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Project Horizons

Project Horizons is a college-track mentoring program for high-risk middle and high school students on the Eastern Shore. The program provides an extra academic, social, and cultural boost for economically disadvantaged underachievers, and exposes them to the post-secondary education environment.

How Students are Chosen

The program does not pursue “top” students, but instead focuses on promising under-achievers nominated by 6th grade teachers and guidance counselors.  The nominations are based on academic potential as well as economic, social, and academic needs.  Final selections are made by the PH coordinator, advised by school coordinators.

Who Are Our Students

  • Many are from single parent, poverty-level families; some are in foster care.
  • Some have been abused; some are orphans, or have parents who abandoned them or are in jail.
  • Some are teenage parents with a baby to support, on their own and struggling to survive.
  • Some are the children of migrant workers, with up to 12 family members in a one-room house.
  • Many have siblings who have already dropped out or already have criminal records.
  • Several have seen parents or siblings die violently, in crimes or accidents such as house fires.

Students Served

Since 1997, approximately:

  • 500 students have been served by PH
  • 80 students are in the program at any one time
  • 150 have graduated from high school
  • 55% of PH high-school graduates come to ESCC
  • 20% of PH high-school graduates go straight to a four-year post-secondary institution
  • 7% of PH high-school graduates go into the military

Currently there are approximately 10 PH students enrolled at ESCC.

Benfits to Students

For six years, 7th through 12th grades, students receive:

  • RECOGNITION:  Singled out as deserving of a special chance to succeed.
  • ATTENTION:  Regular one-on-one access to school coordinator.
  • REWARDS: Cash incentives to show good grades/future success connection. Amount earned will be matched and awarded again when student enters ESCC.
  • INCREASED CULTURAL, SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES: Workshops and two field trips a year to museums, historical sites, art centers, career sites, college campuses – for future motivation and interaction with peers.
  • EXTRA HELP: Through individual tutors if student is struggling with a subject.
  • FREE TUITION:  Two free years of tuition at ESCC, plus textbook stipend.

Program Requirements

Students must:

  • Study, keep grades up, and improve problem areas.
  • Inform school coordinator when help is needed with a problem subject.
  • Fill out Academic Incentive forms after each grading period to receive their cash rewards.
  • Maintain good behavior at home and school.
  • Stay drug-free and out of trouble.
  • Attend PH Orientation, and as many group activities, like Workshops, as possible.
  • REGISTER, ENROLL, COMPLETE FINANCIAL AID forms and attend classes at ESCC (for free tuition) or another accredited post-secondary institution.

School Coordinator’s Role

  • Acts as the on-site liaison between the program office and the individual student.
  • Meet regularly with participants; forwards reports for student’s PH files.
  • Alerts PH Coordinator to emergency needs, such as when school lacks tutoring resources, or if student has other problems.
  • Help student fill out incentive forms for cash rewards for As, Bs, and Cs.
  • Attend activities and field trips when possible.
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