Elon Academy scholars welcomed to campus with special College Coffee

Dozens of Alamance County high school students were introduced to the campus community in the 9th annual College Coffee held June 15 in honor of the Elon Academy.

With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, it was a welcome relief for the high school students participating in the Elon Academy to enjoy ice cream sundaes in the shade during their first full day on campus.

It was the university’s way of welcoming the 66 academy scholars to campus, where they will spent the next month living in residence halls and taking courses led by Elon faculty and staff.

After attending their first two classes earlier in the day, the scholars joined Elon faculty and staff at the annual College Coffee in their honor in front of Alamance Building. Sponsored by the Office of the President, the event is a “great opportunity to interact with college personnel in a personal and casual way,” said Terry Tomasek, associate professor of education and director of the Elon Academy.

Launched by the 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.

The 66 students, who represent every high school in Alamance County, include 21 rising seniors members of the Theta class, 20 rising juniors members of the Iota class and 25 rising sophomores members of the Kappa class, Elon’s ninth class in Elon Academy.

Being new doesn’t equate to being shy about having big dreams. Kappa scholar Haley Garrison learned about the program in seventh grade after reading an article in the local newspaper, and has been aiming to get in ever since. “I’m hoping to learn how to get into college and earn scholarships because my ultimate goal is to earn my doctorate and become an environmental engineer,” she said.

The excitement was palpable among members of the Kappa class. For many of them, this summer marks their first time on a college campus. Many members of the Iota class remembered having the same feeling when they first set foot on campus. Jeremy Leggete was one of them. He said he was as excited this time around as last year. He hopes to grow more as a leader in his second year in the program.

Fellow Iota class member Elizabeth Sobalvarro is looking forward to learning about the college preparation process more in-depth. Sobalvarro is no stranger to the program as her cousin and sister were in the Alpha and Beta classes, respectively.

For those who are beginning their final year in the program, it is a time of reflection on what they’ve accomplished so far. “The Elon Academy has helped me be more confident in who I am and my academics. It has made a real impact,” says Theta scholar Manuel Melgoza.

Sentiments like that are why the Elon Academy exists, Tomasek said. “We want all of our scholars to follow the Elon Academy way,” she added. “The path that puts us on track to go to college.”