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Elon Academy receives local business, foundation support

Three Alamance County businesses and a local foundation have made commitments to support the Elon Academy, a new program to promote higher education for talented high school students who might not have the financial means or family history of attending college. Details...

LabCorp, Glen Raven, Inc., Capital Bank and the Smith Family Foundation have made multi-year commitments to the program, which was launched this summer. The Elon Academy previously received in-kind contributions of materials and equipment from Carolina Biological Supply Company, and Camera Corner, as well as services from local physicians who provided physical exams for students.

Additional fundraising is taking place to finance future operation of the program.

"The Elon Academy is a community effort, and these contributions are essential to ensure that we can continue to build this exciting program," says Leo M. Lambert, Elon University president. "While Elon has taken the lead in launching the program and providing housing, facilities and administrative support, the program cannot continue without an ongoing partnership with businesses and individuals who recognize the value of this investment in our area's future."

Each year, approximately 25 rising sophomores from the Alamance-Burlington School System will join the program, which combines four-week summer residential experiences with monthly sessions during the academic year. The 26 students in the inaugural class, who are from all six public high schools in the county, will continue in the program through the next three years. Eventually, the Elon Academy will have an annual enrollment of about 70 students.

"We're changing lives," says Deborah Long, Elon Academy director. "Already, these outstanding young scholars have adjusted they way they think of themselves and their futures. The Elon Academy will have a ripple effect on our local schools, as the students take what they have learned back to the classrooms and tell their peers about the importance of studying hard and planning for the future."

Long says she is gratified by the support the program has received. Start-up funding for the Elon Academy's inaugural summer session, which ended July 13, was provided by a $220,000 lead gift by Elon alumnus Edna Noiles and her husband Doug, of New Canaan, Conn. 

Students in the Elon Academy participate in a variety of academic courses and activities, including classes on writing, history, science and mathematics and technology. They also take field trips and receive one-on-one mentoring to plan for continuing their education after high school. Elon University faculty, administrators and students are joined by other local educators in working with the students.

"The Elon Academy is one of the most enriching and academically powerful programs I have ever partaken in," says Elon Academy student Christopher Glockson.

"I hope to go to a university and at least get my master's degree in two foreign languages, Spanish and Japanese," says 15-year-old Sarah Rawls. "I also would like to learn maybe one or two more languages such as Chinese and Latin, or maybe French … Whatever I do, I want to do my best."

The mission of the Elon Academy is to inspire academically oriented students, who are often underrepresented on college and university campuses, to pursue higher education, build leadership skills and develop an active sense of social responsibility.

Eligible students must have a desire to succeed, be willing to commit to the three-year program, demonstrate academic promise, have no history of disciplinary problems, and demonstrate financial need or have no family history of college attendance.

Information sessions for the Elon Academy's second class will be held in September and October, with applications due Nov. 16. For information on how to apply, students should visit the Elon Academy Web site at the link below...

Dan Anderson,
Staff
2/4/2008 4:52 PM