For 54 years, the Horizons program has been building brighter futures for students from underserved communities primarily within Stamford and Norwalk. Our year-long educational model has been confirmed to eliminate the summer slide and reduce the achievement gap, putting our students on a path to success in school and in life. One of the program’s greatest accomplishments is college placement results that far surpass regional averages. According to the US Census Bureau, the college enrollment rate for low-income high school students was 67% in 2016.
Horizons at NCCS Board Chair, Jennifer Barnard revealed the exciting news that 100% of the Class of 2018 have enrolled in colleges, including Fordham University, Harvard University, Iona College, Lehigh University, Trinity College and the University of Connecticut, to highlight a few.
“Use the tools, the knowledge and the experiences that you have gained to get you to where you need to go,” encouraged graduation speaker, Nehemie Moise, who is the Horizons Family and Program Director and a Horizons alumna from the Class of 2007. “There is nothing in this life that will come easy; everything you have, you have got to work hard for, but I am confident that you will get there. I urge you to keep moving forward, even on the days when forward seems so hard.”
Student speaker, Diana Acosta, a graduate of Norwalk High School, gave this sage advice: “Broaden your horizons. Surround yourself with different people and find out something new from someone. Ask questions about everything. Talk to your teachers. Whatever you choose to do in the months to come, challenge yourself and meet someone new or read about something you know too little about.” Moise presented Nikayla Ashley, a graduating senior from Norwalk High School, with the Leah Kimmet College Aid Award, which recognizes outstanding kindness, enthusiasm and dedication to others.
Senior Program Dean of Students and Culture, Jackie Roberson, who is also a Horizons alumna from the Class of 1973, awarded Jude Infante, a graduating senior from Stamford High School who boasts a GPA of 4.6, with the Jackie Roberson Valedictorian Award.
As graduation certificates were presented to the seniors, each shared a reflection on his or her Horizons experience. “Dream the biggest to be the biggest,” said Nicolas Medina, a graduate of Brien McMahon High School. “Opportunity and hard work present infinite possibilities,” said Adiah Price-Tucker, a graduate of St. Luke’s School.
The new Horizons at NCCS Alumni Association will reunite graduates of the program from the last 54 years, as well as provide alumni with an ongoing avenue for personal, professional and educational networking and support.
“The Alumni Association is a way to preserve the things you valued most in your Horizons experience: connection to a caring community of friends and supporters who believe in you,” said Executive Director, Nancy von Euler. Any graduates of the program are invited to get in touch with the Horizons staff to find out more.