A Glimpse Inside Elon Academy in North Carolina

Princess I. King (3rd from the left; pronouns: she/her/hers) and the Elon Academy staff, Assistant Director of College Success, Elon Academy (NC)

Tell us about your program and what you do:   

The Elon Academy is a non-profit college access and success program housed at Elon University. We serve high-performing high school students in Alamance County who would be first in their family to go to college and/or who would experience a financial challenge to pay for college. In my role, I support our high school juniors by instructing their college planning course during our summer and year-round programming. I also lead our college scholar programming by providing ongoing 1:1 support for our college scholars at various universities in and out of North Carolina.

How did the program get started?

The Elon Academy began in 2007 as a growing educational commitment to the Alamance County community by immediate past Elon University President Leo Lambert. With the threat of a local school closing due to underperformance, President Lambert wanted to increase Elon’s educational efforts within the local community. Partnering with Alamance-Burlington School System and building upon several initiatives within the Elon School of Education, the Elon Academy was created. Thanks to several generous donors, the program has persisted almost fifteen years.

What is one thing your program is known for?  

Our summer program is truly the epicenter of what makes our program unique. It is fun, intense, academic, and inspiring. Before COVID-19, scholars had the opportunity to attend a four-week residential program on Elon’s campus where they would participate in academic courses, college planning, and cultural enrichment. Throughout the four weeks, scholars also connect with college scholars, attend college visits, complete service projects, meet with Elon University Faculty and staff, and simply enjoy each other’s company while getting a brief feel of what life on a college campus will be like.

Biggest “win” in your program history? Explain what it was, how it came about, and what it meant to your team.

Our biggest win is being able to report year after year that 100% of our scholars who complete the high school portion of our program are accepted into college.

What are you excited about in the near future for your program?           

We’re excited about celebrating 15 years of service to the students and families of the Alamance County Community, and we look forward to the next 15 years.

How has SACAC played a role in your program and/or team?     

SACAC has been wonderful in providing ongoing support and information to help us serve our scholars and families. We truly enjoyed being able to attend conferences and professional development opportunities. The biggest help has been the fund that has allowed us to attend conferences in the past. We are a non-profit and sometimes sending three staff members to a conference is a challenge for our budget, so we greatly appreciate everything SACAC does to support our work and professional development.

What’s the favorite lunch food of you or your team?     

Pupusas

What’s your favorite quote, and who originally said it? 

“Why not go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is.” -Mark Twain

Tell us an interesting and fun tidbit about your program.            

The highlight of the summer program is the slideshow… Everyone looks forward to it and scholars make sure to submit their photos for the big reveal!

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