Breakthrough Miami

Calling upon the community-service ideals they learned as students at Ransom Everglades, two lifelong friends founded a program they hoped would inspire at-risk middle school students to recognize and reach their full potential.

Nearly 25 years later, that program – now known as Breakthrough Miami – serves more than 1,000 students from Miami-Dade County and calls Ransom Everglades School home, operating out of a rent-free office on the Middle School campus.

Class of '74 grads John Flickinger and Doug Weiser created what was then known as Summerbridge Miami in 1992. Their dream: to help talented middle-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds break through barriers of race, culture and socioeconomic status.

Ransom Everglades students and alumni spend time on Saturdays and during the summers teaching the academic and life skills necessary for success at rigorous educational institutions. The program, which extends from the fifth to 12th grades, requires a two-year commitment from its instructors and students.

Summerbridge Miami changed its name in 2004 to reflect its affiliation with the San Francisco-based Breakthrough Collaborative, which uses a students-teaching-students model to empower disadvantaged youth throughout the nation to achieve academic success.

Breakthrough Miami was recognized for its impact and excellence in 2007, receiving a $3.25 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. That allowed it to serve more students and expand to various school campuses throughout the county.

Current sites besides Ransom Everglades include the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Miami Country Day School, Gulliver Preparatory School, Palmer Trinity School, International Studies Charter High School and the University of Miami.

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  • Personal Story of Terron Ferguson, Class of 2004

    Graduate of Morehouse College, London School of Economics and New York University School of Law.

    Initially, I thought I exclusively owed my complete success at Ransom Everglades School to John Flickinger and the Breakthrough Miami (formerly Summerbridge) program, but now I realize that I also owe Ransom Everglades School.
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Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.