Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Better Late Than Never!

This may be as late of a blog as they come, but I can still remember everything from the La Strada meal from a week ago. I feel this deserves an explanation so it is this: I have been trying to find a way to post the many pictures I took. I hope that does the trick, but anyway, back to serious business.

La Strada was a lot of fun. I remember I sat right next to William and my Dad right across from me. We had a great time even before we even began. Then once we began, it just kept getting better and better. Ms. Kronenberg started everything perfectly. I think it was a good idea to get the food first before we began the day's activities, because once they get started, they never end.

Aside from the pastas and chickens, what I loved the most is that we were in the presence of Brown Students, Brown Alumni, and even a Brown Admissions officer. I think Cynthia Fong was terrific. I think it is no surprise that she had been accepted into Brown University. She knew so much and looked like the person that could tackle anything that came her way, and it was very nice of her to post her visit to Brown on this blog.

Following that were many more people. The Brown Freshman advisor was very energetic and made me want to get up and give her a hug. She knew so much and was so energetic. It is impossible to not listen to her and her words made me want to go even further and have a hope to attend this prestigious University. 

Next was the Brown Admission officer. I could not believe she took time out of her busy schedule just to see us. It was a pleasure to know that Officers from Ivy League schools keep track of our district. What I liked most was to see all the passion she has for her job. It is comforting to know that there are people like her that are truly passionate about what they do.

The next group were the student speakers. Lucero Perez and Austin Long were terrific. If I were to make a speech, it would sound just like that. They never said anything that I would disagree with.

There was one person that made that evening even more worth while. Mr. Medrano's closing statement was terrific. He was the perfect closing to a very perfect evening. 

But just like an advertisement, "wait there's more!" The Q and A was very helpful. There were only a handful of questions simply because a lot of them were answered. I liked how open they were and how the people on the panel did not stray away from the answers. Sure it would have been handy to have a Spanish to English translator, but anyone could tell what they were talking about. Then, after Mr. Ramsey's closing, we had the chance to talk to them individually. It was an evening to put in the record books because it had everything one could ask, good fun, good food and good people.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"You Will Soon Cross Desert Sands On Your Way To A Fun Vacation."

On Tuesday, at the City Council Meeting, it was nice to hear the support of the Pinole City Council for Pinole Valley High. I was very proud to represent my school, and to represent the student leaders of tomorrow. It was very encouraging to be there with all of the support of the community and I appreciate the City Council for their efforts to help us. Thank you also to Ms. Kahn and Ms. Kaplan for being there with us.

On Friday at lunch at my school, there was a Multicultural Carnival, and among them there were fortune cookies being sold. Feeling hungry, I gave into temptation and bought one. "You will soon cross desert sands on your way to a fun vacation", said the fortune cookie. Immediately I thought about my upcoming trip to Brown University, and what an auspicious symbol this was. 

Thank you to Mr. Ramsey, Don, and Ms. Kronenberg for making this opportunity to cross desert sands and to reach for higher potential possible.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Closer Look

What I liked the best about Sunday's brunch at La Strada restaurant was that it offered me a closer look at Brown University. By concentrating on the Brown students and on the very important guests, the ILC allowed me to ask more in-depth questions and learn more extensively about Brown. I enjoyed meeting guests which included Admissions Officers Mercedes Domenech and Elizabeth Hart as well as Julianne Sum (Brown alum and parent).

I'm very excited about the mentorship opportunity represented by Ms. Sum. It's too bad that we won't be able to start right away this summer, but I think it's great that it's happening at all.

Coronado Principal Linda Cohen opened my eyes to ways that we as ILC students could give back to our community. I will definitely find a way to connect to the young students in the district schools on my return from our summer trip.

Thank you everybody for taking the time to organize and attend this event which inspired and educated me so much. The speakers' words will continue to echo in my mind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Board Meeting/Le Strada/Exploring College Options

The Board meeting was a whole new experience in itself. We were looked at by our community as the young scholars that we are and were recognized for getting into such rigorous programs. I was amazed by my fellow members' speeches -- they not only represented their feelings about the program, but also my own.

The meeting with the Brown Admissions Officers was really cool, too. I got a chance to really get to talk one on one with an actual admissions officer from Brown. The brunch made me want to go to Brown this summer even more and really get to be a Brown student.

The Exploring College Options was a great presentation of the schools and I was really interested in Duke and Penn. I was able to ask a few questions and get a better insight into their campus. I also saw my fellow Brownie (Andrew Gabriel) there. I had a good time and was glad that I was able to attend the presentation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

City Council Meeting

Hey fellow Brownies! We (Pinole Valley High School) just came back from OUR city council meeting.

The meeting went very smoothly to say the least. Ms. Kahn, Ms. Kaplan, and Mr. Ramsey did an excellent job in stressing the importance of education and the determination needed in the youth today. As with the presentations, we all did a wonderful job at introducing ourselves and showing our commitment towards the ILC. All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

I look forward in seeing everyone at the June 1 Orientation.
Till next time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Brunch without food

I feel that the Brunch went very well and was very informative. Thanks to Mr. Ramsey it ended on time! It was nice to hear about Brown all in one setting through very different perspectives (future student, mother, and admission officers).

I learned more about Brown and got some emails of people who could tell me more about Brown. One of my goals is to study abroad in Florence, Italy and other Renaissance related cities in Italy before I am 25 in means to learn more about the Renaissance. Go Medici! I am looking for a university that offers this. This was the first time I ever went to an event that informed me about a particular university. Knowing about Brown will help me have a guideline for judging other schools.

The meetings so far have helped me become more excited about going to Brown, take some pride on being selected to go and to experience what these kinds of meetings are like.

Additionally, I agree that learning is to learn.

I am looking forward to talking about my experience at Brown this summer to Mira Vista students.
Till next time.

WCCUSD School Board Meeting and Brown Brunch

Thank you to the WCCUSD School Board for approving our trip to Brown University this summer! 

On Wednesday, we were presented to the Board as the Ivy League Connection's students of 2010. It was very touching to know that so many people cared so much for us, and that they put so much effort into helping us succeed. I was moved by the speeches of Mrs. Campbell and the student speeches, and I felt very honored to be part of such a program, with so much community backing. I strongly agreed with what Mrs. Campbell said in her speech, especially the parts about how we need to bring what we learn from the Ivy League Colleges back to our communities, and about how we are far more than adequately capable to vie and compete with those with better backgrounds. The support of the Board and all of the parents and staff was overwhelming, and I have never felt so proud to be a part of something so monumental and important as this.

On Sunday, we were treated to brunch at La Strada to talk with Brown Admission officers. I have to say, I was nervous to sit at the front table in the beginning. But talking to Ms. Cohen of Coronado Elementary was very enlightening and informational. I appreciated her input to me about college experiences, and I really liked her speech to the entire crowd. I strongly believed in what she was trying to do at Coronado, and I would be honored to visit there sometime. I also hope that everyone enjoyed my speech, as I put a lot of time and effort into conveying my emotions and feelings about the Ivy League Connections and this opportunity. I learned a lot from the admission officers, and it really helped me realize that I do want to go to a college that is very loose and not strict. Thank you for this opportunity Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Mr. Gosney! In less than one month, we shall be on our way to Brown, and to the future!

Italian Food and Brown Admissions Officers

The brunch was such a great event that truly gave me the insight on everything: the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the Ivy League Connection, Brown University and the many people who devote themselves to all of these things. I realized that our district is trying very hard to help deserving students get to where they can be. They place in our minds that those who dream big can really accomplish what they have the potential for.

When the Brown Admissions officers were talking about their passions for Brown, many of the things they said were the exact things I hope to have once I am in college. What Mercedes Domenech and Elizabeth Hart were explaining about Brown really held my attention: the open curriculum, the unity among the students, the types of study abroad programs, the rigorous academics and so much more that makes Brown such an amazing university. 

I am especially interested in the Portuguese studies department as I plan to major in that area and language. Mercedes was excellent in that she provided a great way for me to contact the head professors there. It goes to show that the Brown staff are incredibly helpful and open to students for questions and concerns. I am glad that they took the time to come to the Bay Area and have a meeting with us; I genuinely feel that it was an event I definitely couldn't have missed.

When Mr. Medrano spoke about the reasons why it is important to persevere and to endure hardships, especially to those of us who are minorities and low-income, I felt the same passion he holds towards equitable education for all. It's important to motivate students, even when they are young, like Linda Cohen, principal of Coronado elementary school, said. I am definitely planning to come visit the elementary school once I return from Brown to inspire these young and smart minds that they can go anywhere they want if they put their minds to it.

In retrospect and in simple words, the brunch was a cherished event for me. My passion for Brown has deepened and I find myself wanting to attend there even more. I can hardly wait for July to come around and arrive in Rhode Island for the time of my life. Again, I would to thank everyone for their support and enthusiasm towards us. Everyone like Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Mr. Medrano, and everyone else on the school board as well as the Brown alumni who took the time to take questions from us did an incredible job of making the brunch a successful one. I appreciate it so much and I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brunch with the Brown Admission Officers!

Today’s brunch at La Strada went great. I had the great opportunity to learn more about Brown University through Mercedes and Elizabeth. It was really an honor to get to hear about Brown through these wonderful women. After hearing all they had to say about Brown, I felt like I really liked that university even more than before. Their speeches made me really want to go to Brown. I eagerly want to see all the wonderful things they talked about.

When it was my turn to speak in front of everyone, I was a little nervous. I realized that my cheat sheet for my speech was actually making me more nervous, so I decided to not use it. Afterwards I felt good. I also liked Austin’s speech. Everyone who spoke did a great job. I felt really inspired after hearing Antonio Medrano’s speech. His speech encouraged me to continuing doing my best and to try to learn as much as I can.

One thing I really liked the most was hearing about Brown's study abroad programs. It has always been my goal to study abroad because I feel I would benefit greatly from learning from new cultures and new environments.

Overall, like always this dinner went really well. Everyone was really friendly. I also loved the food. I enjoyed speaking with everyone. Juliann seemed really nice. She gave me her perspective and also her daughter’s experience in Brown University. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who made this brunch possible.

I can’t wait until our next meeting for our orientation on June 1st.

Strada di La Era Grande

Mr. Ramsey did an excellent job with the brunch with the Brown admissions officers today. La Strada was an ideal location to house such memorable occasion for its great food and it's ambiance.

It was such a treat to have the opportunity to talk to the Brown admissions officers and to discuss many topics that I will face during my time at Brown. 

Through this event, I learned that Brown offers many opportunities including research groups and projects. But most importantly, I learned that you learn for the sake of learning. True learning isn't just learning to get a good paying job but learning for your enjoyment and curiosity. I also have to agree with the admissions officers that most people are intimidated with the idea of going to an Ivy League School because of the price or the level of work being done. Instead, people shouldn't be scared of going to an Ivy League School and embrace the environment there. Determination will lead you to your destination wherever you go no matter what the obstacles are.

Anyways, see you guys at the orientation on June 1.
Till next time.

The School Board Meeting and Brunch at La Strada

It has been quite some time since this meeting occurred but I wanted to give my insight on it. The event was a complete success and most significantly it was wonderful. I felt so special being presented to the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Board of Education along with the other ILC members who like myself this summer will engage in a summer program at some of the most distinguished schools in the East Coast. The experience was absolutely terrific. I would like to thank Mr. Ramsey and the rest of the individuals involved in the ILC for making all of this possible. I really enjoyed meeting my chaperon, who looks like a really nice person and who will surely make my trip even more memorable. I really liked the part where all the members of the ILC were presented directly to the School Board and were given a very nice certificate in recognition for being in the program and for what they are to do this summer. The people in the audience seemed very impressed with what all of us are going to be doing over the summer and it made me realize the appreciation that people hold for us. Additionally, it was great to hear a fellow ILC member who is going to start his freshmen year in college at Columbia University. What really made the night even more special was the fact that my mother was there and that surprisingly my eight grade English teacher was in the audience. Afterwards, she told me that she was very proud and that it seemed that during all these years I have been keeping busy. Beside is a snapshot of everyone participating in the Women and Leadership course at Brown University, it was taken during the time when Don was taking the pictures of the ILC during the Board Meeting.

Today at La Strada, we had a terrific brunch. I found it particularly informative and enriching. I learned so many new things about Brown that only make me want to be there more and more. I'm becoming really fond of this university due to all the resources and opportunities that it provides its students with.

All the things that were discussed at this meeting were so exciting and helpful. For example, I learned that Brown actually has Classics which is one of the majors that I am debating about at the moment. The fact that Brown also offers its students plenty of research opportunities and to study abroad are only two of the many reasons of why I am considering Brown as the right place for me to spend four critical years of my life at.

We had great speakers at this meeting, like Madeline Kronenberg, the WCCUSD School Board President, who welcomed everyone to the event. We also had Cynthia Fong, a student of the WCCUSD who will attend Brown in the fall of this year, deliver a speech concerning her experience in the ILC and at the summer programs she was able to attend during her high school career. In addition, two other fellow ILC members Austin Long and Lucero Perez presented a speech. Afterwards, Linda Cohen, the principal of Coronado Elementary School, spoke about the necessity to push students and motivate them to excel in school really made me think about the elementary school that I attended and how we could all help the young students of the WCCUSD. In the end, she invited the ILC students to Coronado so that we could make some presentations next year, which I am really considering doing. Then we had the admission officers speak about the programs at Brown and other things that Brown has to offer. I really admired the fact that the admission officers are really dedicated to their jobs and are so helpful. I absolutely loved Antonio Medrado's closing speech it was absolutely inspiring and no doubt able to get its message across.

The food at La Strada was delicious and the atmosphere inviting. I loved the fact that we had the opportunity to have many of our questions concerning Brown answered. La Strada was just the right place to hold this event and welcome the admission officers of Brown University. Thank you Mr. Ramsey and the rest of the people involved with the ILC for this amazing experience!

(Featured in the picture are Mr. Ramsey and myself at the end of the brunch at La Strada

Brown Comes to La Strada!

Elizabeth and Mercedes from the Brown Admissions Office enjoyed an afternoon at La Strada in San Pablo with the Brownies, their parents, and Board Members/Teachers from the district. On behalf of the WCCUSD, we are honored to have both Elizabeth and Mercedes join us to give us an insight about Brown and speak with us one on one, answering questions and concerns.

Not only did they expand our knowledge of Brown itself, but more importantly the unique cirriculum of Brown. Brown places a strong emphasis on "learning for the sake of learning." In other words, this means that students choose courses that they are interested in taking and exploring different fields.

The food was delicious and the service was outstanding.

I'll see everyone at orientation on June 1st ... in casual clothing!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hello School Board!

May 13, 2010 is a night of great memories. It was full of supporters and people that know the importance of this program. It was amazing at how much happens in this school district. To be honest, this is the fist school board meeting I have ever been to, but this is not going to be my last. It has been such an enriching experience to hear all those positive comments on how we have grown from six people to twenty-nine.

One of the things that kept me alive was the speech. Ever since I walked through those doors, I was still thinking of what to say or how to say it, but when I went up there, they all vanished. One of the only problems I had was keeping my paper flat. It kept folding on itself. I hope it wasn't noticed, even though my fellow Ivy League members kept saying how well it was. If there are any requests to those that missed it or would like to see it visually, feel free to leave a comment saying you would like to see it.

What had to be one of the biggest things was when the public statement went on. I wish I remembered her name because what she said made me feel proud of myself along with everyone that was there. I couldn't point out one thing to say because everything she said was amazing. Also, hearing the past Ivy League student was a very good thing to hear, as it reminded me that we are still making history as each year goes by.

After all the speeches and standing in front of everyone and seeing all the sponsors, were the photographs. I sure hope they turned out right. It's funny how I walked in nervous about a speech and walk out nervous about some photo's.

Over all, I know it was a success and it was great to see everyone dressed up and professional. It reminded me that I could never be overdressed for an Ivy League Connection event and it further embeds in my mind to know that we have the support of an entire district and how I am grateful for it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Inspiring School Board Meeting

The school board meeting tonight was very inspiring and warmed my heart just knowing that I'm part of this great program that no other school district has. After seeing the tremendous amount of support from the school board and sponsors, I have the deep urge of showing them that this student from Pinole Valley High School can compete and show others that no matter what your background is, dreams are still a possibility. Again, I would like to thank Mr. Ramsey and the school board for their continuing dedication towards this program even though they may be tired of hearing this over and over again. It's just that I'm very grateful for them to create and sponsor such a special program.
The speakers were excellent tonight. Irene, the speaker's name was Tamy Campbell who is one of our most dedicated parent at Pinole Valley High School. And I also have to agree to what she says; that we, the students, are the seeds of the future and we must make sacrifices to allow for students to become those leaders in the world and to guide others. Again, thank you Mr. Ramsey, the school board, the sponsors, and everyone who made not only my dream become reality but others as well.
Till next time.

Board Meeting

I was very happy to hear all of the words of gratitude that the various student speakers, chaperones, and former participants in the Ivy League Connection had to say about the program tonight at the WCCUSD School Board meeting. I'm glad that I was finally formally presented in front of the School Board. Thank you again to everyone responsible for making the program possible.

During the public comment period, I was inspired by everything the sole speaker said (I didn't catch her name). She said that young people are the future. I agree. Young people have an opportunity to really change the world they grew up in. I hope for and look forward to the experience this summer that will help me to change the world around me for the better.

Meeting with the School Board

Today we had our meeting with the school board members. I was really excited to be there. I felt really honored to be part of such a great program and to have the privilege to go to Brown. I felt proud of myself and everyone else when we were introduced to the school board.

I was able to see that many of the students who were given this wonderful experience really enjoyed it. I liked the tip that the student that got accepted to Columbia University gave us. He said that we should try to make friends with other students, but we should also try to be really good friends with the professors.

Hearing that seven out of seventeen members of the Ivy League program were accepted into an Ivy League school really encouraged me. I feel grateful that people like Mr. Ramsey, Don, and the other Board members created such a wonderful program that encourages us to apply to Ivy League schools.

In the end, Don Gosney took pictures of all of us. I would like to thank Don for taking time to take all of our pictures. I just hope I didn’t blink too much. I tried really hard not to. I have to admit I was a little nervous about going to the meeting because I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen, but it turned out great. I met with my chaperone who seemed really nice and friendly. I really enjoyed going.

Once again, I would like to thank the school board members again for all their support. Without them I wouldn’t have this marvelous opportunity. Thank you all!

A Wednesday Night

Tonight was a night to celebrate. Presented before the School Board were the Ivy League Connection's students all anxiously waiting for their trips to prestigious universities this summer. We arrived and were patiently waiting to be announced and introduced by our fellow school district representatives. Indeed, it was a night that contained nothing but the utmost joy and appreciation by the School Board, ourselves, our parents and all other supporters who contribute to the Ivy League Connections programs.

We were formally introduced before the School Board and several students were asked to speak on behalf of the rest of the group, including me. Though I was nervous, I felt the need to reach out to our main contributors to let them know the importance and impact ILC has given us. It truly is a blessing to have distinguished opportunities--as well as amazing and passionate people--given to us. I have confidence that all of us will certainly make the most out of our trips to the east coast over the break.

In retrospect, tonight's atmosphere was one of celebration. Not only were we presented before the School Board and the community, but also had a chance to see some of the former Ivy League Connection's students live out their college dreams. This gives us hope that we have the potential to be in such an honorable position this time next year. The ILC has given us this confidence. I headed home with the satisfaction of knowing the hard work of students, parents, schools and community truly bring to fruition the dreams and aspirations of our fellow pupils.

Noteworthy Board Meeting

Tonight, ILC participants from the Brown, Yale, Cornell, and Columbia were honored and presented with a certificate of recognition by the School Board. It was a pleasure seeing everyone tonight - parents, sponsors, teachers, Don, Dr. Bruce Harter, and of course co-founders Ms. Kronenberg and Mr. Ramsey.

It is truly an amazing experience to witness just how large the ILC has grown over the past couple years. Growing from a mere 6 to now 29 participants inevitably shows dedication, commitment, and drive. Each person that is part of the ILC plays a vital role in making the ILC a nationally recognized program.

Like Ms. Kronenberg said, we are not going to step back but instead step right into the spotlight. We are earning our name and our status through our very own efforts. No one gave us this lifetime opportunity, but instead, we worked for it. We earned an appropriate grade point average, and more importantly, we earned our spots in studying on the East Coast at highly prestigous universities.

I was impressed by the presence of everyone tonight. Attire was appropriate and the speeches made were outstanding. I would like to thank Don for all the photo opportunities thus far, and especially today with the extra large group.

Let's go ILC !