Saturday, May 18, 2013

Officially in the Ranks

Thursday night, May 16, was the time when the Ivy League Connection cohorts would be presented before the West Contra Costa Unified School District's District Board meeting. After submitting the various forms and receiving notifications of my acceptance, I feel as if this night was the official stepping stone to warrant my journey to the East Coast this summer. The opportunity to see my district's School Board was a revealing experience and I felt mentally exhilarated after the meeting. 

I arrived at Richmond's Lavonya Dejean Middle School with my mother at 5:50PM, ten minutes before Don's required arrival time. Upon entering the auditorium I greeted fellow Cornell cohort members Rochelle Yee and Christian Abraham, and together we met with our chaperon, Alfredo Chan-Law, for a debriefing of the events to follow. We migrated next to the table with the Ivy League university flags and, after retrieving our corresponding banner, were shuffled around so as to clear the path to the exit. We met with Michelle Phung along the way, and were soon joined by Tomi Balogun and Tamilyn Chen. With our cohort present in its entirety, Mr. Chan-Law informed us on what to expect and we were able to socialize for the remaining time before the meeting was called to order. Conversation helped to ease our nerves, for we were all quite nervous to some degree, especially Michelle who was diligently rehearsing her speech. 

The meeting began promptly at 6:30PM with a case regarding the status of a school for expelled students, and it was a unique opportunity to watch the case unfold and see the board in action. After the case had been settled, the Ivy League cohorts were introduced alphabetically by school. Michelle and all the other student speakers executed their speeches very well and I was moved by many of their words. The chaperons had interesting speeches as well, often containing information as to what the ILCers would be doing on the East Coast, and there was a personal touch to each oration. 

We were also able to see the wonderful benefactors of the Ivy League Connection, who made everything possible. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed to the program, be it in monetary terms or man hours. The meeting closed with rousing speeches from ILC alums, Charles Ramsey, and Don Gosney before the latter proceeded to organize the photo shoot of this year's Ivy League Connection participants, their chaperons, and their grinning parents. After more than 20 blinding flashes, we were free to go and I stumbled over to where my mother was waiting. 

The night was eventful and deeply inspirational. After two weeks of arduous AP tests and class projects, the meeting provided a few hours for me to just think about what exactly I wanted to be doing at this point in time, and of what I would be able to achieve after participating in this unique, life-changing opportunity. I have been officially recognized and as a member of the Ivy League Connection, and now that I have been accepted in its ranks, I can look forward with zeal to my time on the East Coast. 

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