Carolina Day School hosts summer learning program

Press release from Carolina Day School: 

Carolina Day School (CDS) has embarked on a partnership with Horizons National to host a high-quality, summer enrichment program on the CDS campus for eligible public school students. Though it is one of more than 50 affiliate Horizons sites across the country, it is the first site in Western North Carolina and is only the second such site in the state of North Carolina, the other being in Greenville, NC.

Horizons reaches students from low-income families who are particularly vulnerable to summer learning loss because of a lack of access to quality summer programs. Through academic enrichment focused on literacy, STEM, the arts, and sports, Horizons changes the life trajectory of low-income students by instilling in them the joy of learning, the skills for success, and the inspiration to realize their dreams.

Horizons came to Carolina Day School with strong support from Head of School Kirk Duncan and CDS trustee Swati Patel, along with her husband Himanshu Karvir. A 1992 graduate of CDS, Patel and her husband are parents to two CDS students, and both served this year as event chairs for the school’s annual tuition assistance fundraising event Share the Promise. Patel and her husband believe that education is a game-changer not only for students, but also for entire families.

“When I first read about Horizons, I could see that it was not only a great fit for Carolina Day, but also for Asheville and Buncombe County,” said Patel. “The strength and success of this program relies on Horizons students returning every summer to continue their academic enrichment. But Horizons at Carolina Day is more than a summer academic enrichment program. It is about building long-term relationships—ones that allow children to be supported outside of the regular academic calendar, and more importantly, allow them to flourish when they return to the classroom in the fall. Through creating strategic partnerships within our community, Horizons at Carolina Day will build a strong foundation on which children can stand as we work to bridge the achievement gap and help students reach their academic potential.”

The goal for Horizons at Carolina Day in year one is to work with Elinor Earle of Youthful HAND to identify 15 rising first-grade students to join the program. Students from several Asheville area schools will be selected for participation, all of whom are living in public housing communities.

Students will spend six weeks on the campus of Carolina Day School each summer. In small classes led by professional teachers, students delve into a rich curriculum. Swimming and other confidence-boosting activities break down barriers to success and immerse children in new opportunities. Children join Horizons the summer after kindergarten and return to the program each year through Grade 9, building lasting relationships with their teachers and peers, and developing life skills essential for success.

Data collected over the years by Horizons National shows that this program has had great outcomes for students across the country, and everyone involved with Horizons at Carolina Day is excited to bring it to the Asheville area. According to Monica Antonazzo, Executive Director of Horizons at Carolina Day, “Folks in the education field know that kids from high poverty areas who struggle in school need small classes, one-on-one attention, and innovative teaching techniques to help them reach parity with their more affluent peers. We are so happy to be able to bring these opportunities to the children in our community who need them the most.” According to data from Horizons National, 97% of children who participate in the program graduate high school, while 91% go on to attend college or some other form of post-secondary education. Horizons at Carolina Day hopes to offer the same opportunities to its participants in a state where nearly 20% of students living in poverty do not graduate from high school.

“I am a big believer in the Horizons program,” says CDS Head of School Kirk Duncan. “Having worked with that organization at a school in Atlanta, I saw how the program helps students gain an enriched summer learning experience. I also saw how the Horizons program created buy-in from the host school. Carolina Day is thrilled to host a Horizons program that will no doubt have a profound impact on the lives of all involved.”

Next year, the program will expand to include rising Grade 2 students, who will then have the opportunity to return to campus through Grade 9.

Learn more about Horizons at Carolina Day School at

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