Today was a day filled with surprises, pleasant words, and plenty of smiles.
My friend Jahnvi and I, and our mothers, arrived at Lavonya DeJean Middle School half an hour earlier than Don's designated time. Before we entered the auditorium, we decided to hold a small photo shoot. The chilly wind somewhat ruined our plans, but we managed to snap a few nice clicks.
|A product of the photo session.|
After entering the auditorium, we met up with other ILCers who were clustered in a corner of the grand hall. We all chatted for a while before my chaperone, Mrs. Whitlock, called together the Brown cohort to discuss the events for the evening. Mrs. Whitlock also informed us that before we go to Brown we will possibly be visiting Emory University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University. I am so thrilled to visit these colleges! I have always wanted to visit these three universities and maybe it will happen this summer. I am so, so, so excited!
Soon after, all of us "Brownies" took a group photo and settled down.
|The 2016 Women and Leadership Cohort!|
|The first two rows of seats were reserved for the ILC. This made me feel like special, I felt like a V.I.P.|
I chatted with Camila for a while about the different debate competitions she and her school is a part of and shared the competitions and events my debate team participates in. During this time, I noticed the hall becoming packed with protesters. I overheard a few say that there was going to be a heated debate over an issue that involved the conversion of the old Adams Middle School to a new charter school known as the Caliber Charter School in Richmond.
|This is how the hall looked, packed with protesters. The majority of the people, wearing blue-colored clothing, were there for the charter school issue.|
After all the school board members arrived, the meeting began. The ILC presentation was first on the list of events for the evening. Vince Rhea introduced the ILC to the school board and audience. He then called each of the cohorts one by one. Brown was third on the list. When we were called to the front of the podium, Ms. Whitlock introduced all of us. Then Camila took the spotlight and gave a splendid speech that expressed all of our excitement, aspirations, and gratification for our ILC trip. The school board members met us with smiles and the audience with a supporting applause.
After all the cohorts presented, Arnold Dimas, a two time ILCer and a Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient, spoke a few words describing how the ILC changed his life. His experience was very relatable as I have grown in a similar manner after being a part of the ILC last year. Like him, I have experienced rejections while applying for ILC scholarships and have learned to work even harder when applying again. I have become stronger and more open to pursuing opportunities available around me, all thanks to the ILC.
Then, Don Gosney, the man that makes the Ivy League Connection experience possible for every ILCer and someone who I can't be thankful enough of, spoke a few words about the ILC, the incredible changes it has brought in our community, and the remarkable, unwavering support of our lovely sponsors that make the ILC journey possible for more and more students every year. I am very proud that the ILC has introduced so many opportunities for the talented students of my school district. If it wasn't for the ILC, possibly the number of students that attend Ivy Leagues and colleges outsides of California from my school district would be significantly low. Thank you so much ILC, thank you.
|Don speaking to the School Board.|
After the presentation, all of us ILCers went outside of the auditorium to take a group picture with all the students, chaperones, and parents. Don carefully organized all of us for his masterpiece. He then took a bazillion pictures. After Don's photo session, the event ended. We all started chatting in small groups and taking more pictures with friends. I went home with excitement and gratification.
|The Hercules ILCers! From left to right: Ryan Cutter, Ernestina Hsieh, me, and Jahnvi Doshi. Ryan and Ernestina are going to the University of Chicago and Jahnvi is going to Vanderbilt University. I suggest checking out their blogs! :)|