthrough next summer to teach again.  It's not guaranteed that this will happen, but I will be applying.  No matter what happens next summer though, I will be going to Saturday sessions (most of them, any way) so continue interacting with these kids and watching them grow more into the young adults that they've already started to become.  Breakthrough might be done for the summer, but I'm not done with Breakthrough.

Thanks for Reading!