The Emily K Center’s Mother’s Day Ball was a gathering few in attendance will soon forget. There was terrific food, dancing to a DJ, and an after-hours piano bar; but a moving speech by one of the senior Scholars who has benefited from the Center’s educational program was the topper of the night.
“I always knew that I wanted to be somebody in this world, someone who wants to do good things, but I had no idea how to get there, “said Gerardo Cruz-Garza, “The Emily K Center has guided me on my path toward success. Without them I could never have accomplished everything that I have and everything that I hope to in the future,” added Cruz-Garza, who will leave for college this fall having earned a full scholarship.
Four seniors in the Scholars to College program, with 23 college acceptances between them, mingled with guests at the Center’s annual fundraiser and then thanked the supporters for their contribution to the cause.
Coach Krzyzewski, the Center’s board chair, announced to the crowd of almost 400 that the high school program would be doubling in size, news that brought the guests to their feet.
“2012 was just an outstanding year for us at the Emily K Center. We had our first class of seniors graduate and go off to college. We could tell that we were experiencing one of those times when you just know things are going right and it’s time to act. We made the decision to take advantage of that special ‘moment’ by doubling the number of kids in the program. More great kids will now be able to go to college,” said Coach K.
The Ball raised more than $200,000, a record amount for the Center.
WRAL also covered the event for the evening news and Coach K and the Scholars shared the spotlight. Check it out here.
May 8, 2013 at 9:12 am | Our Organization | No comment
If the number of students and their families attending the information session for our high school program is an indication of how eager Durham students are to go the extra mile in their quest toward college, then our community has great things in store!
More than 100 families attended our Scholars to College open house at the prospect of joining the Emily K classes of 2016 and 2017. Students in attendance had been nominated for consideration by a Durham educator who considered them a good candidate for the four year program. The information session was the first step in a process that includes a written application and an interview.
Families began arriving more than an hour before the scheduled session to learn about what the program has to offer. Executive Director, Adam Eigenrauch, and program coordinator, Ashlea Hitchock, encouraged students and families to consider what the opportunity and commitment would entail. Over the course of the four year period students receive valuable support including time management instruction, leadership training, targeted extra-curricular planning, career exploration, financial literacy, SAT preparation, resume writing, college application support and financial aid guidance.
Current seniors answered questions from students and their parents regarding the program. Responding to one question from a mother about how to best support her student, program senior Gerardo, shared his perspective.
“My parents didn’t go to college and they don’t know anything about the complicated college process. But they love me and want the best for me, so my dad, he can’t do as much as he would like, but he figures his contribution is to get me to the Emily K Center every week, month after month, year after year. When I graduate from college and am successful then I’ll be in a position to help my family.”
Gerardo and the current graduating class of seniors, along with more than 100 other Emily K students in grades 1-11 will take the stage on May 23 for the Center’s end-of-year celebration, the May March, where Emily K’s board chairman, Mike Krzyzewski will give the keynote address.
Three years ago the Emily K Center launched its first public fundraising event, the Mother’s Day Ball. The Ball was designed as an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing and as a celebration of the role of mothers in the lives of their children, exemplified by Emily Krzyzewski, the Center’s namesake and the mother of EKC board chair and founder, Mike Krzyzewski. Three years have flown by and we reflect on the success of the first two Mother’s Day Balls, where the event grew from 200 to 400 guests, with a doubling of funds raised to support the educational programming of the students at the Center. This year’s Ball, which again will be held at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, will take place on Saturday evening, May 4. We will share food, music from a great DJ, enjoy a late night piano bar and reminisce about the terrific year our students have had on their journey toward college. Whether the students are in the 1st through 8th grade Pioneer Scholars program and are sharpening skills to be ready to tackle rigorous college prep work once they reach high school, or they’re in the Scholars to College high school program and are on the path toward those coveted college acceptances, we acknowledge their incredible, hard work. We gather as a community to ensure that the economic resources are available for these programs that will enable more and more Durham students to become part of the programs as the Emily K Center Builds Scholars and Changes Lives.
For more information on the Mother’s Day Ball and to purchase tickets to join Mike and Mickie Krzyzewwski, members of our board, and several of our star seniors for a night to remember go here.
April 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Our Organization | No comment
Among a snacking group of Emily K Center’s Pioneer Scholars, one little voice rises above the crowd, “I am always so excited to come to Emily K because it’s fun!” That excited voice is Shirley, a first grader with big plans for the skills she learns each day at Emily K.
Shirley says she likes coming to the Emily K Center because of the work she does with her Lead Tutor, Ms. Judy. “She [Ms. Judy] gives us works so we can get smarter,” Shirley says, and it is definitely working in the case of this precocious 6-year-old. Shirley readily admits she is a much better learner after coming to Emily K. Her favorite subject is math, “Because you can add and it’s easy to do and it’s fun,” she says, adding, “I didn’t know 20+20 or 40+40 before, and now I do!”
When she grows up, Shirley hopes to become a teacher just like Ms. Judy. “Shirley is a great helper to her fellow students,” says volunteer Rachel Johnson, “She loves helping her group with math problems, or sounding out difficult words.” Working with Ms. Judy at Emily K is not just helping Shirley with her schoolwork, but also giving her a role model for when she becomes a teacher someday. “My teacher and Emily K show me how to be a good teacher,” Shirley says.
February 26, 2013 at 10:33 am | Our Students | No comment
Duke fans and friends of the Emily K Center came out despite the drizzly weather to enjoy a BBQ lunch before the much-anticipated Duke vs. UNC basketball showdown. The festive atmosphere was a sign of good things to come, as Duke celebrated later in the night a 73-68 win.
Guests were in high spirits as they watched past Duke victories, tested their knowledge with a Duke basketball quiz, and crossed their fingers that they would be named winners in the raffle.
Those attendees who were lucky enough to hear their names called in the raffle went home happy with either a signed basketball, T-shirt, Duke tie, Emily K Center tote bag, Coach K’s signed autobiography, or, the grand prize, a Duke themed painting..
Even those who didn’t win were happy just enjoying bar-b-que, generously donated by Durham’s own Hog Heaven BBQ, and a cake in honor of Coach K’s birthday.
Among those who attended were Duke alumni from as far away as Taiwan in town for the game, Duke University employees on a quick lunch break, and a number of Durham community members, including representatives from the Durham County Sheriff’s Department. One of the more than 125 guests was a former Durham resident who retained his Duke basketball season tickets after moving to South Carolina over a decade ago, and came to the Emily K Center for the first time Wednesday as part of his game day revelry. Emily K board members Rick Brown and Donald Barringer and committee members Byron Hargett, Toby Matthews, Bryson Aldridge, Hank Hankla, and Kirk Wagenseller helped the staff welcome the many guests as well.
One special guest in attendance was K to College program graduate Shelly Wise, who took a break between college classes to come back for the event. Currently Shelly is completing her pre-requisite classes in order to pursue an education in nursing. When asked how Emily K has helped her prepare for college Shelly offered just one of the many lessons, “Learning how to keep in contact and communicate with my teachers has been really important.”
The day was a great success for both Duke Basketball and the Emily K Center alike.
February 15, 2013 at 10:38 am | Our Organization | No comment
Looking forward to the end of the week is nothing new for students, but at Emily K the scholars now have multiple reasons to say, “TGIF!” This semester all of the upper grades are taking part in some of the coolest seven week long mini courses we’ve offered yet.
First up in rotation is Youth Digital Studios, which provides instruction in 3D game design. This summer the organization generously donated scholarships for a number of the Emily K students and now they have taken it one step further and are on campus delivering programming to even more students. A few of the more-than-willing participants are finding that they have an interest and talent in an area they never knew existed.
Students participating in a second block, Odyssey of the Mind, are practicing creative problem-solving, where team members work together to solve a predefined problem. They also present their solutions, which gives our scholars practice of their presentation skills as well. Many high schools in the area have Odyssey of the Mind teams, so hopefully, some students’ interest might be sparked to continue the activity and become a real asset to their high school in competitions.
Duke Red Cross for Kids is a third block that provides a forum for the upper grade students to discuss healthy living. They also tackle a wide range of safety-related topics including first aid. It’s essential information, but can be pretty dry unless it’s presented in a fun and interactive way – the goal of the Duke students who present the program.
Last, but certainly not least, is Postcards for Progress. A student group with a passion for both the arts and international communications from UNC, is linking our students with their peers abroad. Personal interaction with middle schoolers around the globe gives our Emily K scholars a chance to express themselves artistically while learning about other cultures.
All in all Fridays here are turning out to be really great days – and not just because the next day is Saturday!
February 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Our Students | No comment
It goes without saying that without our army of volunteers at the Emily K Center, the terrific plans and strategies that our teacher/tutors create for each student could never be put into action. It’s our amazing volunteers, the students from Duke, North Carolina Central, UNC, School of Science and Math and a good number of community members, who work with students to make the magic happen. What’s more, the unwavering support of the students’ families, to get them here EVERY day of the school year, meet with us, stay on top of their children’s progress, lets the kids know that what they do here at EKC is important. So Friday was a notable time when we celebrated our volunteers with an Appreciation Event and held it on a Family Night here at EKC, when students and their families enjoy the gym and activities and join us for a light dinner. The gym was full of EKC students and siblings playing basketball and soccer, with parents and volunteers joining in the fun. Volunteer tutors, Tyler Lacy and Preston Cotnoir, enjoyed meeting the parents of some of the students they work with regularly. And most importantly…all of the cake was eaten, a sure sign that a good time was had by all!
December 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Our Team | No comment
Last week the first winner of the Emily K Healthy Habit Award of the 2012-2013 calendar year was named. The winners are supposed to be a surprise, but it was no surprise to anyone that Kayla Bason was named the first recipient!
Kayla is such a standout. She is a fantastic role model for all the K to College students, showing consideration and compassion to her peers. Kayla is exceptionally friendly and according to Miss Heather, comes in every day with a smile on her face. But Kayla does not get A’s only in attitude. She is a spot on student, receiving straight A’s at Maureen Joy Charter School, including in her Algebra 1 class that she takes as a seventh grader!
The Emily K team is proud to have Kayla receive the super-sized basket of fruits and vegetables for she and her family and to represent the exceptional nature of Emily K Scholars!
November 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Our Students | No comment
How often do young people get asked by adults what they want to be when they grow up? Seems like a safe question, but it would be more than fair for the answer often to be, “How the heck do I know, I don’t know what my options are!”
And that answer would be entirely reasonable. Not only do young people have a limited vision of career choices based on their age and narrow experiences, but the arena of jobs to fill is changing all the time. A generation ago there were few gamers, bloggers or app developers.
So last week the entire Scholars to College student population at Emily K learned about some of the options out there during Career Exploration Night. Thanks to local professionals and friends of Emily K, tables filled the gym and spilled out into the hallways with adults sharing the specifics about their work world. Along with attorneys, teachers, psychologists and detectives, there were social entrepreneurs, global brand managers, and process development engineers.
And no questions were off the table. If you eavesdropped you were just as likely to hear discussions about whether the adults liked their jobs or if they made enough money to take care of their families as you were to hear about day-to-day details. When the groups were signaled to move on to the next position, adults and students alike were reluctant to advance. “The students learned so much in such a very short amount of time,” said Ashlea Hitchcock, Programming and Partnerships Coordinator. “No doubt they expanded their horizons tonight!”
The adults felt they had a take away too. “I was impressed with their level of motivation and desire not only to further their education but to give back and make a difference in their community,” said Mandy Green, a nurse practitioner in the Duke Hospital system. The Career Exploration Night will be held twice a year with an emphasis on bringing in a large variety of people representing many different fields.
Emily K students and staff would like to thank all of the participants for their generous gift of time and talent including:
|Courtney James||Urban Durham Realty|
|Mark Cagle||Durham Animal Hospital|
|Scott Kelly||Startup High and Duke InCube|
|Benjamin Ingold||Kennon Craver Attorneys at Law|
|Marissa Araujo||Duke University Dept. of Physical Therapy|
|Shannon Taylor & Justin McKay||Fidelity Investments|
|Dee McDougal||Square 1 Bank|
|Alicia Carter||Lab Corp|
|Billy Askey||The Freelon Group|
|Matt King||Burt’s Bees|
|Clarissa Parker||Piedmont Investment Advisors|
|Valerie Hagan||Rho, Inc.|
|Tom Place||Cree, Inc.|
|Rosemary Nye||Durham Academy|
|Dr. Kelly Anthony||Triangle Center for Behavioral Health|
|Vivianne Valdes-Hurtado||Duke University Hospital System|
October 30, 2012 at 10:34 am | Our Team | No comment
Programming is in full swing at the Emily K Center and we’re fortunate to have a great number of talented volunteers working with our Pioneer Scholars students in grades 1-8. A grand total of 83 community members are on board, including 44 undergraduates from Duke, NC Central, and UNC Chapel Hill, a dozen more graduate students from Duke and UNC , and 13 students from the NC School of Science and Math. In addition, we have professionals with experience in fields ranging from law and education to professional horse training. We love having such a variety of positive role models working with our students every week, and they are a huge part of our students’ success! Hear from one of our volunteers, Julie Doran, first hand……..
“I just began working with a group of second graders at the Emily K Center in September, and it has been a wonderful experience for me so far! I am an elementary education major at UNC Chapel Hill, and I heard about the Emily K Center from our program director. I was instantly interested in volunteering because the Center seemed to be a very unique resource, and I was excited to get involved with students at a center that is so incredibly dedicated to their success.
Even on my first day of volunteering, I was already impressed by the dedication of everyone working at Emily K. I worked with two students on a reading comprehension exercise, and they were incredibly enthusiastic about learning. For every question that I asked about the reading, both of their hands shot up in the air to answer. Even if they didn’t quite know the answer, they really wanted to try. They were so eager to learn and to engage in the material, which was very encouraging to see them so excited to learn and participate.
Volunteering at Emily K has already taught me the importance of creating a positive team-oriented environment for student learning. Everybody there is committed to student success; including parents
and family members, staff, volunteers, lead tutors, and especially the students themselves. Everyone is passionate about student learning and growth, which naturally leads the students to be hard working, focused, and motivated. I hope that I will one day be able to create this type of environment in my classroom, where everyone is excited to be involved in the learning process.
I am really looking forward to volunteering for the rest of the year, and I can’t wait to watch all of the students learn and grow at the Emily K Center!”
Thanks, Julie, and we are awfully glad you are here!
October 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Our Team | No comment