Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meeting the School Board

I arrived at Lavonya DeJean Middle School promptly at 5:40 ready to go to work. I didn't really know what was going to happen except for the fact that I was supposed to give a speech. Don had sent an e-mail out a few weeks previous to this date with an attachment listing the people supposed to give speeches in front of the School Board but my computer (as being its stupid self) was unable to open this attachment. So until about 3 days ago when I received an e-mail from my chaperone suddenly explaining that I was to give a short speech to the School Board. There aren't many things I dislike in this world but let me just say the public speaking may be the one thing I hate most. There have been many experiences in which I was supposed to give such a speech, yet because of this loathing I was unable to deliver. Unfortunately, this is the ILC and I couldn't possibly refuse. Time to man up and face my fears... right?

I'm the second one to arrive (after Kevin) and after talking to our chaperone Alana for a bit she informs me that not only am I giving a speech but that I'm going to be the very first one. Charles Ramsey, President of the School Board, announces that the meeting is starting and we take our seats for the longest two hours of my life. After a short time of rearranging the meeting's list of priorities the ILC has been moved to the top of the list, and with it my speech. We are all called up as a group and Alana gives a speech detailing the trip and what she thought about the program and how much opportunity it provided us all. After a good speech like that how can I follow up? She names us off and tells them which program we're going to and after she says my name she invites me up to speak.
Don't let this cool facade fool you, I was scared...
I slowly walk up to the podium; my smile is made of pure nervousness. When I get up there I realize that my whole body has the shakes and I'm having trouble making an opening statement. I pull my phone out of my pocket and open it up to my notes, which turns out to be completely unnecessary as I decide to completely wing it. Even as I try to remember I can't recall what I was saying exactly. It all just came pouring out, which may make it more sincere but at times it may just seem desperate. I have no idea but I can clearly remember the feeling of relief immediately after I say "thank you" and depart the stage. I sit through the rest of the meeting in silence, applauding the rest of my cohorts, happy to be done. At the end we take a group picture with all the ILCers and the parents which turns out to be hilarious as Don became very angry constantly at people who refused to follow orders. After the picture I talk to my fellow ILCers and thank the benefactors before I leave. I haven't even left California yet and this program is already giving me so many opportunities that I would have never gotten anywhere else. Yes the School Board was very intimidating and yes I suck at public speaking but I had a great time tonight and I'm sure there will be many more to come. Especially when the whole Brown cohort is meeting tomorrow for a dinner at One Market in SF. I'll see you guys there tomorrow!
Brown-I Cohort from Left to Right, Me, Kevin, Arnold, Jing, & Brandon
Jusqu'a la prochaine fois....


  1. Jack,

    Somebody had to be first in the speeches, and I know that you put the WCCUSD School Board members and following speakers at ease with your sincerity. You did well. Bravo on conquering your fear. Public speaking will only get easier for you following this experience. And I agree with you - the opportunities that the ILC provides even leading up to the trip are outstanding!

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