College Hosts Horizons Middle Schoolers
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College is now an official host site for the Middle School component of Horizons of Kent & Queen Anne’s, the nonprofit that provides low-income children in grades pre-K to 8 with a summer program of academic and cultural enrichment.
In announcing the agreement, local Horizons board chair John Christie said the College’s willingness to host the children in grades 6 through 8 is key to keeping them challenged and interested. “Part of the Horizons philosophy is to have the children grow up with the program and return each year to teachers and staff who know and care for them and are eager to see them succeed,” he said. “Middle schoolers are ready to separate themselves from the younger children, so having classes on the Washington College campus and eating lunch in the dining hall there keeps them motivated to stay with us. This official relationship will help us grow our middle school program and also will enhance our growing year-round programs in college counseling and job preparation for high school students. We are so grateful to the College for making this step with us. It truly broadens our students’s sense of what’s possible for their futures.”
Christie stressed that the elementary grades for Kent County will remain at Radcliffe Creek School, which has donated office space and use of its classroom and facilities to Horizons for the past five years. A new site at The Gunston School in Centreville is now serving Queen Anne’s County children in grades Kindergarten through Second and plans to add grades each year to reach the full K-8 spectrum.
Washington College had already forged ties with the program through the bi-annual Horizons Play Days that its student Peer Mentors host each fall and spring during the school year. In addition, for the past two years the program rented campus classroom and laboratory spaces for the middle-school students, who also made use of the Miller Library and enjoyed lunch in the Hodson Hall Commons Food Court two days a week. “It was something of a trial run for us to see how having the two Chestertown sites would work,” says Horizons executive director Bob Parks. “We are pleased to now make it official and expand the College site to five days a week.”
Washington College Chief of Staff Joseph Holt says hosting Horizons aligns well with the College’s commitment to Kent Forward, the initiative launched by Dixon CEO Dick Goodall to enhance public education and economic opportunities in the county. “These are bright, promising children, and we consider it a privilege to be involved in a program as effective and respected as Horizons,” Holt says. “Instead of losing progress over summer vacation, these students can return to their public school classrooms with more confidence in reading, math and science. That’s good for them and good for their teachers and classmates.”
Horizons was founded as a single program at the New Canaan Country School in Connecticut in 1964. Three decades later its founders launched the national affiliate program, which today boasts more than 40 sites across the U.S. (For more information, visit www.horizonsnational.org.) In 1995, Kent School brought the program to Kent County, becoming one of the first two national affiliates. The Kent County program moved to Radcliffe Creek School in 2009 and in 2014 changed its name to Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s to reflect the new site at The Gunston School.