The calendar may not say it’s fall but there are signs of it everywhere. For starters, we welcomed our class of 1417 first year and 83 transfer students to campus a couple of weeks ago. It was another great move-in experience thanks to the New Student Orientation program now in the capable hands of Elon alumna, Katie Hight. We even managed to dodge Irene, though sadly a lot of people up and down the eastern seaboard were not as fortunate.
Almost immediately following August 26th – and in some cases before – our staff hit the road to find next year’s class. I spent last week in my second home of St. Louis visiting 14 high schools and of course, taking in a Cardinals game. As MLB looks to the post season, the weather has finally cooled and today’s high of 70 degrees was a reminder that later this week, fall will officially be here. That means Phoenix football games in Rhodes Stadium, a couple birthdays in my house and the growing intensity of our Records staff uploading and scanning applications for the admissions committee to read when we are all back in the office in early November.
This was my eighth year visiting STL high schools. By now I no longer need a map (although I am reminded that you can’t turn left onto Lindbergh off Conway between 7 – 9 a.m.). The genuine highlight of the trip is meeting and talking with students who visited campus over the summer and seeing my college/guidance counselor friends and colleagues. It’s all very rewarding.
As I visited many of the same schools I do annually, it was quite evident that the performing arts are alive in well in the Mid west. At SLUH I met students who worked at the MUNY with Elon acting and music theatre majors this summer. At Ladue Horton Watkins, I entered the building closest to the new theater the school added a couple of years ago. At Nerinx, Clayton and Crossroads I met aspiring actors interested in Elon’s nationally recognized BFA programs. I visited Whitfield where one of their 2011 graduates sang and danced her way to a coveted seat in this year’s first year music theatre class. And last but certainly not least, Chaminade’s new performing arts building blew me away.
Chaminade is an all boys school. We’ve been fortunate to enroll many of their graduates at Elon over the years and I hope that will continue next year. I know that many of the STL area schools are known for academic rigor and thriving sports programs. It’s clear to me that many, many students are also incredibly talented in the arts as well. We live in an age when many things are being cut from school budgets at both public and private schools. It’s exciting to see a place building facilities to meet the demands of students and needs of an outstanding cultural arts community.
As if I needed another reason to love St. Louis….