HorizonsSep 14, 2022
— updated Sep 14, 2022
Emerald Power, New Director of Horizons
Envisioning bold possibilities for a one-of-a-kind program
Since joining the Miss Hall’s Horizons team in 2019, Emerald Power has seen several iterations of the School’s signature service-learning and internship program.
There was the 2019-20 school year, with students heading off campus each week to volunteer and intern at more than 75 sites across Berkshire County — until COVID-19 changed all that in March 2020.
There was 2020-21, when the program was reimagined for on-campus and online learning during the height of the pandemic. And, there was 2021-22, which saw the return of off-campus and in-person experiences.
Now, Emerald is viewing the program from a whole new vantage point: as its Director. She was named in June to lead the one-of-a-kind program into its 28th year.
“I am excited to serve the program, the students, my colleagues, and the School in new ways,” says Emerald. “I see so much potential for the future of Horizons, and I see this as a pivotal year, coming out of the pandemic, moving into ‘post-pandemic’ life, and discovering what’s next for the program.”
Emerald joined Miss Hall’s in 2019 as Associate Director of Horizons, advising juniors in their Horizons experiences, coordinating grade-level programming, assisting with new programs, and helping Horizons adapt during the pandemic. In addition to her new role, Emerald also serves as Head Resident in the Main Building and will shift this year from 11th Grade Class Coordinator to 9th Grade Class Coordinator, a key part in guiding new students through their first year at Miss Hall’s.
Held each Wednesday, Horizons provides students opportunities to build leadership and advocacy skills, explore college and career interests, and learn how to influence the world around them. Students participate in internships, volunteer opportunities, class-wide projects, and workshops in a curriculum that evolves sequentially, building on each year’s lessons as they progress from ninth through twelfth grade.
In her role, Emerald will be a key player in the design, development, and implementation of new Horizons partnerships that advance the School’s mission and vision and forge meaningful partnerships with local, regional, and global organizations. She will also be advising 9th- and 10th-graders on their Horizons experiences.
“I am eager to think longer-term, not only about this year and next, but also about five years from now, and what new partnerships or opportunities that could mean,” she notes. “It’s really about taking the great things the program does and seeing a long-term vision for what’s next.”
One exciting opportunity this year is a budding partnership with Girl Up, a global leadership development organization that guides girls on their journey from leader to changemaker. MHS will pilot a Girl Up collaboration, working to integrate that curriculum into the Horizons experience.
“I am eager to think longer-term, not only about this year and next, but also about five years from now, and what new partnerships or opportunities that could mean.”
Director of Horizons
Other plans this year include building on the financial literacy program developed with 11th graders last year, and continuing the Empowered Changemakers project launched last year with sophomores. Seniors will again intern with organizations in and beyond the Berkshires, and the ninth-grade program continues to evolve, with experiences designed to integrate new students into the community and prepare them for organizing their annual Horizons Plant Sale in the spring.
“What I love about Horizons is that there really is no limit to what the program can be in terms of an expanded reach and partnerships, whether globally, or through connections with alums, or even with other schools,” Emerald adds.
It was as an undergraduate at Siena College and participating in the four-year Bonner Service Leadership Program that Emerald dove into experiential and service learning. She served as a Girl Scouts Program Coordinator for the Troy School District and as a Bonner Program Associate, facilitating training and workshops and creating curriculum with a focus on social justice issues and professional development.
“I got involved with Bonner because I knew I wanted to do community engagement in college,” says Emerald, who contributed an estimated 2,400-plus hours of local, national, and global service as an undergraduate. “I was able to have that experience in college, but Horizons offers our students similar experiences while still in high school.”
The ability to make a difference, Emerald notes, is not limited by one’s age.
Horizons in Action
Now in its 28th year, Horizons is Miss Hall’s signature service-learning and internship program. It provides pathways to student success: leadership skills, change-making experience, and real-life opportunities at more than 75 professional offices, businesses, nonprofits, and arts organizations in the Berkshires. These experiences consistently set Miss Hall’s students apart as they apply to colleges and go on to change the world.
“Service learning helps students discover the individual impact they can make, and also how they can be one of many pillars in a community — not just serving a community, but serving with a community as an active participant,” says Emerald, who is eager to act on that vision in her new role. “We have opportunities to revitalize ongoing partnerships, to be innovative, and to think of new things to come. It’s a time to solidify where the program is and use the year as a stepping-stone to where we are going.”