Raised in Watauga County, Toni Cook, Class of 2001, began working at Elk River Club shortly after graduating from Watauga High, but knew she wanted to continue her education after high school.
So, she began taking classes at local community colleges and attended Appalachian State University, but Toni found it difficult to continue her education since she was working full-time at Elk River.
After reviewing the curriculum at Lees-McRae, Toni decided to explore the opportunity to earn a degree closer to home and work that would help her advance in her career at Elk River Club.
"The instructors and administrative staff were so helpful with their guidance and advice. They made it much easier to decide on a definite course of action and to stick to it to finish my education," said Toni.
"I have been so fortunate in my career to have the opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, due in part to the education I received at LMC," Toni said. Her Lees-McRae education gave her the foundation to excel to her current position of General Manger at Elk River Club.
"LMC is not only important to me as an alumna, but also as a member of the community," said Toni. "I value the culture it brings to our area. It is a wonderful college that is filled with tremendous talent, both in the student body and the faculty and staff. It is a great asset to Banner Elk and Avery County."
When asked about the advice she would share with current Lees-McRae students, Toni said, "The work ethic you establish in your academic career will set the tone for your professional life. I encourage students to be dedicated to their education and not to undervalue the effect a great education will have on your future."
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