Inspiring minds,
building community,
transforming lives.

Horizons Graduate Profile – Meet Arielle

Posted March 11, 2019

Arielle with Mr. Arnette

Name, age, occupation, affiliation with Horizons:

Arielle Hankerson

Program Coordinator, International Programs, Operation Smile

Former student/volunteer/employee, current board member

How many years have you been affiliated with Horizons?

19 years – since Kindergarten!

Do you have any family members that were, or are currently, in the program?

2 brothers and 1 sister participated as well and continue to help out during the summers.

Do you feel like Horizons impacted your life?

I don’t know my life without Horizons. It is one of the things that has remained constant throughout my childhood and now into adulthood. It is where I grew and had new experiences and made friends with others who has shared experiences with me. I didn’t know how important that was while participating, but being able to relate to other students, being in a safe space and working with the same set of teachers for multiple summers, that provided a consistency to my life especially at intervals like the transition between middle and high school and then high school to college. The amount of exposure to new topics and opportunities is something that I am forever grateful to have had through Horizons. From learning about different cultures and parts of the world, to learning my love of service, to going on my first college tour, Horizons showed me a great big world and gave me the confidence necessary to take part in it. I think about the teachers who expected nothing less than the best out of me in every subject and how that has contributed to my growth in higher education.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Horizons?

Mr. Arnett has been a teacher at Horizons for as long as I can remember. He was my second grade teacher where we spent the summer learning about Australia, a place where I would choose to study abroad during my time in College. He taught our gym sessions when I was in middle school, and I had the opportunity to serve as his teaching assistant for a group of 8th graders. At all those staged in my life, he was a constant and encouraging presence for me. I loved and continue to love having the opportunity to learn from him in so many different ways. He truly embodies Horizons and I couldn’t imagine the program without him!

What is it that makes Horizons so special?

Horizons is a safe space for young people to grow into themselves both academically and beyond. The program has adapted over the years to best provide for its students and families by introducing volunteer opportunities and a high school program for students who have graduated from the program. It recognizes a student as a holistic being and not just a reading or math score. My Horizons family has always been one of my biggest support systems and to this day encourages me to continue to strive for my goals.  

Horizons Hampton Roads, Inc.


Horizons Hampton Roads is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Virginia non-profit corporation established to provide academic and social opportunities to school-age children living in families with limited income from kindergarten through eighth grades. Click here to read our Privacy Policy.

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