This month, members of the Breakthrough community gathered at Stubb’s BBQ to commemorate the graduation of 22 new college graduates from the class of 2021 along with graduates from December 2019 and all of 2020 whose graduation celebrations were put on hold due to social restrictions imposed by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, we recognized 53 college graduates from 30 colleges and universities around the country. The Breakthrough Graduates Banquet, held annually, is an intimate gathering for our most recent college graduates and their families. This life-changing achievement of becoming a first-generation college graduate marks the realization of a 12-year journey and commitment each of these students made in 6th grade. 

Students and families enjoyed bar-b-q bites, mingled with fellow graduates and heard from Breakthrough College Completion staff and Breakthrough student speaker, Jabrell Scott. To conclude the program, Breakthrough staff asked each graduate to come on stage and be recognized and applauded for their achievements. The floor opened up for graduates and family members to have the opportunity to share memories from their 12-year Breakthrough experience.


Allow me to say something to you all as a first -gen grad myself, you have made history. You have made history by not only shaping the pathway for your community and family now, but also for the generations to come at Bt and in your own families. I like to think of the term First- generation as the first of many. You will be the uncle, auntie, cousin, friend, mentor, and some of you parents or grandparents that others look up to for guidance on this path. You might be the first graduate, but you will not be the last. 

– Claudia Ochoa, College Completion Coordinator 

 2021 Graduates

Breana Miller, Texas State University

Sheila Nunez, Texas Sate University

Erik Benitez, Iowa State University

Lizbeth Morales Salazar, The College of Health Care Professions

Fausta Garcia, Texas State University

Cristy Lopez-Santana, Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi

Bijou Kanyambo,  Bates College

Carlos De La Cruz, Texas A&M University

Brianda Campos,  University of Texas at Austin

Sonia Aguilar, University of Texas at Austin

Eduardo Hernandez,  University of Texas at Austin

Guadalupe Lopez,  University of Texas at Austin

Karina Munoz,  Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Stephanie Lopez-Lara, Sam Houston University

Stevie Martinez-Farias, Bennington College

Jocelyn Sanchez, Texas State University

Julio Damian Gutierrez, Austin Dental Assisting Academy

Luis Salinas, St. Edward’s University

Jorge Torres, Southern Methodist University

Norlan Diaz, Independent Electrical Contractors

Paige Green, Goodwill Career and Technical Academy

Olibia Barrientos, St. Edward’s University

Check out the list of all Breakthrough graduates here.