By Tim Ryan

Casey Roberts, Executive Director of Virginia’s New Horizons Regional Education Centers, recently provided a presentation to the Rotary Club of Newport News. Under Roberts’ leadership, New Horizons, the largest regional center in Virginia, is pioneering comprehensive and inclusive education with a range of innovative programs catering to diverse needs.

The Governor’s School, one of New Horizons’ gifted programs, nurtures talents in engineering, biological science, and computational science. These students often secure full scholarships to top-tier STEM schools. The class of 2021, with just 90 students, amassed over $8 million in scholarships.

The Center for Autism at New Horizons serves students with autism, providing academic training, transition skills, and employability expertise. In partnership with UNC Chapel Hill, a universal core communication system has been implemented to help nonverbal students communicate.

Newport Academy focuses on students with emotional or intellectual disabilities, offering academic training, transition skills, and employability skills, preparing them for societal integration and the world of work.

The Adult Apprenticeship and Adult Training program equips adults with practical skills at a lower cost than other providers. The Youth Workforce Center assists students facing employment barriers, and the Family Counseling Center, in collaboration with William and Mary, provides free mental health services.

New Horizons Education Foundation has raised over $800,000 for scholarships and grants. The center is also preparing students for the renewable energy sector, installing an operational wind turbine for hands-on training.

Roberts’ presentation underscored New Horizons’ commitment to ensuring that every student, regardless of their circumstances, has the opportunity to reach their full potential, setting a benchmark for quality education.