Class of 2011: Lely grad a role model and first in family to attend college

Eliana Albert, Lely High School 2011 graduate of distinction

Photo by Provided

Eliana Albert, Lely High School 2011 graduate of distinction

Lely High School graduation is at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3, at Alico Arena on the FGCU campus.

— Eliana Albert didn’t hesitate when asked where she got her drive and determination to excel.

“My mom,” said the Lely High School 2011 graduate of distinction. “She always said there’s a better life, so be the best that I can be. She wants me to be a role model for my brothers.”

Clearly, Eliana’s mother, Elaine Albert, was a tiger mother before the term became popular. The single mother works as a registered nurse’s aide while raising a family that recently grew to five children.

Speaking only limited English, she communicated with a reporter through her daughter, who translated into Elaine Albert’s native Creole.

Asked “is Eliana a good girl?” to allow her to praise her daughter, she replied through Eliana.

“Yes, when I choose to listen to her,” Eliana dutifully relayed.

Eliana has come a long way. Born in Haiti, Eliana came to this country at age 2 and said “I wouldn’t know my father if he came up to me.” This fall, she will be the first in her family to attend college.

While her mother is restrained in her praise, others are more effusive.

“Eliana Albert is a great role model both in and out of the classroom,” said Nick Young, a Lely High coach. “What comes to my mind is leadership, responsibility, and integrity. She was captain of all three of her athletic teams her senior year, and led them through her actions more than her words, although her positive words of encouragement really helped the younger athletes.”

Captain of the basketball and volleyball teams, Eliana also was co-captain of the track team. That’s where an incident occurred that really demonstrated Eliana’s integrity, Young said.

“She found out that one of our track relay girls had gotten into trouble on the Friday before the state championships on Saturday, and the discipline office was going to delay punishment until Monday,” he said.

Eliana had to make a grown-up decision.

“The girl got in a fight at lunch. I looked at Adrienne, my co-captain; she looked at me,” she remembered. “We both said ‘we love her, but that is not who we are.’ Without her, we ran the fourth fastest in school history, but we didn’t win. We would have been faster with her.”

Young backed up the judgment of his co-captains.

This is one of a series of reports on some of the Graduates of Distinction in the Class of ‘11 at area high schools. The series continues daily through the end of the school year.

Eliana Albert, Lely High School 2011 graduate of distinction

Photo by Provided

Eliana Albert, Lely High School 2011 graduate of distinction

“We all believe the lesson learned totally outweighs any accomplishment obtained by competing at the state meet,” he said. “Eliana has always stood for doing the right thing, from the classroom, where getting a B was not a good thing, to the athletic field, where giving anything less than 100 percent was not acceptable.”

Lely High School Principal Ken Fairbanks echoed the coach’s comments.

“You will not find a more friendly, caring and dedicated young woman,” he said. “She transcends all of what Lely High is all about. People gravitated to her due to her smile, personality and willingness to accept each of us for our differences.”

Eliana’s accomplishments earned her a shot at college scholarships, which are essential for her to fulfill her (and her mother’s) dream of higher education.

“I have a couple of options,” she said. “I’m talking to Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and Warner U.,” also in Georgia. “I’m just waiting on the coaches.” Eliana wants to major in psychology.

Eliana, whose family attends St. Peter the Apostle Catholic church, participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and is a lieutenant colonel in the JROTC at Lely. She worked part-time to help out in her junior year, but said, “my mom didn’t approve. We’ve struggled a little bit, but she said I’m a student first.”

Eliana’s favorite subject is math, she said, “because it comes easy,” and she loves to write.

“I enjoy school, and playing sports, so it’s not like I’m not having fun,” she said of her busy schedule. When she does have down time, she likes to go to the movies, and hang with her best friend Adrienne, “just like a normal teenager.” Eliana also devotes time to helping her brothers, ages 13, 11, and 7, with their homework. She maintained a gpa of 3.5 to 3.75 this year.

“Eliana is just a wonderful girl,” said Fairbanks, who presented her with the Principal’s Award at the school’s awards night. “She’s a friend to everyone – doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, short, tall, fat or skinny. She has that outstanding personality that draws people to her. She’s like a magnet.”

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 2

u2cane writes:

Great story. Congratulations Eliana!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Elian,

It only proves that if you have the personal desire to do well, the family to support you, and a school that cares for its students, you have the best going for you. You and your family should be very proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations!

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