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New Canaan Country School and Horizons Honored

New Canaan Country School’s Head of School, Aaron Cooper, was presented the Andrew Clarkson Award by Horizons National CEO Lorna Smith at the annual Horizons National conference held in Asheville, NC, Feb. 27. Established in 2016, the accolade is given to honor an individual or institution for their longevity of commitment, embodiment of the Horizons mission, and work that has been leveraged across the entire Network. It was fittingly presented to Mr. Cooper, who was accompanied by Horizons at NCCS Executive Director Nancy von Euler, in that New Canaan Country School (NCCS) founded the first of what would become over 71 Horizons program sites in 20 states, and celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year.

In accepting the award, Mr. Cooper acknowledged those original pioneers, noting their commitment to providing opportunities for under-resourced students through the utilization of the New Canaan, CT school facilities and other available resources, a legacy which lives on today.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants. Sixty years ago, some NCCS teachers had a dream that Head of School George Stevens enthusiastically embraced - to develop a program, starting in the summer, that provided academic enrichment and swimming lessons to students from underserved or less well represented populations in the neighboring area. Part of the dream was to help NCCS become a more diverse school and part was to expand the vantage point, or dare I say, the Horizons of the students it served. This was in 1964, early days for the Civil Rights movement and before even the National Association of Independent Schools itself named a diverse learning environment as a tenet of best practice. With Lyn McNaught at the helm and the unwavering support of the NCCS community, Horizons @ NCCS flourished, and then with Lyn’s vision, Horizons National soon followed. And now I have the pleasure of looking out at all of you here, furthering this original purpose and these principles.”

“This honor is well deserved by the people who had the vision, passion, support, and talent to bring Horizons to life sixty years ago and to help it spread as it has,” Mr. Cooper continued. “My hope at New Canaan Country School is that Nancy and I, as stewards of this vision, can perpetuate it, solidify it, and nurture it to even greater impact.”

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