Success Stories


Kenya Samuels

It all began at Higher Horizons!

Kenya Gray is a Senior Relationship Manager at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), in Washington, DC. She joined the UNCF after working for the DC Public Charter School system as a college and career counselor. With more than 15 years in education under her belt, Kenya is a seasoned professional ensuring that students are afforded the opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives by attending college. At UNCF, Kenya’s work is focused on managing a multi-million-dollar scholarship portfolio from a vast array of donors. These programs assist the UNCF with its north star of sending students to and through college.

In addition to her managerial experience at the UNCF, Kenya has served in many leadership roles in the alumnae association of her undergraduate institution, Bennett College. Currently she serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Bennett College National Alumnae Association and as the immediate past president of the Metro DC Bennett College Alumnae Chapter. Her passion is ensuring students are exposed to the vast array of HBCUs across the country and works tirelessly to ensure that students are aware of their existence and the possibilities to find a home there. In addition to her BA degree in Mass Communications from Bennett College, Kenya two additional Master’s Degrees Teaching Public Relations from American University, Washington, DC. It all began at Higher Horizons!

Micah Parker

It all began at Higher Horizons in 1997 – 1998!

Micah Parker is in his second year as an assistant basketball coach at USC Aiken. Parker arrived at USC Aiken after serving as the head coach with 17U Premier. During the 2020-21 season, he was the women’s assistant varsity coach at Woodbridge Senior High School and was assistant varsity coach at Osbourn Park H.S. for the 2019-2020 season. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator with 17U Premier. Throughout his coaching career, Parker has handled numerous duties including scouting, film analysis, on-court adjustments, practice planning, evaluating player’s skills and developing training programs for student-athletes of all ages and skill levels.

He has coached over 30 student-athletes that moved on to college.   Parker began his playing career at Louisburg College, helping the squad to a No. 1 national ranking and to the NJCAA Region X title. He continued his career at North Greenville, claiming the 2015 Conference Carolinas Tournament MVP. Parker led the Crusaders to their first-ever league championship and first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration. It all began at Higher Horizons in 1997 – 1998!


Kevin Jaramillo

He connected through music.

Kevin was one of the first students in the Early Head Start program at Higher Horizons. He was enrolled from 2002 to 2004. At birth, Kevin was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. After attending Head Start and Early Head Start at Higher Horizons, he transitioned to the Fairfax County Public Schools. He graduated from Annandale High School, completing in 2021. During 2021, Kevin was part of an effort to organize an Orchestra for students with disabilities. Under the direction of Annie Ray, Kevin was selected to play the cello, which he loves. This was the first initiative of its kind in the Fairfax County Public Schools. The program initiative was featured in the Washington Post January 9, 2022 “A teacher hoped to connect with students with disabilities. She found a way through music.”

From the Ted Talk – “The Sound of Success,” Annie works as a music teacher in Fairfax County and has created a music initiative for students in the CAT B (Students with significant or severe disabilities) program, which serves students with severe developmental or intellectual disabilities. In her talk, Annie explains her experience working with CAT B students and redefines what success looks like.” Ms Ray shared “Kevin’s cello has changed what everyday will look like for him.” “He reminds us that music is unique”.

Kevin played in the Spring Orchestra Concert at Annandale High School. Kevin was asked to return to Annandale as a Teaching Assistant! He is currently doing that, helping new students learn to play the cello. They will combine their efforts in concert with the other Annandale Orchestras on December 7, 2022. It all started at Higher Horizons where everyone has gifts and talents to offer!

The first time Kevin held a cello, he slid the bow ever so gently across the strings. A deep, sonorous note thrummed through the classroom. It hung for a moment. After waiting a respectful few seconds, his teacher asked how he was feeling. Kevin raised his hand to his iPad and pressed a button. A mechanized voice spoke for him, although not as well as the cello had just done. “Happy,” it said, and Fay drew the bow back across the strings.