Since 1995 many SCDS students have taught at Breakthrough, formerly Summerbridge, over the summer to help disadvantaged middle schoolers.
Normally students teach at Breakthrough Sacramento, hosted on the SCDS campus, but it is not unheard-of for a student to teach at another Breakthrough.
However, it is unusual for a student to teach in a different country, as is the case with sophomore Manson Tung.
This summer Tung will teach geography at Breakthrough (still called Summerbridge, as there is no non-violent translation of “breakthrough” in Cantonese) in Hong Kong.
Tung will stay in Hong Kong with his aunt, who lives there. He says that he will be afforded the freedoms of an adult while there.
“Since I took the initiative to go find a charity that works in Hong Kong, and I did all the application stuff myself, my aunt is giving me more freedoms than I would have in Sacramento,” he said.
Tung, who speaks fluent Cantonese, will teach the class in English, since one of the focuses of the class (and, in fact, the program) is to teach students spoken English.
Adolfo Mercado, director of Breakthrough Sacramento, said it is “very, very rare” for a student to be accepted to teach in a foreign country.
While Mercado said the acceptance rate for students to teach at Breakthrough Sacramento is at 27 percent, the acceptance rate for a student to teach internationally is much lower.
Tung says that the class teaches world geography to students who, like the Breakthrough Sacramento students, come from a poor background, and are trying to get into a better English-based high school.
He said that the students he teaches are not likely to come to an American high school because it is too expensive.
Tung is really looking forward to his teaching experience.
“The cool thing (about Hong Kong) is that you can walk anywhere, take the subway anywhere—airport, Disneyland, even the countryside—and taxis are as rampant as in New York,” he said.