Mahi Tessema

Tigi Mekonnen, mother of Breakthrough student Mahi Tessema, joins her daughter at the Cultivating Growth Luncheon where Tessema shares her Breakthrough experience and talks of attending Dartmouth next fall.

Next fall at Dartmouth, I’ll major in Chemistry — a love Breakthrough gave me in 8th grade. I’ll minor in Education. My long term plan is to go into research and maybe even become a professor one day. My life has been built on the backs of Breakthrough angels, and I hope to make them proud.”

Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen, the proud daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, is now a senior at Rice University. She relocates to Manhattan next fall having already accepted a job with Capital One as a software developer. 

Without Breakthrough Houston, hundreds of kids – kids just like me – would not have the opportunity to achieve their potential, to realize their dreams.  I stand as proof that this support changes lives.”

Reginald DesRoches

Dr. Reginald DesRoches, Rice University’s eighth President, speaks on educational equity at Breakthrough’s Cultivating Growth Luncheon. 

Education dramatically changed my life. The hard-earned opportunities my siblings and I were able to pursue must be afforded to all, but this will only happen when institutions of higher education step up their efforts to profoundly and measurably boost diversity, equity and inclusion on their campuses. These initiatives must do more than just open the door for those previously barred or underserved. We must create and maintain a place for everyone at the table, a community where all feel fully welcomed and empowered. Breakthrough Houston is doing just that.”

L-R: Cultivating Growth Luncheon Co-Chairs: Christophe Venghiattis and Burdine Johnson, Reginald DesRoches, Diana Strassmann and Jeff Smisek, Lawrence and Leslie Labanowski, Liz and Steven Bender

L-R: Kathy Goossen, Lacey Goossen, Marty Goossen

L-R: Twana Griffith Faykus, Summer Carter Barnes, Ganesa Collins

Robert and April Eschweiler

Mark Rodriguez and Van Adams

Nolan Julien and Anna Eastman

L-R: Ann Ziker, Josephine Smith, and Denise Smith with two Breakthrough Houston students

Liz Bender and Isabel David

Breakthrough Houston Staff leads a cheer