061919_MNS_Horizons_Atlanta_001 Alex Wan with students

Horizons Atlanta Executive Director Alex Wan, second from left, hugs some students at one of the organization’s previous events. The students’ names were not released to protect their privacy.

Asa Hutchinson, who has served as governor of Arkansas since 2015, has a unique perspective on the value of learning.

“You’re never too old to start learning and you are never too young to aim high and achieve great things,” he said.

His philosophy is shared by the leaders of Horizons Atlanta, a six-week, tuition-free, summer enrichment program which, according to a news release on the organization, supports underprivileged children from kindergarten through eighth grade discover the joy of learning skills for success and inspiration to achieve their dreams.

Although this week marks the start of most Horizons Atlanta programs in its nine metro Atlanta locations, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Horizons Atlanta site.

The eight other Horizons Atlanta locations – Atlanta International School, Atlanta Technical College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University (Paulding campus), Purpose Built Schools Atlanta and Woodward Academy – were founded between 2012 and 2017.

The Holy Innocents’ campus will have a private celebration recognizing the school’s 20-year involvement with Horizons Atlanta June 19 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Midtown. This celebration will also include members of the Phoenix-based Horizons organization’s national board (the original Horizons program was founded in 1964).

A public 20th anniversary party will be Sept. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the Holy Innocents’ campus.

“This will be a community event,” Horizons Atlanta Executive Director Alex Wan said. “We hope that many of our former students and their families will attend, as well as people in the community who have helped this program here at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal grow and reach 20 years.

“Members of our national board will also be attending (the public party) as we say thank you to those who have been instrumental to our success for 20 years and welcome in the next 20 years of Horizons Atlanta on this campus.”

Of the milestone, Wan said, “To be able to celebrate our 20th anniversary means we are proud that the Horizons model has been offered to Atlanta students for this long, and we are still continuing to grow and help support as many kids as we can.”

Kate Kratovil, the site director for the Holy Innocents’ location, is employed by the school but represents Horizons Atlanta. She said it makes her feel very proud to know this school and its student volunteers are giving back to the community.

“Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School is not just interested (in) the students who pay tuition, but this school is also concerned about the greater community. They want to make sure that all children in the community have a quality education,” Kratovil said. “I am very proud to work for a private school who not only cares about their students’ well-being but also the well-being of those students who are less fortunate.”

According to a news release on the anniversary, Horizons Atlanta will serve close to 1,000 students this summer at its various locations, with 135 attending the Holy Innocents’ one. The release stated students attending this program at Holy Innocents’ are mostly Hispanic and attend High Point and Lake Forest elementary schools and Ridgeview Charter Middle School.

The Horizons Atlanta summer program usually has about 40 Holy Innocents’ student volunteers, the release stated. It is funded by both donations and grants.

The Horizons Atlanta curriculum is based on global citizenship and community. The middle-year students will once again focus on one human rights theme for the summer. The release stated students in the program this summer will study the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and are again scheduling guest speakers.

For more information on Horizons Atlanta, visit www.horizonsatlanta.org. For more information on its Holy Innocents’ campus, visit www.hies.org/campus-life/horizons.

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