The Break Through Conference
Welcome and thank you for attending the WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP Break Through Virtual Conference hosted by CoolSpeak.

This will be an opportunity for our WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP Scholars from across the state to reconnect, support, and encourage each other during these trying times. Utilizing a mix of virtual platforms, we will come together for an unforgettable, empowering, and enlightening experience that will prepare our GEAR UP scholars to excel in their schools, on their campuses, and in our communities.


Welcome & Get Ready!

Hosted By: Carlos Ojeda Jr.
Carlos Ojeda Jr. | CoolSpeak
Keynote: Natasha Carrizosa
Natasha Carrizosa is a teacher, poet, writer, author, MC – master of ceremonies, keynote speaker, facilitator, and spoken word artist. She amazes her audience as she speaks about the beauty and appreciation of the diversity that lives within us all.

Concurrent Workshop 2

Dollars for Scholars: Essay Writing

Facilitator: Joaquin Zihuatanejo
Joaquín Zihuatanejo is an author, poet, spoken word artist, and award-winning teacher. Born and raised in the barrio of East Dallas, Joaquín expertly captures the duality of the Chicano culture. He’s captivated thousands with his honest depiction of barrio life. He’s authored a number of books including the critically-acclaimed “Arsonist”. Joaquin is highly sought educator for his writing workshops, especially college and scholarship essay sessions.

Virtual Dance Party

“Virtual Dance Party”

Featuring: DJ Eko
During these virtual dance party breaks, and yes we expect some dancing to take place, dancers with the best moves will win a prize or two for showing off their moves. Finding a dance partner will earn you some bonus points too!

Family Breakout Session

Host: Angela Vivar
Discussions, Conversations, and Activities Prep!

Escape The Madness

Escape The Madness

Host: Carlos Ojeda Jr.
A virtual escape room. Let’s see who can escape the madness first!

Closing Session

Recap, Closing Remarks & A Prize!

Hosted By: Carlos Ojeda Jr.
  • Recap and Review
  • Escape Room Winners
  • Spin The Wheel
  • Preview: The Be Heard Story Slam


Evening Event

Be Heard! Story Slam

Host: Tim Stafford
Tim Stafford is an educator, poet, and storyteller from Chicago. He is the creator of the educational poetry anthology series, Learn Then Burn. This former Chicago Poetry Slam Champion has performed at universities and literature festivals around the world.

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