Ralph’s Reflections: January 2023


Inspiring and Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Dear Breakthrough Staff,

When choosing a school, every family is looking for a school that will help their child develop a meaningful and fulfilling career path. They are looking for an environment where their child will feel emotionally and physically safe and grow personally and academically.

They put their trust in us, hoping that they’ve made the best decision.

I think of Breakthrough as a place where dreams come true. Our culture of joy and rigor is about helping students arrive at the future they want for themselves.

Two years ago, Beyond Breakthrough was created to provide a bridge between our K-8 schools and the careers students aspire to in the future. Our Beyond Breakthrough team works diligently to connect BPS alumni with additional support, resources, and opportunities after they leave our schools.

Beyond Breakthrough sets an ambitious goal for our alumni that should serve as a North Star to guide and motivate our work going forward: Within 10 years, 80% of alumni will attain a postsecondary credential or degree by age 25.


Whenever we reconnect with our alumni, we are reminded of the importance of students having lofty college and career aspirations. I’m always impressed by their unique stories of perseverance and often great achievement. Many alumni credit their success to you, Breakthrough’s educators.

Let me share about two of our amazing alumni.

Celeste Kamasa (E Prep Cliffs ‘2011)

Celeste transferred to E Prep Cliffs after missing 8 weeks of school from chronic suspensions. “E Prep teachers determined that my behavior challenges came from being advanced; I needed more structure, more rigor, and more challenges,” said Celeste.


Celeste was challenged at E Prep Cliffs and exposed to engineering by her 7th-grade science teacher. She began visiting Case Western Reserve University for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) events. Nurtured by her Breakthrough teachers, Celeste developed a passion for science. She went on to attend Ohio Northern University with multiple scholarships and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.


She recently decided to pursue a career in IT and works as an Applications Developer for Lubrizol. Celeste is the first Breakthrough alumni selected to serve on the Friends of Breakthrough Board of Directors.

“E Prep Cliffs was the first place outside of my home that I heard about college. Teachers' expectations were just different at E Prep; they expected more, so I gave more.”

Alura Winfrey (Citizens Leadership Academy ‘2016)

Alura attends George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is currently studying abroad in Singapore as part of her major in Asia policy and international relations.


Alura was recommended to CLA by a mutual friend who thought she’d benefit from a more rigorous environment. Alura made an impact on the CLA community immediately. In 7th grade, she was chosen to attend a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama at The City Club of Cleveland. She even asked him a question during the Q + A. After the event, Alura met President Obama. He looked her in the eye and said, “Keep up the good work. I am proud of you.”

If President Obama is proud of you, you are doing something right!

When families select Breakthrough, they are entrusting us with what matters most –their children. They are counting on us to partner with them to help unlock their scholar’s full potential. Our job is to support all of our 3,100 scholars as they develop their talents and go onto live lives of purpose and consequence.

Celeste and Alura are two of the countless stories of the positive impact our alumni make in the spaces around them. They remind us of how our work influences and accelerates the future life trajectory of our scholars.

The goal of having 80% of our alumni achieve a postsecondary credential is ambitious, but it’s achievable because of your hard work and determination. Thank you for the vital part you play to develop and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.