At Catholic University of America's Vitreous State Laboratory they watched glass change states, melting under intense heat from solid to liquid form.
Organizers of a trip that brought nearly 20 eighth and ninth graders to the CUA campus on July 12 hoped that their visit would produce another kind of changed state – this one of the mind – that would prompt the youngsters to imagine a college education as something real and attainable in their futures.
For at least the third time, Catholic University and the Columbus School of Law opened their doors to students in the D.C. area’s Horizons program, a six-week summer enrichment program designed to help children from low-income families develop a lifelong interest in learning, advance academic gains over the summer, and improve achievement in school. Students can enroll in the program as kindergarteners, and for many who visited today, this is their last summer with the Horizons program as rising ninth graders.
One of the local schools to participate in the Horizons program is the Maret School in northwest Washington, D.C. Teacher Julia Lipton, daughter of CUA Law’s Professor David Lipton, has led the Horizons group on a tour of the CUA campus in past years as part of her school’s support of the program.
"These college visits open up a new world for the Horizons students," said Lipton. "These kids are usually the first in their family to graduate from high school, let alone college."
The visiting middle and high-schoolers started off their day in Slowinski Courtroom and received a brief introduction to the schools at Catholic University from Professor Lipton. A CUA admissions counselor from the university’s undergraduate office also welcomed the Horizons group and discussed the characteristics that CUA looks for in a college applicant.
Later, they were taken on a campus tour that included a peek into a dorm room, visited the vitreous lab, had lunch and got to stroll among the books of the law school’s DuFour Library. Their day ended where it began, in Slowinski Courtroom, where the young men and women donned black judicial robes and enjoyed a mock certificate ceremony, designed to whet their appetites of earning an academic degree. More information about the Horizons at Maret progam can be found here: www.maret.org/horizons/about_us/index.aspx