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Next generation of teachers in Philadelphia prepare to teach middle schoolers with educational nonprofit

Next generation of teaching fellows prepares for middle schoolers through educational nonprofit
Next generation of teaching fellows prepares for middle schoolers through educational nonprofit 01:57

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teaching fellows are preparing to bring the energy that will soon fill the classrooms at Germantown Friends School, from practicing lesson plans to decorating the halls to organizing supplies.

College students with the educational nonprofit Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia are ready to welcome this summer's class of middle schoolers.

"Breakthrough is my second family," teaching fellow Arlene Bukasa said.

That sense of family is evident as this summer two of the 34 teaching fellows are 20-year-old twins Arlene and Drew Bukasa. They've spent the past decade in the program, starting as scholars and now transitioning to leading classrooms for the next nine weeks.

"For Breakthrough, that one-on-one experience to have 20 kids in the classroom and experiencing that on a daily basis is very helpful," Drew Bukasa said.

Staff with the tuition-free academic program said their mission is two-fold. They try to accelerate educational opportunities for middle schoolers while also creating a pipeline of future educators.

"They're getting that hands-on experience," Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia Executive Director Michelle Palmer said. "By the time they leave, they're either really excited and they want to go into the program or they realize this field is not for me. And I'm happy to say most of our students, teaching fellows, do stay in the program and persist on to be teachers."

According to the program, 75% of teaching fellows pursue a career in education.

Drew Bukasa hopes to be part of that as he strives to become a math teacher, and Arlene Bukasa looks to nursing. Two different paths, rooted in the lessons learned in the classroom.

"I just want to show other students that look like me, who come from similar backgrounds as me that you can go to college, you can be successful and you can do anything that you want," Arlene Bukasa said.

The teaching fellows are set to welcome about 200 students on June 24.

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