EVERY GREAT JOURNEY BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP

APEX Academy helps young men be better students, better athletes, and better people.

APEX Academy teaches student-athletes, who come from under-resourced communities, how to leverage the characteristics acquired from the great game of football and apply them to their lives beyond the gridiron. By engaging, educating, and empowering young men through our mentorship program, academic prep, personal development workshops, and football development we hope to propel student-athletes into college, purposeful careers beyond college, and ultimately position them to become productive members of society.

Our founders, Kaleb Thornhill (Former Division I student-athlete & current NFL Front Office Executive) and Travis Key (Former NFL player/Division I student-athlete & current Packaging Engineer at Kellogg Co.), rose above their under-resourced backgrounds to experience great success ON and OFF the field. Travis and Kaleb’s success is highly attributed to influential mentors throughout their life and they are on a mission to serve others to ensure individuals can find success in their future endeavors as well. 

 

What APEX Offers

ELEVATE MINI-CAMPS

Our Elevate Mini-Camps are a blend of personal development & football skills for participants looking to elevate their game both ON and OFF the field.

SUMMIT WORKSHOPS

Our Summit Workshops are custom-designed programs or classes meant to teach various life skills, college prep, and career guidance

APEX ACADEMY

The APEX Academy program is a three-year program designed to help our student-athletes succeed academically and professionally.

Our Mission

Our mission at APEX Academy is to teach under-resourced student-athletes how to leverage the characteristics acquired from the great game of football and apply them to their lives beyond the gridiron. By engaging, educating, and empowering young men through ACT prep, personal development workshops, and football development, we hope to propel them into college, purposeful careers beyond college, and ultimately position them to become productive members of society. 

Our Vision

APEX Academy will provide under-resourced student-athletes with access to education, mentorship, and leadership development empowering them to reach their full potential in life.  We were founded to guarantee that an individual’s current circumstances DO NOT indicate their future circumstances.  APEX Academy will enforce a culture that continues to challenge the status quo by ensuring student-athletes have the opportunity to see the full scope of their personal and professional potential.  We will partner with the student-athlete to help them understand the implications of the choices they make and the far-reaching consequences of playing and living “all out” and settling for less than their calling. 

Our Purpose

Engage, Educate, & Empower each individual we encounter to ensure they reach their full potential both ON and OFF the football field.

APEX Academy Leadership

Kaleb Thornhill
Co-Founder, Executive Director of Operations

 
 
 

Former Division I student-athlete &
current NFL Front Office Executive

 

Travis Key
Co-Founder, Executive Director of Development

 
 
 

Former NFL player/Division I student-athlete & current Packaging Engineer at Kellogg Co.

 

Jennifer Creamer
Director of Academic Services

 

Jessica Rauch
Director of Operations

 

THE APEX TEAM

Amanda Rapelje
Social Media Engagement & Community Outreach Coordinator

Kirk Nakama
Director of Athletics

Corey Smith
Assistant Director of Operations

Beth Blumline
Data Analyst & Academic Instructor

David Rapelje
Assistant Director of Operations

Brandon Walker
Assistant Director of Student Engagement & College Visits

Dana Page
Volunteer

Erin Giannotta
Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator

Jack Vogel
Academic Instructor & Co-Founder of Increasing Achievement

Kurt Richardson
Assistant Director of Life Skills & Human Capital Development

Matt Oppenheim
Academic Instructor & Co-Founder of Increasing Achievement

Nicole Carroll
Director of Student Engagement & College Visits

Samantha Lurie
Director of Life Skills & Human Capital Development 

Dana Shilling
Assistant Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator

 
 

The Story of Our Co-Founders

We believe that our greatest challenges are also our most astounding opportunities. In life, we all encounter adversity, labels, and obstacles to overcome – and APEX Academy is designed to help us all overcome the obstacles that we encountered along our respective journeys.

We grew up in school systems that were deemed economically disadvantaged & at- risk. Going to college immediately after high-school was not a topic of conversation with our peers. The lack of access in understanding the college admissions process, financial aid education, and resources to navigate college preparation were unavailable to us. Although the odds were stacked against us, we sought out authentic mentors that supported our efforts to attend college. Without these mentors, we would not have attended and completed college nor found meaningful careers.

Determined to go to college we worked hard in high school to overcome the odds and both were accepted to Michigan State University. One taking the path of accepting a football scholarship (Kaleb) and the other walking onto the football team (Travis); we established a strong rapport as leaders on the team. We not only exceeded expectations on the football field, but more importantly, we excelled in the classroom and made the Dean’s list.

In 2007, our senior year, we were named co-captains by our teammates. Our work ethic, ability to influence others, and selfless approach on life allowed us both to be tremendous leaders on and off the field. The game of football has taught us the valuable life principals we live by today. We have found purpose in positively impacting the lives of other through our leadership and service.