Breakthrough Miami students earn full rides to college

Cachay Byrd of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart will attend the University of Miami.
Cachay Byrd of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart will attend the University of Miami.

Some students graduate high school and attend college.

Some students attend college with scholarships.

And then, there are the few that are awarded full rides.

This is the case for four Breakthrough Miami seniors that earned full rides to top colleges and universities.

Breakthrough Miami is an academic enrichment program that provides students from under-served communities with tools to succeed, such as the summer institute, Saturday school sessions, tutoring and mentoring. The program has six sites: Ransom Everglades, Miami Country Day School, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Palmer Trinity School, Gulliver Schools and the University of Miami.

One senior, Cachay Byrd, earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the Ron A. Hammond Scholarship from the University of Miami.

“I would like to say I owe Breakthrough Miami 100 percent of the success I have,” said Byrd, 18.

Byrd received a full ride to Duke University as well, but decided to attend the University of Miami. She plans to major in African-American studies with a minor in Mandarin and cell molecular biology.

“I plan on being a neonatal surgeon and, hopefully, opening my own hospital,” Byrd said.

Having two full-tuition scholarships, Byrd has room and board, cost of attendance and medical school covered — allowing her to attend any graduate school of her choice.

Breakthrough Miami seniors also earned full-tuition scholarships from the POSSE Foundation, a non-profit that aims to train student leaders.

One of them was Edgar Otero, 18, who is also a North Bay Village Optimist Club scholar.

“The college bound program is really great because students, like me, get to participate in college readiness workshops and gain skills to succeed in the workforce,” said Otero. “I have developed a passion for education and children because of Breakthrough Miami.”

Otero was a tutor for the program, which led him to gain an internship as a fifth grade English teacher for Breakthrough Miami last summer.

Otero plans to attend Hamilton College to major in English and minor in education studies. He would like to become an education leader.

“Whether it’s working with nonprofits, an administrative position at a school, or being a teacher, I definitely have a passion for education and children,” said Otero.

After working with the seniors for several years, Associate Site Director Webber Charles has seen them grow from Breakthrough Miami students into successful adults.

“With Breakthrough, it’s going to be inevitable that the class most recently graduated reflects our program,” said Charles.

“Every year the quality and amount of scholarships and opportunities that graduates receive will improve. That’s the sign of a healthy organization, an organization that innovates, adjusts and makes improvements,” he said.

2016 Breakthrough Miami scholarships

The following students are class of 2016 Breakthrough Miami students that earned $3,000 DadePaper Co. scholarships, $1,250 Batchelor Fund scholarships, and $1,000 and $500 North Bay Village Optimist Club scholarships.

DadePaper CO.

Lisbeth Rubio

Tywan Harris

Cachay Byrd

Giancarlo Ortiz

George Bullard

Rachel Leong

Sara Diaz

Galvin Decius-Fredric

Isabella Ortiz

Katerina Sanchez


Sara Diaz

Tywan Harris


Leesa Newbon, $1,000 winner

Edgar Otero, $500 winner


Cachay Byrd


Ahlia Dunn

Edgar Otero

Stephanie Bent