An Award-Winning, Tuition-Free, Six-Year Academic Program Right Here in the Queen City

For 25 years, Breakthrough Manchester at The Derryfield School (originally called Summerbridge) has worked with Manchester middle school students who have high academic potential but limited opportunities for enrichment and advancement, particularly during the summer months. Now, through a new partnership with Southern NH University, Breakthrough will extend mentoring, periodic workshops, college counseling and school-year enrichment activities for these students right through their entry into college. Although the entire six-year program is tuition-free, the expectations on students and their families are high.

Breakthrough Manchester 1Students must apply to Breakthrough as sixth graders; there is no other entry point into the program. “Breakthrough develops and fosters a unique culture of college-bound expectations, high spirits, positive risk-taking, personal growth and leadership,” says Meredith Zackey, Breakthrough’s Program Director. “Our students support each other, swimming in a sea of like-minded and motivated students who demonstrate commitment to their own success and that of their peers. The fact that our students enter the program and develop and grow together is central to their success as scholars and leaders within their own schools and communities.”
Breakthrough operates with a unique Students Teaching Students model. The students in the Breakthrough program are taught by college undergraduates (and some high-achieving high school students) who receive intensive training, mentoring, coaching and support as emerging educators. Our dual approach – developing student potential as scholars while also inspiring the next generation of excellent teachers – has won accolades from Columbia University, the College Board and the Drucker Institute, among others. In fact, the paid summer Teaching Fellowship at Breakthrough has been named a “Top Ten Internship for College Undergraduates in the Country” by Princeton Review. Breakthrough works to close the opportunity gap from two sides simultaneously – providing academic enrichment opportunities to students who might not otherwise have them, and developing the next generation of excellent teachers who are committed to the effective education of all students.

Breakthrough Manchester 2A college education is increasingly necessary for greater earning potential in the 21st century and beyond. Breakthrough Manchester is squarely focused on fully developing the talent of motivated students – students who are willing to work hard but who lack opportunities that their peers may readily afford. We look for students who like to learn, are curious, have dreams for their future and typically earn above average grades in school - through talent or hard work or both. Accepted students also typically have one or more characteristics that put them at risk for obtaining a college degree: their parents did not attend college, they speak a language other than English at home, they are eligible for free or reduced lunch, their race or ethnicity is typically underrepresented on college campuses, they live in a single parent or substitute caregiver household.


“We simply cannot afford to overlook the latent talent among our community’s children,
regardless of their zip code, neighborhood, language, ethnicity, family income or family structure,”
according to Becky Berk, Breakthrough Manchester’s Executive Director.


For more information, please visit

2016 Guide Sponsors





Manchester Community College




Verani Logo