HorizonsJun 16, 2021

updated Jun 18, 2021

New Horizons

Student-led projects showcase flexibility and impact

(Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle)

Last summer, our Horizons team faced a central question: How do we adjust this program — which was designed to send students out into the local community — for a school year in which students wouldn’t be allowed off-campus?

The answer? “With great intention and dedication to our students’ learning and to the integrity of Horizons,” explains Director of Horizons Alison Basdekis. “We shifted the program significantly, but not at the expense of what is core and dear to us.”

This year’s program for juniors is a perfect example of how to make that happen. There are nine, student-led projects, each with authentic community impact and facilitated by MHS faculty, both remotely and in-person.

A key tenet of the year is student voice and facilitating a team dynamic, notes Associate Director of Horizons Emerald Power. “We are encouraging students to value the process of starting a project and the journey from the beginning of that work on through to completion,” she adds.

Seniors participated in remote internships, personalized projects, or “IN-ternships” on the MHS campus with Miss Hall’s Faculty. Horizons priorities overall this year included maintaining access to community learning, even in a remote setting, and dedicating time in the schedule for personalized learning and exploring student passions. The team is taking what it has learned this year and using it to plan for 2021–2022.

“We have 25-plus years of experience running this phenomenal program, and we’re living a brave new world, so we are going to evolve with that,” Ms. Basdekis notes. “We’ve proven that we can live through these unsettling times and show our students what’s possible — and they’re showing us what’s possible.”

Photos from the “Picture This” Horizons site. For one of their projects, students recorded themselves reading children’s books for the 24-Hour Pajama Read-A-Thon hosted by the Berkshire Museum.

11th Grade Projects

A quick list of junior Horizons projects that thrived this past year.

Girls Right the World — online literary journal featuring work by young, female-identified writers and artists from around the globe. Faculty Advisor: Emily Pulfer-Terino ’97. Learn more:​ ​ ​ ​ https://girlsrighttheworld.com

MAPS (Mira’s Alliance for Philanthropic Sustainability) — students fundraise and promote sustainable philanthropy in our community and around the world. Faculty Advisors: Emerald Power & Alison Basdekis

TEDx Team — hosted a virtual TEDx event called “Boundless,” about youth activating positive change in the world. Faculty Advisor: Alison Basdekis. Learn more: ​https://www.misshalls.org/stories/tedxyouth-at-mhs

Miss Hall’s Makes — a blog designed to celebrate and disseminate student work. Faculty Advisor: Liz Kulze. Learn more: https://makes.misshalls.org

MHS Media Team — students generate stories, photos, and videos for the MHS website and the Miss Hall's Magazine. Faculty Advisors: Merritt Colaizzi & David Smith P’20

Project G.I.R.L. (Gumption in Real Life) — examines and documents girls’ perspectives on relevant and current topics of girlhood (i.e. race, body image, gender, sexuality, education, and more). Faculty Advisor: Emerald Power

Hatchery — Students create their own business and donate profits
to charities. Faculty Advisor: Ellie Spangler. Learn more: ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ https://www.misshalls.org/stories/hatchery-marketplace-launches-march-31

Filling Empty Bowls — investigating local food insecurity and, when on campus, throwing on the pottery wheel and creating as many bowls as possible for the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser, which supports the Berkshire Food Project. Faculty Advisor: G Grosenbeck

Picture This — examines diversity and representation in children’s literature and explores ways to promote early literacy. Faculty Advisor: Rebecca Cook-Dubin P’24