Check out how Horizons Hampton Roads is inspiring minds, building community, and transforming lives!
Andy Stark, 6th Grade Norfolk Site Summer Teacher
Our Norfolk summer teacher, Mr. Andy Stark, was selected as Middle School Teacher of the Year by Horizons National. Andy received this honor by Lyn McNaught herself at the 2016 Horizons National conference in Atlanta. Mr. Stark shares his passion for teaching: “As a teacher, people automatically assume that once summer vacation arrives, I go into full vacation mode. They are very surprised when I tell them I start teaching as soon as summer vacation begins. Horizons is what teaching and learning is supposed to be, an opportunity to learn without risk of failure. Horizons caters to low income students who are generally behind their wealthier counterparts. They provide much more than an average summer school program that solely focuses on academics. Every child in Horizons learns to swim. The confidence they gain in the pool, going from being afraid to put their head under water to begging to jump in the deep end, transfers to the classroom. They gain a sense of self confidence that they did not before. Many of the Horizons students have very little exposure to the world outside of their neighborhood. Horizons provides them field trips every week to get them exposure to the world outside of their neighborhood. Horizons also provides breakfast, lunch, and a snack for every student every day, many of whom would not have anything to eat at home otherwise. As great as all of these things are, I feel that Horizons biggest accomplishment is instilling a love of learning in our students. We see this every summer when the vast majority of students return. Even when many of them graduate out of the program, a lot of them come back as volunteers. So when people ask me why I give up half my vacation to teach, I simply tell them because I’m helping change lives.”
Ginnie German, 7th Grade Virginia Beach Site Summer Teacher
“Each morning, as I readied myself for another day at Horizons Hampton Roads, I woke up excited, thrilled for the chance to greet the thirteen smiling faces with whom I would spend my summer learning, discovering, and laughing. For six weeks, I got to spend eight hours a day with some of the most incredible seventh graders I have ever had a chance to meet. These children, some not even old enough to be called “teens” yet, were some of the most academically dedicated, talented, and compassionate individuals with whom I’ve ever had a chance to work. As a teacher, you expect to see a few students each year who break the mold and rise above and beyond your expectations—at Horizons, this was every student I had the privilege of teaching.
“My students’ desire to learn, investigate, and interact with the world around them challenged me as a teacher; I had to grow and learn with them so that I could fulfill their needs as a facilitator, helping them reach for the knowledge all around them. The aim of Horizons is simple, target students who are economically disadvantaged and provide them with the resources and instruction they need to ensure that they remain on or above grade level, but the power behind this program is anything but modest. Horizons Hampton Roads offers a unique educational experience to students who most need those extra hours of intensive and dedicated instruction and the gains they make are extraordinary. I am truly honored for the part I got to play in the lives of my students, who graciously allowed me to learn and grow with them throughout the summer. ” – Ms. German
Alexander Carter, rising 8th Grader
“Horizons to me is the best time every summer. I am currently in the 8th grade and I have been attending since 5th grade. Each year has helped me for the following school year and allowed me to strengthen in my weakest areas of study. I have Mr. Barrett, Mr. Neal and this past summer, I had Ms. German, who is a great teacher! I also enjoy the extracurricular activities such as swimming, art and playing musical instruments, which I play the viola in middle school and participated in the end of the summer program at Horizons and played a solo piece with my class. I also love the field trips. I am an inquisitive person and love to learn new things and that’s what’s so great about the places we get to visit. I look forward to attending this summer and returning the following summer as a volunteer.” – Alex