Ann Dujardin '10, a graduate of the Horizon program and now a special-education teacher at the Shenandoah Autism Center, in Clifton Forge, Virginia, knew when she first saw the Hollins campus that it was the right place for her to continue her education. While earning her associate's degree in elementary education at Dabney Lancaster Community College, Dujardin visited Hollins for a music recital in the chapel. "As soon as I drove on the campus, I thought, 'This is where I need to be,'" she says. "It was beautiful and it felt like home."
She arrived at Hollins after a military career, marriage, motherhood, a cross-country move and two years of community college. In 2003, Dujardin and her family left the crowds and crime of the Detroit area and moved to Bath County, Virginia, where her husband had vacationed as a child and where the couple felt they could raise their two sons in a peaceful, healthful environment. A year later, Dujardin began working as a substitute teacher and loved it so much that she began her college education toward that goal. "I decided that I wanted to teach all along," she says.
After completing her associate’s degree, she had planned to earn her bachelor's degree at another four-year university until the night she came to Hollins. It was the best decision she could have made, she says. She entered Hollins in the fall of 2007 as a child psychology major with an education minor. Knowing she would teach full time eventually, she says, "I needed to know how their brains work."
Dujardin praises her professors, some of whom were younger than she was but who treated her like any other student. Her advisor and mentor, Professor Randy Flory, left a lasting impression. "He was fabulous," she says. "He even helped me to decide to go into special ed. He taught me to understand behavioral analysis and the things I’m doing now every day."
True to its name, the Horizon program broadened Dujardin's own horizons. Her fellow students, from all over the country, regarded her as an equal and became lifelong friends, she says. "I gained so much life experience, and it opened my eyes," she says. "I learned so many things at Hollins—not just about teaching, but about the world in general."