Future Childcare Professional to Graduate as Co-Valedictorian

by ChaNaè Bradley

Posted on May 09, 2024

On Saturday, May 11, Elisha Cloy will graduate from Fort Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in infant and child development.

 The Dallas, Georgia, native earned the honor of valedictorian for the graduating Class of 2024.

 Cloy decided to attend FVSU for the unique experience.

 “I wanted to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) because I value the rich cultural heritage, the strong sense of community and the supportive environment for academic and personal growth they offer,” she said.

 Additionally, Cloy said she believes in the importance of celebrating and preserving the legacy of African American education and achievement.

 The 22-year-old selected family and consumer sciences because she wants to help the youth.

 “I am passionate about understanding the intricacies of early childhood development, including its cognitive, emotional and social aspects. I want to make a positive impact on children’s lives and help them reach their full potential during their formative years.”

On a scale of 1-10, the Paulding County native gives her FVSU experience an 8. “My coursework was challenging yet informative, but I also worked towards creating my legacy on campus. I joined many campaign weeks, homecomings and spring fling committees. Of course, there were rough patches where I wanted to quit or I was frustrated, but my support system on campus, family and friends kept me going,” she said.

While excelling in the classroom, Cloy was not a hermit on the middle Georgia campus. She joined the National Council of Negro Women, Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Club, and was initiated into the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Incorporated. She held several offices in the organizations and is presently the secretary of the FACS Club and president of the FVSU AKA chapter.

 “I gained new friendships and sisterhood that I will cherish forever. Joining organizations and clubs brought me outside of my shell. I have grown since freshman year in my willingness to participate, communicate and lead others.”

 Finishing at the top of her class is an honor the soon to be alumna does not take lightly.

 “Graduating as the valedictorian of the Class of 2024 evokes a range of emotions for me. When I was told, I instantly started crying because only I knew about the years of hard work, late nights studying, and sacrifices made to achieve academic excellence. I’m so proud of myself that I kept going and didn’t quit though there were times I wanted to," Cloy said.

 She said that after Face Timing her parents (Catina and Eric Cloy Sr.) and informing them of the good news, it was a shocking surprise, but aligned with their expectations.

 “Growing up, I was pushed to excel academically. They knew I was capable of something like this, so the dream is now a reality.”

Furthermore, Cloy said college students face a host of academic, emotional, financial and physical challenges and that graduating is no easy task. She is proud to endure the process with her classmates. “This is a major accomplishment that I will never forget.”

 To prepare for her professional career, Cloy participated in two internships. “I interned at Impression Pediatric Therapy in Camp Springs, Maryland, under the supervision of Mrs. Tamisha Grant. There, I observed and helped carry out sessions with speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists,” she said.

 The north Georgia native also interned at FVSU’s Child Development Center under Dr. Francine Hollis.

 “My responsibilities included attending to the hygiene needs of infants and toddlers and assisting the lead teacher in any classroom duties. I also planned age-appropriate activities and engaged with the children daily.”  

 With her degree in hand, Cloy wants to positively impact the lives of children and families. “I aspire to contribute to the field of early childhood education and development by promoting healthy growth, fostering nurturing environments and advocating for the well-being of children.”

 Fort Valley State’s newest graduate also seeks to empower parents, caregivers and educators with the tools needed to effectively develop children physically, socially and emotionally.

 Cloy’s academic journey will not end on May 11. She will take prerequisite classes to apply to graduate schools to earn her master's degree in speech and language pathology.

 “Ultimately, I want to ensure that every child that I have the opportunity to help will thrive and reach their full potential.”

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