Friday, June 3, 2016

Successful Connections at Town Hall

The night before the eagerness and anxiety kicked in for the 2016 ILC Brown dinner. Strangely, I couldn't stop fretting about the speech I volunteered to make at the dinner. The more I practiced standing in front of my bathroom mirror, the more nervous I became.

The whole day at school, I was excited yet anxious for the evening event. When school ended, I rushed home to get dressed and carpool with Don, my mom, and Thao, a two-time Hercules ILCer who attended Women and Leadership in 2013, to the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station. 

Everyone arrived on time and we were ready to catch the BART to San Francisco. During the ride there, I chatted with Krystal's mom. I was impressed by her love for different cultures and determination to motivate her children to pursue high goals. I also chatted with Cynthia, another ILCer who attended Women and Leadership in 2013. She reflected on how the summer of 2013 at Brown completely changed her perspective on society, her life, and her goals. I was so happy for Cynthia when she told me that she has been awarded a full ride to attend the University of California, Berkeley. While describing her application process, Cynthia advised me to start looking and applying for scholarships now. I am so thankful for all the valuable advise she gave me.  
Amazing people walking great paths.
Soon we arrived in San Francisco and walked to the Town Hall Restaurant. Along the way, I conversed with Crystal Tse, an ILCer who attended the Women and Leadership summer program a few years ago and who has just recently completed her freshman year at Brown University. Crystal was so sweet and approachable. She shared her experiences attending Brown. I found out that Crystal is interested in Biology and she is a part of many clubs on campus. I was thrilled to find that we have a lot in common, such as both of us are interested in the various sciences and are first-generation students. I was very interested to find out how she decided to go to Brown and how convinced her parents of her decision. 

Once we arrived at the restaurant, we all waited for Don to set his seating chart. After beverages, we all took our respective seats. Don, my mom, Krystal, her mom, and Crystal accompanied me at our table. 

Madeline Kronenberg hosted the introductions and speeches. Everyone introduced themselves and told a bit about who they are and what they do. The three lovely sponsors spoke very motivating words. I was really impressed by Charles Ramsey's speech. Thank you to all the sponsors who continue to support the ILC!
A cluster of past and present ILCers.
The elegant setting of the night.
Our lovely sponsor, Sally Swanson.
Our wonderful, inspiring sponsor, Charles Ramsey.
The man behind the survival of the ILC. Thank you!
An inspiring alumni.

Soon it was my turn to speak. The anxiety departed as I walked to the center of the room to speak. In my speech I reflected on my 2015 ILC journey and my aspirations and excitement for this summer. I am incredibly thankful of the ILC for last year and this year. I want to thank every single person, including all the generous sponsors and hardworking coordinators, especially Don, that has helped me step outside of my comfort zone and seek and pursue new opportunities. Thank you for giving me confidence, maturity, and a higher level of critical thinking. Thank you for showing me a path to a bright future. Thank you so much!

After my speech, Crystal spoke about how the ILC changed her life and all the wonderful experiences she is having at Brown. I was very inspired by her speech.
Crystal speaking a few inspirational words.
Soon the dinner arrived and we all become engrossed in our delicious meals and conversations. One of the key topics of my table's conversations was how to convince parents to let their children attend colleges outside of California. I could relate a lot to this topic as  I know I will face this problem in the near future. Don narrated several stories in which talented students were limited from going to colleges outsides of California because of this problem. I hope if I decide to go to a college out of state, I am able to convince my parents. 

Crystal and I conversed throughout the dinner. We found out about each other's interests and hobbies. Being very kind, Crystal offered to stay in touch and told me to contact her whenever I needed any help. She is very lovely soul!
My mother and I. 
After an absolutely fabulous dinner, the 2016 W&L ILCers took a group photo with the alums. Then the whole group headed back to the BART station to go back to El Cerrito. Once we arrived at the starting destination, the event ended and we all departed after several hugs and goodbyes. 
A few Brownies. 
Lovely ladies and me.
I truly enjoyed the 2016 ILC Brown dinner. Everyone was so kind and approachable. I learned many new things about applying for scholarships and to colleges. I conversed with many individuals and connections. I am so happy that the night was successful!
After a successful night with successful individuals.

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