Oge E. credits Breakthrough New York with opening his mind to a world of opportunities.
“I want to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,” saysthe 13-year-old. “I want to end the feuds between different types of people.”
The seventh-grader, who lives in the Bronx, has been involved with Breakthrough New York at The Town School for only a short period of time but already has watched his grades elevate, as well as his dreams.
Oge says his parents encouraged him to think big, consider college not as an option but a clear direction. When he first listened to a Breakthrough New York pitch in his 6th grade classroom, his interest was piqued.
Nagging him was the thought that come summer he would be spending more time in the classroom than the playground, where his friends would be enjoying lazy summer days. But overruling that concern was the belief that he should not miss an opportunity to learn and grow.
“Summer was the only time I really had to myself,” he says. But he recalls Breakthrough describing the pluses and minuses of engaging with the program. “I saw all of the advantages and benefits, and all of the great schools that the alumni attended. I just wanted to be part of that.”
He spent the summer before seventh grade traveling to the Breakthrough program, working on assignments under the guidance of college teacher interns.
“My parents were very happy for me getting into Breakthrough,” he says. “They were proud that I was nominated and selected, and it made me feel really good.”
His grades had already been better than good; he was achieving ones in the low 90s. Now, they are on the rise (as high as 97), and he credits the tutoring and attention provided by Breakthrough.
Learning, he says, doesn’t just take place by pouring through books but by playing games that engage the mind and require analytical skills. He also finds the teachers interns to be extremely relatable. “There’s a bond with the younger teachers,” he says.
After school, twice a week, he travels from his middle school to The Town School. The teacher interns help him with homework, and talk with him about college and life. Already, Oge is mapping out his choices for high school, and beyond.
“I want my high school to have a good government program, a good athletic program, a nice community and teachers who I can rely on,” he says.
When he was younger – in 4th grade – Oge wrote a letter to the University of Florida to tell them that he liked their programs. The school, he says, wrote back to thank him for his interest and words. “That was pretty cool,” he says. His ambition to attend college there.
Even though he spends a healthy amount of time with the Breakthrough program after school, Oge still finds time to play soccer and basketball, and to read books about the military. He also finds time to write, draw, and even write speeches.
Most influential have been the words of Walt Whitman.
“He wrote that America is a sketch that will never be finished,” Oge says. “I want to be a model of that quote. America is divine and has beauty and power to it. That’s why I want to help people and change the world.”