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Elon Academy kicks off with 26 new scholars

Twenty-six high school students moved into campus Sunday, June 13, 2010 to participate in the Delta Class of the Elon Academy, an academic enrichment and college access program that gives promising Alamance County students with no family history of higher education an opportunity to learn more about college.

To welcome the scholars who make up the Delta Class, academy students and staff gathered Monday afternoon 14 under the oaks on the Academic Village Plaza for a Special College Coffee.

Twenty six Alamance County high school students are taking part in the Elon Academy this summer on the Elon University Campus.

For the rising sophomores, the program, which includes a mix of academics and extracurricular activities, provides the first step toward achieving a college diploma. Their excitement was visible as they talked about their dreams and aspirations Monday afternoon.

“I’m really excited,” said Tiffany Lundy, 15, who attends Western Alamance High School. “I’m hopeful it will prepare me for a better future. I want to be a nurse.”

She said participating in the Academy is going to make it easier for her to transition into college once she finishes high school. She said her “dream school” is Duke University and though she knows it’s a school her family cannot afford, “I’m going to try my hardest.”

The program, which the university launched in 2006, is designed to help and inspire students who cannot afford college or otherwise have no plans to attend. It combines three intensive four-week summer residential experiences at Elon as well as a variety of academic activities throughout the school year. A total of 76 students are currently participating in the program.

Besides preparing him for college, 15-year-old Josh Chick, who attends Southern Alamance High School, said the program offers immediate lessons he can apply when he returns home.

Alamance County high school students taking part in the Elon Academy take a break during a Special College Coffee under the oaks on the Academic Village Plaza.

For instance, he said he plans to apply what he learns in a money managing class he will be taking to find ways to make money mowing lawns or doing similar chores.

Graham High School student Kehyonah Graves, 14, said the expectations are high during the program, adding that more than 200 area students applied for a chance to be part of the Delta class.

Being one of the 26 selected is "awesome," she said, adding that her parents are proud, too.

“They think it’s the biggest thing for me to do,” Graves said. “They want better for me than what they had.”

Her goal is to pursue a career in the medical or legal field. Her schools of choice are the University of Southern California and Harvard University.

Graves said the Elon Academy is neither a summer camp nor a school, though it combines features from both. While it offers many academic advantages, she said, it also allows students to develop much needed social skills.

“You learn how to come out of your shell,” she said.

Kateland Bunch, one of 12 Elon University student mentors who will be living with the academy scholars on campus, said many of the students participating would have never had the chance to do so if it wasn’t given to them. “It’s one of the most amazing opportunities,” she said. “And they love it.”

Keren Rivas,
6/1/2011 1:48 PM