Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Enlightening Event

This afternoon happened to be the WCCUSD School Board Meeting. At this particular meeting, however, things were quite a bit different than usual. First of all, this crazy hot weather decided to kick in, introducing summer to us all, as it is supposed to around this time. I had just arrived at Lavonya Dejean Middle School, where the meeting would take place. As I entered into the school's multi-purpose room, I was feeling pretty thrilled to see all of the ILCers, as well as the chaperones, benefactors, and the school board members. With a AP exam tomorrow and reviewing to get done, I thought that this meeting would be the death of me! On the contrary, though, it turned out better than I had planned.

Once I arrived in the multi-purpose room, I gathered with the rest of the ILCers and chaperones, who were listening to what Don had to tell us, which were basically some quick guidelines as to how the cohorts were going to present. Following this, my cohort, along with all the other ones, made our way to our seats and waited for what was to come. Mr. Charles Ramsey had commenced the meeting and reviewed the agenda of the meeting. It so happened that the ILC was first on the agenda. Not only were we (this year's ILC family) first, but particularly my cohort, the Brown-I cohort, was going to go up before the other ones. It was good to know we were the first, but... did I mention we were first? Anyway, with the initial anxiety that was building within me, I was able to quickly mellow down into a more zen-like mood. Still slightly nervous, though, I took a couple breaths and awaited for the Brown-I cohort to be called.

Once called, the cohort and I stood up, and and made our way to present ourselves, along with our Brown flag, to the school board members. Ms. Scott began the ILC presentation by introducing the Brown-I cohort with our names, grade, school, and our ILC certificate, which indicates that we are in the 2014 Ivy League Connection program as well as the course we will be taking during the summer. Following that, she mentioned the schools our cohort would visit. Fortunately, we will be given to opportunity to visit some of the best schools on the East Coast, particularly, Brandeis, Yale, and Harvard! After the introduction, it was time to be represented, but now by Jack. Despite his dislike for public speaking, Jack made a great first student speaker! He overcame his nervousness and was able to express gratitude that came from the heart. Our presentation was followed by a round of applause and we all progressed to take our seats.

Representing '14 Brown-I, from left to right are: Jack, Kevin, Me, Jing, and Brandon. Alongside us our chaperone, Ms. Scott gives a few words of gratitude.

As our cohort's introduction came to end,the other ILC cohorts stood up to present themselves and share their aspirations, some of which being to empower young women, generate awareness of educational opportunities outside of California, and sharing our knowledge with others. After hearing a set of interesting aspirations, the benefactors of the ILC were called up and were introduced to us. It was pretty gratifying to see the actual people and organizations that were making all of our prospective opportunities possible. After getting to see them and giving them their well deserved standing ovation, we proceeded to taking to the group picture! It was quite hectic to get everyone to organized and in position, especially with everyone moving their heads and arms for last minute, camera-ready adjustments, something Don had repetitively warned us about not doing. After a minute or two, the entire group, of nearly 100 people, finally settled down. We all put our best smile forward as Don pulled out his professional camera, taking, and I kid you not, at least 15 shots with all of us in our completely frozen poses. After the picture was done, a huge sigh of relief overfilled the room along with a great round of applause. It was fullfilling knowing that we had made it this far. We were then yet another step further into the ILC. We are one step closer to an opportunity that can steer our future into a new direction. With such gratitude, I procedded to take quite a few pictures of myself along with my mother, who came with me to the event.

2014 Ivy League Connection Family

It turns out today's event was not necessarily the way I expected it to be. Instead, it was pretty enlightening and uplifting, as we expressed our gratitude to all those who have contributed to making this opportunity possible, received our Ivy League Connection, and had made it one step further in this amazing program. It's exciting looking forward to everything that is yet to come as part of this opportunity, but it it's even more full-filling to look back at everything from the beginning. The rigorous application process, the intense interviews, and making it into our prospective courses at the actual school we will attend, let alone making it into the Ivy League Connection, are all great accomplishments. It is safe to say that the best is yet to come, now that we are slowly, but surely, making our way further into the ILC. What is even more exciting is that tomorrow will be the fancy Brown-I dinner at One Market in San Francisco! Who get's the opportunity to sit alongside a group of alumni from the school you will be headed to in the summer? It's crazy (and I mean that in a good way). With so much to take in, it only leaves me anxiously waiting for what lies ahead as being a part of the Ivy League Connection. With a great set of people at my side, I am sure that this experience will be one of the most memorable ones I will make. I know that all of the the rigorous work and tremendous effort we will devote this summer will be not only gratifying for us, but for our schools, community, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and most certainly for our families. I am very thankful for this privilege, as it is a great honor as well.


  1. Arnold, I was so dismayed with myself when I realized that I had forgotten to mention your birthday to the WCCUSD School Board. Can you imagine them singing "Happy Birthday to you on television? Alas, I hope you had a nice birthday weekend with your family following the event.

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