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Elon Academy celebrates scholar success

Twenty-two high school students who make up the Elon Academy Beta Class were honored May 4 in an afternoon ceremony that featured remarks from Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, reflections from the scholars themselves, and a rendition of “Grateful” by one graduating senior who will study music at Elon beginning this fall.

Members of the Elon Academy Beta Class pose with Elon University President Leo M. Lambert following the afternoon celebration ceremony in their honor on May 4.

The McKinnon Hall event welcomed the scholars and their families, as well as school leaders and teachers from across Alamance County.

“We are just beaming with pride, scholars, for your wonderful accomplishments,” Lambert said. “You have in you the ability to get to where you want to go. You’re going to accomplish great things, and we at Elon are very proud in playing a small role in helping you achieve your goals.”

Araceli Morales-Santos, a senior at Graham High School, delivered remarks on behalf of the class. Morales-Santos is the recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship, and since she has already been awarded a full scholarship to Wake Forest University in the fall, the honor from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be applied toward graduate school.

"The Elon Academy means a lot not just to students, but to family members as well," she said. "And the Elon Academy is another home to me."

Araceli Morales-Santos will attend Wake Forest University on a full scholarship.

The parent of a Beta Class scholar also spoke to the audience. Nikki Bradsher's son, JaJuan, attends Eastern Alamance High School and found a path to college because of his involvement in the program. Bradsher herself has volunteered often with the Academy.

"The learning experience for JaJuan has been wonderful," she said. "His enthusiasm confirmed that I didn't want to be a parent of the Elon Academy, I wanted to be a partner."

Elon University launched the Elon Academy in 2007 to give students from local high schools the opportunity to embrace education, develop leadership skills and engage in various outreach venues. Directed by professor Deborah Long, who speakers praised along with other faculty and staff instrumental to the program's success, the academy is welcoming its fifth class of students into the program this summer.

The Alpha Class, the Academy's inaugural cohort, graduated last year.

C.J. Moore (right), who will attend Elon in the fall, sang "Grateful" as a tribute to those who have helped the Beta Class through the Elon Academy.

Modeled after similar programs at Princeton, Furman and Vanderbilt universities, the Academy is a year-round program for students in the Alamance-Burlington School System who have financial need or have no family history of college attendance. It combines three intensive four-week summer residential experiences at Elon with a variety of academic activities throughout the school year.

Its goal is to inspire and empower students to attend four-year colleges or universities, and go on to assume leadership roles in their communities.

College Acceptances for Members of the Beta Class

1.) Barton College
2.) Belmont Abbey College
3.) Campbell University
4.) Coastal Carolina University
5.) Davidson College
6.) East Carolina University
7.) Elon University
8.) Fayetteville State University
9.) Furman University
10.) Gardner-Webb University
11.) Guilford College
12.) High Point University
13.) Johnson & Wales University
14.) Lenoir-Rhyne College
15.) North Carolina A&T University
16.) North Carolina Central University
17.) N.C. State University
18.) N.C. Wesleyan University
19.) Penn State University
20.) Queens University in Charlotte
21.) Roanoke College
22.) UNC-Asheville
23.) UNC-Chapel Hill
24.) UNC-Charlotte
25.) UNC-Greensboro
26.) UNC-Pembroke
27.) UNC-Wilmington
28.) University of Tennessee
29.) Wake Forest University
30.) Western Carolina University
31.) Wingate University
32.) Winthrop University

Eric Townsend,
11/23/2011 10:17 AM