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Leading independent school grants opportunity to scholars

Breakthrough Miami gives one male one female a scholarship

Ashley Montgomery | 1/30/2014, 9 a.m.
Miami Country Day School, known as one of the leading college preparatory learning communities in the County, is looking to ...
Miami Country Day School teachers on campus during the 2012 Summer Institute.

Miami Country Day School, known as one of the leading college preparatory learning communities in the County, is looking to offer one male and one female that meets their eligibility requirements a “good-through-graduation” scholarship. Breakthrough Miami’s Trustee Scholarship helps promote socioeconomic diversity at the school and is an opportunity for qualified and deserving students to reach their potential. Breakthrough Miami is an eight year tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life. This award-winning program serves 1,000 students to date. More than 95 percent of their students attend public middle-to-high schools in Miami-Dade County while the other five percent are selected to be apart of one of five independent school sites  — Ransom Everglades, Miami Country Day, Carrolton, Palmer Trinity and Cushman. Breakthrough Miami is also provides academic enrichment through a student-teaching-students model to ensure that motivated, under-resourced middle school students are able to get access to high school opportunities. 

“So far I have seen a major social change for the students more than anything,” Jamael Stewart, senior site director for Breakthrough Miami at Miami Country Day. “Being that the students (who are currently enrolled in the sixth and seventh grades) were already academically excelling before the scholarship, the adjustment wasn’t difficult for them.” 

As their website reads, “everything we do at Breakthrough Miami is designed to help our scholars “break through” the social, cultural and economic barriers to high achievement.” 

Dating back to May of 2012, the Trustee Scholarship was started to provide underserved students with an opportunity to gain the financial support from Miami Country Day. 

Eligible students that are considered for the Trustee Scholarship must meet the following criteria: have been accepted to Miami Country Day through the regular admission process and have applied for financial aid; are currently enrolled in the Breakthrough Miami program; show significant financial need and leadership qualities through their academic achievement or involvement.  Pass a required Independent School Entrance Exam [ISEE]. The final testing date to be considered eligible is Feb. 1. 

Both Breakthrough Miami and Miami Country Day say that they are committed to providing scholars with the needed support to graduate. 

“In addition to regular academic advisors, guidance counselors, and college admissions help, Breakthrough scholars participate in the Young People of Distinction [YPOD] student activities group on campus,” Stewart said. 

“Our kids really fit in, they have joined clubs and participating in sports,” Stewart said. “Most of all I have noticed a change in the parents.” 

Just as Breakthrough Miami promises to provide the moral support and commitment; Miami Country Day promises to provide the financial and academic commitment, the recipients of the scholarship are expected to commit to a level of excellence as well.

“Trustee scholars will commit to remaining in good standing with Breakthrough Miami until they graduate,” Jasmine Lake, director of admission says. 

Scholars must also agree to follow the Miami Country Day Code of Conduct and maintain at least a “B” average in all of their core academic classes. 

“Breakthrough Miami ignited the fire of success,” Terron Ferguson, a past Breakthrough Miami scholar said. “It instilled in me the appetite for knowledge that I did not have [and] it exposed me to cultures and lifestyles beyond my own.” 

Miami Country Day School was founded in 1938 as a residential boarding school for boys through eighth grade and has evolved over the past 74 years. Miami Country Day has become a co-ed, nonprofit, interdenominational school with 1075 students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, representing 32 countries.