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Special College Coffee welcomes Elon Academy scholars to campus

Alamance County high school students were introduced to the campus community in the 8th annual College Coffee held in honor of the Elon Academy.

Elon Academy scholars enjoyed ice cream on June 16, 2014, during the President's 8th annual College Coffee in honor of the Elon Academy.

Dozens of Alamance County high school students taking part in the Elon Academy enjoyed ice cream sundaes Monday during their first full day on campus this summer with the university’s college access and success program.

A special College Coffee hosted by University President Leo M. Lambert offered a relaxed social setting for nearly 70 gifted teenagers about to spend the next month living in residence halls while taking courses led by Elon faculty and staff.

Scholars had attended their first classes earlier in the day, and under a bright yellow sun, they carefully crafted desserts with hot fudge, caramel, strawberries and whipped cream while mingling around Fonville Fountain.

Now in its eighth summer, the Elon Academy traditionally has used ice cream socials to introduce scholars to the people with whom they will learn over the summer. It also allows the students a way to begin visualizing life at college.

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert on Monday introduced himself to many local high school scholars taking part this summer in the Elon Academy college access and success program.

“It helps scholars get a sense of the nature of the community, plus it allows scholars to think of themselves in a different role,” said Associate Professor Terry Tomasek, director of the Elon Academy. “They’re on a university campus and we want them to start thinking of themselves as potential university students.”

That’s precisely what Elon Academy scholars like Geraldo Cruz said they’re most eager to do. “I want to look at colleges and take classes like financial management that will help me in the long run,” said the rising sophomore at Cummings High School in Burlington. “I’m thankful that I got into this because I want to see what it’s like to live on a college campus.”

Launched by Elon University in 2007, the Elon Academy is an intensive college access and success program for local high school students with high financial need or no family history of attending college. It combines a month-long residential program over three successive summers with follow-up experiences during the academic year. A dozen members of the Elon Academy's first cohort received their college degrees this spring.

“Their experiences here hopefully will help them see themselves in very different ways,” Tomasek said. “It’s an enrichment program to help students see the possibilities of what could be if they start to think and learn and apply themselves in new ways.”

The special College Coffee took place on Scott Plaza between Fonville Fountain and the Alamance building.

For rising high school seniors starting their final summer on campus, Monday’s College Coffee also was a time to share advice with younger students.

Brittany Mitchell, a senior at Southern Alamance High School in Graham, recommended that new scholars “be open-minded” and unafraid of showing their true selves. “At the Elon Academy, everyone is very accepting,” she said. “Here, you can be who you are and not need to worry about others poking fun at you.”

Other returning scholars suggested that young students take risks and get to know classmates with whom they may have cultural or religious differences.

“Step outside of your shell,” said Korey Crisp, a senior at Cummings High School. “If you don’t get to know people, you can’t take as much away from the program.”

Eric Townsend,
6/16/2014 4:35 PM