Breakthrough Board Member and Alum Jamal Hill, Esq. understands the value of educational investment better than most. Before he became legal counsel for the Philadelphia 76ers, he attended Breakthrough's summer program twenty-two years ago as a 7th and 8th grader. It was a critical support for the future lawyer back in 2001 and 2002, through a fun environment that made learning exciting. Breakthrough became a springboard for self-development with his peers and an introduction to new students throughout the city. His Teaching Fellows were early mentors; “So cool, college students! A chance to see what we could become.”
It was the power of a program that got both students and staff excited for a full day of school - in the summer! Breakthrough provided Mr. Hill’s middle school summers with the rigor and accountability of being prepared for both high school and college. “Writing in particular - a lot of practice working on a variety of projects. It showed me how important writing is to succeed in high school and college, but also from a career perspective."
He continued to attend Breakthrough throughout high school on Saturdays, with a new focus on SAT Prep and College Essay writing. Those Teaching Fellows provided a network of encouragement for Jamal’s college aspirations; “It put college in my mindset at an early age.” His journey to a career in law included application help from a Teaching Fellow to their alma mater, supporting Mr. Hill to his own acceptance at Brown University. He returned to Breakthrough as a Teaching Fellow himself the very next summer after Freshman year.
Looking back over lessons learned, Mr. Hill recommends Scholars “lean into the program wholeheartedly…recognize its value. Build relationships with your Teaching Fellows and peers and appreciate it for what it is, its own community! Remember how important relationships are for careers and friendships down the line.” He continues to support Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia as an active Board Member and with Career Conversations. “Breakthrough is just so important, for a variety of reasons...primarily to show students that we care and to help them fulfill their potential.”
From all of us at BTGP, thank you Mr. Hill!