The Elon Academy welcomes the 17th cohort of scholars, the Sigma class

Elon University's college access and success program held an orientation day on May 6 for the newly accepted scholars and families.

Yolviz Alberto, a newly accepted Sigma scholar, and her family on Orientation Day

Twenty-seven Alamance County ninth-graders were selected to join the 17th class of the Elon Academy. Elon Academy is the university’s college access and success program that partners with students traditionally underrepresented on a college campus, as well as their families, to provide guidance and resources to and through college.

The new cohort is the Sigma class, continuing Elon Academy’s tradition of naming each cohort after a letter from the Greek alphabet. These students were selected out of nearly 130 applicants from across Alamance County following a competitive application and interview process.

Sigma scholar Jaime Carranza-Navarrete shaking hands with Elon Academy’s Assistant Director of College Access, Fredrick Evans,  during the Call to Honor Ceremony.

On Saturday, May 6, the Sigma cohort and their families joined Elon Academy staff on campus for the annual Orientation Day, where they learned more about Elon Academy’s comprehensive approach to college planning and support while in college. They participated in a “Call to Honor” ceremony, heard from older scholars, began building relationships with each other and learned more about what to expect when they return in June for the Elon Academy Summer Program, a three-week residential experience on Elon’s campus.

For the Sigma class, this summer will be the first of three consecutive summers where scholars will live on Elon’s campus for three weeks. Throughout the summer, scholars take an academic course with an Elon professor, engage in activities ranging from tennis to poetry to acting, and get a glimpse of life on a college campus.

Sigma scholars engaged in “icebreakers” on the LaRose/Mooney lawn.

Scholars also take a “college planning” class with a member of Elon Academy’s staff where they begin expanding their knowledge on different types of colleges and finding the right college “fit.” This class continues throughout the academic year when scholars come to campus one Saturday a month. As family involvement in the college process is crucial, families join their scholars on campus quarterly to engage with experts about a range of topics, including financing college, mental health support for their students and preparing for the transition to college.

Lexie Bennett, newly accepted Sigma scholar, and her mother, Amber

The Elon Academy, part of Elon’s Center for Access and Success, is a nonprofit organization supported by generous donors. Since its inception in 2007, the Elon Academy has been highly successful in supporting underrepresented students on their journey to college. To date, 100% of scholars who complete the “College Access” phase (high school phase) of the program have been accepted to college. Staff continue to provide support as scholars matriculate to college, ensuring they thrive and ultimately graduate with their bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, nearly a quarter of Elon Academy college graduates go on to receive a master’s degree or higher.

The Sigma cohort included these Alamance County students:

  • Yolviz Alberto, Hugh M. Cummings High School
  • Abigail Albright, Walter M. Williams High School
  • Yaziel Aleman, Walter M. Williams High School
  • Christian Ayala, Alamance Burlington Early College
  • Malachi Barrett, Graham High School
  • Alexis Bennett, River Mill Academy
  • Jaime Carranza-Navarrete, Graham High School
  • Josue Castaneda, Clover Garden
  • Kayleigh Coleman, Southern Alamance High School
  • Stephanie Cortez Marure, Graham High School
  • Willow Doss, Western Alamance High School
  • Nancy Espinoza-Benavides, Graham High School
  • Vania Garcia, Alamance Burlington Early College
  • Naje Gray, Walter M. Williams High School
  • Melani Hernandez Labias, Graham High School
  • Shaina Holloway, River Mill Academy
  • Nathalia Leyte, Hugh M. Cummings High School
  • Andrew Lopez Gonzalez, Graham High School
  • Lawrence Matkins, Walter M. Williams High School
  • Shawn Means, Alamance Burlington Early College
  • Logan Mercier, Hugh M. Cummings High School
  • Ariel Murray, Southern Alamance High School
  • Tremari Norman, Walter M. Williams High School
  • Kennet Pineda Gonzalez, Alamance Burlington Early College
  • Jayden Reichert, Eastern Alamance High School
  • Dayssi Reyes Reyes, Graham High School
  • Rihanna Yates, Graham High School