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.
Ginnie German is a 7th grade teacher at Horizons Hampton Roads in Virginia.