Elijah Kelsey was the first in his family to go to college.
The Give Something Back scholarship he received made it possible for the Atlantic City teen to attend Rowan College at Gloucester County.
Now, he’s an advertisement for others to do the same.
His picture is featured in advertisements for the program, in which he will begin his second year Sept. 4.
“It was Awesome,” Terri Forrest said of seeing her son’s smiling face on the ad. “I told Elijah that this is only the beginning of better things to come. All these accolades and fanfare are good but they really don’t mean anything unless you complete your task. There’s no time to be sidetracked or sidelined by anything. Your education is the key to freedom and success.”
He has lots of support along the way, including his father, Robert Kelsey, along with one of his mentors, Darrell Edmonds and his Friday is Tie Day program in the city.
“We encourage teens in any school to start wearing ties to school on Friday,” Edmonds explains on the organization’s website. “For one day a week, they will make a deliberate effort to not only dress like gentlemen but to also act like gentlemen.”
Edmonds proudly posted the advertisement that is at the Cumberland County Mall on the group’s Facebook page.
“Looking good in this ad even without the tie,” he joked of Kelsey’s attire.
Kelsey isn’t just attending college, he’s thriving, Edmonds said.
“I’m very proud of him,” says his mom. “It’s clear that he wants this too. I’m definitely a proud mom.”