Breakthrough’s middle school year program kicked off in October with 60 7th & 8th grade students, 65 tutors from six local high schools and a new partnership with the St. Margaret’s Model United Nations (MUN) student-run club. As part of preparing students for college, the new partnership with MUN supports students in developing public speaking, interpersonal communication, and critical thinking skills to ensure that they are more informed global citizens. The partnership arose through the proactive leadership of two St. Margaret’s seniors, Anika Grover and Makenna Mitchell. The two MUN student leaders identified a need to teach local students about civic engagement through “public speaking and the ability to solve issues diplomatically.”

Anika and Makenna, with the guidance of Breakthrough staff and MUN faculty advisor Rocky Parker, have created curriculum and trained a select group of MUN members to teach lessons once a week during Breakthrough’s after school program at Marco Forster Middle School. This model truly embraces Breakthrough’s unique “students teaching students” model. As noted by Anika, “Every week at MUN BT, students are learning how to become global citizens who have the confidence to voice their thoughts and opinions in the world community. We want to help students embrace public speaking, not be scared of speaking in front of large groups of people.” In their first week, students learned the qualities of effective speakers and practiced speaking in front of classmates. Throughout the school year, students will learn these valuable skills while becoming more aware of international relations, politics, and current affairs.

Evidenced by consecutive weeks of 100% student attendance, the new partnership endeavors to continue engaging students, teaching them to be more informed, global citizens and most importantly, lean into discomfort.

Breakthrough would like to thank Anika & Makenna, Mr. Rocky Parker and all of the MUN members for teaching our students to be confident speakers and globally-conscious citizens.