Founded by Thayer alumnus and history teacher Rob Dixon ‘79 P’03,‘16 in 1993, Project RISE (Respect, Integrity, and Success through Education) is an academic enrichment program which runs both in the summer and during the school year.
Each summer approximately 100 African-American and Hispanic/Latino students come from Boston to Thayer Academy to attend small classes and receive individualized instruction over a 7-week period. Students participate in cultural awareness classes to increase appreciation of their heritage. Students also participate in summer camp activities such as swimming, archery, and arts and crafts. On Fridays, students go on field trips to such places as Canobie Lake Park, Sky Zone, or a roller skating rink.
Many of the students who attend Project RISE excel in mathematics and English and return to their schools with increased self-esteem and a renewed love of learning.
Project RISE History
Project RISE was founded during the summer of 1993 as an experimental pilot program for at-risk males. In its first year, 17 young men attended the program and nine were referred by their juvenile probation officers. These young men participated in a six-week academic and cultural enrichment program that would provide them with positive alternatives for their futures.
The Project RISE Summer Program was staffed by a combination of certified private and public school teachers, college students (counselors), and volunteers (tutors). These staff members provided approximately 20 hours per week of literacy, mathematics, and study/organizational skills instruction using accelerated curricula. Extracurricular activities were also provided, including art, dance, aerobics, swimming, photography, and woodshop.
In 1994, Project RISE became a co-ed program and has been so ever since.
In 2002, Project RISE created its high school program, which accepted 22 students.
In the fall of 2017, Project RISE officially became part of Thayer Academy.
The Summer Program has grown significantly since then, offering more enrichment activities such as field trips, multicultural history classes, art projects, and hands-on science experiments. There’s also a guest speaker forum which allows prominent community leaders to share their stories of resilience and success with the students. Former speakers include Governor Deval Patrick, attorney John J. Hightower, and Dr. Keith Motley, Chancellor of UMASS-Boston.
Project RISE Student Demographics
Students come from a diverse pool of academic environments, including:
70% of Project RISE students come from Boston Public Schools; 30% are from other schools and districts.