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Sacred Heart University, in affiliation with Horizons National, brought 65 low-income students entering first through fourth grade from Bridgeport Public and Cathedral Education Cluster schools to its campus for six weeks in the summer of 2014. These students, many of whom are the first in their families to step onto a college campus, were inspired by their summer days at Sacred Heart to set high goals for their education. The Horizons at Sacred Heart University program will continue to grow each year resulting in a robust K-8 program within the decade.
“Research shows that children who don’t have the opportunity to continue learning over the summer fall behind academically,” said John J. Petillo, Ph.D., president of Sacred Heart. “We are happy to work with Horizons to help ensure these young people make progress academically, socially and physically and learn to value the benefits of education. This is an excellent way to put our facilities to use during the summer.” Board members include faculty and administrators from within Sacred Heart, as well as educators and business leaders from the outside community.
Sacred Heart provided in kind use of its campus and administrative services, while local and national philanthropic support enabled the students to receive a tuition-free summer enrichment program. This transformative program is offered on the campuses of independent and post-secondary schools across the country. Through Horizons, public and private schools and universities create partnerships unique to their community. The Horizons model blends high-quality academics with arts, sports, cultural enrichment and confidence-building activities. All Horizons students learn to swim, making enormous gains in self-confidence that spill over into the classroom.
“We are excited to have Sacred Heart University in the Horizons family,” said Lorna Smith, CEO of Horizons National. “Horizons at Sacred Heart University is a model program on a college campus.”