The 2020-21 school year will mark the 10th anniversary of The Hill School of Wilmington. As we look forward to celebrating this achievement, we thought we would have a chat with one of our founding (and current) board members, Beth Chadwick, about the genesis of our remarkable school.
Tell us a bit about how the idea for The Hill School of Wilmington was born.
In 2008, The Hill Center in Durham’s director came to Wilmington to discuss the possibility of starting a replication site here in Wilmington. The Hill Center had been open for 30 years with a very successful program for children with learning differences. The director met with parents and educators from Cape Fear Academy and New Hanover County Schools.
This meeting must have truly inspired you. What happened next?
We all agreed there needed to be a school like this in southeastern North Carolina to teach children with learning differences. After the meeting, we formed a committee, had an informational meeting for parents and educators, formed a board of directors, purchased the replication package from The Hill Center, hired a director, and opened our doors in 2010 at St. James Episcopal Church.
What motivated you to want to be a part of the development?
The Hill Center had a great reputation for teaching children with learning differences, and I was encouraged by the passionate and caring people at the first meeting who knew the importance of helping children with learning differences. Also, there was no school in this area specifically designed to teach children with learning differences.
What was your role in the development process?
My role in the development process was as a parent interested in helping children with learning differences. And I was passionate about getting a school here to help struggling students.
Why was it important to develop a school here in Wilmington for this specific student population?
Because there wasn’t a school here that served this specific student population. And learning differences are not going to go away. There will be children now and, in the future, that will benefit from the HSW forever!
What does the Hill School's mission statement mean to you?
The HSW mission is “To empower children who have learning differences with the skills needed to become confident, independent learners.” This mission is very powerful because all children need to have the opportunity to learn and succeed even if they learn differently.
As a member of the board, what do you envision for Hill's future (additional programs, etc.)?
As a member of the board, I see the school teaching and reaching as many students as we can through our day school, after school tutoring, outreach programs, and summer school. We have such an outstanding product (the School) that the community needs to be more aware of. We need to get the word out to all!
Your children are grown, what has motivated you to continue supporting Hill as a board member?
Even though my children are grown and do not need the Hill School, there are so many children out there who do and would excel in this environment! School can be so hard and not every child learns the same.
Something I remember from a long time ago:
“Children first need to learn to read, then they read to learn”
What a profound statement and the backbone for why the Hill School is so important!