Friday, May 25, 2012

Front and Centre

"How to rule the world" -- our chaperone Igor Litvin used this phrase to emphatically set in stone exactly what we were to be doing this summer. Meanwhile, we carried the Yale Blue banner, a perfect symbol to hold while standing in the presence of the school board.

This year, the school board meeting was bordered by both prompt concern and good feelings. At the very start of the meeting, we sat and listened in as adult education students and teachers advanced to the podium urging the district not to cut funding to the program. It was, in truth, an stark contrast between the celebration of the Ivy League Connection.

The four Yalies pose for a snapshot from my mom.
But as the night progressed, jovial moods set in. Each cohort approached the podium in alphabetical order, with each chaperone giving a short speech to describe their program and what it entailed. The moment the Cornell group approached the stand, I received a sharp twinge of nostalgia. It felt incredibly weird seeing that cohort holding their banner in front of the board, with the knowledge that I stood exactly where they did just one year ago.

Once we stood in front of the board, I knew for certain that this was to be the moment that solidified our identity as the Yale cohort. We stood humble in front of the board, but as Mr. Litvin continued to speak, it became apparent what exactly we were heading for. I began to feel proud of that we had been chosen -- and I could tell that my fellow cohort did as well.

Austin Long ('15) and I met each other last week at the Yale dinner.
He extended the offer that if we ever needed anything, let him know.
After each of the cohorts were presented, Austin Long (Yale '15) who spoke last year approached the stand to speak again. His words of encouragement were great, and after having gotten to know him a little at the Yale dinner, I could see further the passion he had for his school. Next, my old friend Terilyn Chen (Harvard '16) spoke to the board. She spoke of interviews, Spongebob Squarepants, and affirmed that this program worked.  I think each of us knew that was true but did not really affirm it as well. I have a good feeling we will when we move on too.

I must thank all the donors, the school board, and all the parents who came to the meeting. Without any of their support, we would not be here, right now, awaiting something grand. We cannot let them down this summer. We will not.

My District + Education = WCCUSD School Board

It was a fine and lovely day on May 23, 2012. It was my first time attending a school board meeting. Much like all of the other events of the ILC, I was unsure of what to expect. As I walked through the door, I was surprised to find that there were many other people aside from the members of the ILC.  I entered exactly at 6:15 so in a sense, I was late. Luckily, I was able to receive information about what was to happen that night. In terms of the ILC, the chaperones were to provide a brief summary on the program and it's itinerary. Brown was the first of the programs to be introduced where as Yale was the last. Did they save the best for the last? While I want to say I'm in the best program, I don't believe that is true. Every program of the ILC is just as great as one another and I'm honored to have an opportunity such as this. Well enough with the digression.

There were about 14-15 members seated on the stage, inlcuding a De Anza High representative, Amanda Calvo. The live broadcasting and seating arrangements of the school board administrators left an impression that reminded me of Congress. Before the ILC was presented, several people spoke on behalf of adult education. They thanked the school board for continuing adult ed and talked about it's beneficial impacts. When the ILC was called upon, I couldn't help but to feel honored and privileged. It was a great feeling to have the ILC students recgonized as the top students of the district. Afterwards, two former ILC members Terilyn Chen and Austin Long gave speeches about the positive influences the ILC had on their lives. Not to mention, the sponsors of the ILC were introduced. The meeting was ended with the group shot of 2012's ILC.

That day, I learned something important. I learned that this community, despite the shortage of funds, actually tries it's best to reach out to the people and students. The ILC is becoming a signature program of the WCCUSD. I am glad to be a part of something so life changing and impacting. This year's batch of students are outstanding and like Mr Litvin said, "these students will take over the world." Whatever the future holds, I will not forget what my district has done for me. I thank the administrators of the WCCUSD school board of education and ILC. This summer will be unforgettable.

Standing Before the School Board

The sun was shining and a soft breeze blew through the parking lot of Lavonya Dejean Middle School in Richmond, CA, as my mother and I made our way into the school’s auditorium.

It was the evening of the WCCUSD School Board meeting at which the Ivy League Connection would be presented. Unlike the City Council meetings, where ILC students from each school stood before their respective city’s board, the entire entity of the program – students, parents, sponsors, and the administration – was to be recognized as a whole.

Each cohort was introduced and called up, one by one. I watched from my seat in the audience as the proud chaperons took the stand to acknowledge the students they would be spending a portion of their summer with. It was such a moment, beholding the bright, young faces that were beaming with excitement for the program.

Additionally, two former participants of the ILC were present at the meeting – Terilyn Chen (Harvard c/o ‘16) and Austin Long (Yale c/o ’15). Both delivered excellent speeches describing the fruit that this program bore for them. It is always so inspiring listening to alumni such as these – they never fail to emphasize the potential that students in our district have, despite socioeconomic factors that may deter them from success.

This year, we have a fine group of students – the cream of the crop – from the WCCUSD that will be partaking in summer enrichment courses at top-tier universities. These are ambitious students who continue to pour their efforts into education, who want to create a positive impact in the communities around them, and who strive for excellence.

I look forward to what this summer – and the rest of the future, for that matter – holds for each of us.