As we enter the final weeks of Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, we are excited to announce that Excelencia in Education, the only national effort to identify, aggregate, and promote evidence-based practices accelerating Latino student success in higher education, recognized Breakthrough Central Texas as one of four national Examples of Excelencia at its annual Celebración de Excelencia on September 28, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Each year, Examples of Excelencia are chosen from the associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organization levels for their intentionality and evidence of effectiveness in improving outcomes for Latino students through culturally responsive, data-driven efforts.

Breakthrough was honored at the community-based organization level for its work supporting Latino students who will become the first in their family to earn a college degree. Breakthrough and the other three organizations honored were selected from a group of 19 finalists that were gathered from 103 program profile submissions that represented 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

When compared to students with similar demographics and academic standing, Breakthrough students are twice as likely to graduate from college as their peers. To date, Breakthrough has supported 214 Latino students’ college graduation, with thousands  more following in their footsteps, beginning with out-of-school learning experiences, leadership skills, and comprehensive advising offered as early as sixth grade.

America’s future is brighter with the talents of Latino students across the country. Excelencia created Examples of Excelencia to recognize effective efforts led by practitioners in higher education who believe in their students’ future and support their highest aspirations. Working together, we are building national momentum for institutional transformation to intentionally serve Latino students and grow our future workforce and civic leadership.

Sarita Brown

Co-founder and President of Excelencia in Education

More About Excelencia in Education 

A committee of diverse higher education leaders selected the 2023 Examples of Excelencia as models of programming that makes a positive difference in the lives of Latino students and, by extension, in their communities. The Examples empower Latinos in higher education by embracing their language and culture, fostering their sense of belonging, addressing financial barriers to their educational journeys, and connecting them to career opportunities.

Through this initiative, Excelencia has received over 2,000 program submissions, recognized over 400 programs for their impact, and raised and awarded over $2 million to sustain the life-changing work of those programs since 2005.

We center our gratitude first, and always, on our students. They teach us what it means to be first-gen, the first in your family to go where no one has gone before, to be Latina in spaces of learning where there are fewer than should be, to be someone who migrates into new geographic regions and new schools and systems because you believe in your future

Michael Griffith

Breakthrough Central Texas Executive Director

When my family and I first moved to the States from Mexico in 2003, my parents only had one goal in mind – to ensure that I received better opportunities, higher education, and a chance to live a normal, peaceful life. They didn’t expect Breakthrough at all. But to this day, Breakthrough has been a once in a lifetime opportunity that has been with me every step of the way. They mean everything to me – from afterschool programs to scholarship opportunities to helping me apply for DACA, allowing me to continue to live in this country without fear and have the opportunity to go to college, work and be successful. 

Ricardo Lefranc Pierantozzi

Breakthrough College Student