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My name is Eric Elia. I am a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago, having graduated from Loyola Academy High School in May 2015. Although I only attended East Lake Academy for one year (eighth grade), my experience in so short a time had a profound effect on me, fostering not only my growth academically, but also my growth overall. The staff and students alike created a communal atmosphere unlike any other, one which encouraged and supported me to challenge myself.
I had an interest in art from a young age; a calling I pursued more vigorously during my enrollment at East Lake. When the opportunity arose to create a mural for our class’ graduation gift to the school, I had the privilege of co-painting the East Lake emblem with the encouragement and help of my peers and teachers. The experience was a memorable one, a challenge which I am grateful to have accepted.
My interest in art continued into high school, and with each new drawing undertaken I developed a greater passion for art. In high school, art gave me motivation and a sense of community among fellow artists. The words of support from friends and family furthered my enthusiasm and consistently pushed me to accept greater challenges.
I am currently taking a drawing course at DePaul University, and continue to pursue art outside of the classroom as well. Most recently, I undertook the painting of a new backdrop for East Lake’s Christmas pageant. The painting is acrylic done on two 9’ by 12’ canvases. Having seldom painted, (I focused on graphite drawings throughout high school), the process was quite daunting, but ultimately became an opportunity for growth. Ironically, I am still learning from East Lake after all these years, and am now painting a great deal in my spare time!
Art has always been there for me, a satisfying hobby that I could always turn to. Moreover, it is through others that it gives me meaning. Though East Lake is certainly a school of academic excellence, it is the immense and supportive community of students, alumni, and staff that sets it apart as a truly special place. The encouragement and confidence given to me opened countless doors in my life, gifts which are invaluable. I am blessed to have attended such a school, and grateful for the sense of community it gave me.