Sunday, April 29, 2012

And It's Begun

The ball has finally started rolling! After a potluck, blog tutorial, and a meeting to finalize our blog, the fact that I’m going to Providence this summer is really sinking in.

Brown & Columbia potluck
Our joint potluck with Columbia was a lot of fun, with a ton of great food. Even though I ended up taking home (and eating most of) a giant plate of sushi, I was really happy to have met both my chaperones, and some fellow cohorts. When Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Crosby started talking about what we needed to bring on the trip, and the other schools we would be visiting, it was hard for me to sit still in my seat, I was so excited!

I was looking forward to the blogging tutorial with the same amount of anticipation as I did the potluck. I’ve never blogged before (this is my first post, ever!) and I’ve always wanted to learn. The tutorial was not exactly what I expected, but was still extremely informative. Don’s packet with pages on pages of notes on both blogging, and being a quality ILCer was tremendously helpful; I’m the sort of person who writes things down to remember them, and not having to take notes for three hours on a Saturday was definitely a relief. Not sitting next to someone I knew was a bigger challenge then I would have expected, because I brought my laptop, and sat in one of the desks on the side, all by myself. In hindsight, I could have moved because I brought my laptop, and they are decidedly mobile, but I instead sat in that horrid seat that was attached to the desk, and made the most awful noise whenever I forgot and attempted to scoot my chair in.

After the blogging tutorial, the Brown cohort needed to set up a meeting, which was held at El Cerrito in the yearbook room, also known as my second home. During deadlines, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be in the room until nine or ten PM, so the blogging meeting was not a big deal. I did have a good time with everyone who showed up, and I think that the blog ended up looking very well. I’m really happy Ms. Kaplan came as well, as her energy is so infectious. Don really helped as well; we would probably still be working on the banner if it weren’t for him.

All in all, it was a great first few meetings, and I can’t wait for the rest!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Women and Leadership: The Low Down

The Women and Leadership program is a two-week course (July 9th thru 20th) where students will investigate challenges faced by women in modern society. Students will analyze the way gender affects the progress women make by “finding their voice” through lectures, discussions, films, and role-plays. They will improve on their public speaking skills and leadership techniques as well. In addition, students will be submitting an Action Plan involving issues they are passionate about.

Travel Preparations

Just took a look at the Brown Blog Site. Looks real good. Nice job guys.

Our trip seems to constantly be in the back of my mind. I'm starting to gather things. I have been dropping things  like camera, tripod, GPS, camera charger, spare cell phone charger and umbrella into a small roller bag. I have learned that this pre-packing reduces the chance of leaving something critical behind. As I mentioned during our potluck dinner, you want to think about what you want in your carry-on bag. I'll be adding to this as I think of things, such as: neck pillows (I have an inflatable one), ear plugs (great for napping), something fun to read, water bottle and some snacks. To be continued.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We Be Potlucking

I just wanted to repeat the experience of many of the students. It was such a pleasure to meet all of the Brown II students at the potluck on Tuesday. After meeting the parents, it is easy to understand how they have raised such outstanding young people. And I am absolutely confident that they will be in excellent hands with Jackie Timmes and enjoy their week with Kat Williams.  I can't wait to have all 14 of the students together for that last week!

Also, this evening, several of the students from both cohorts met at El Cerrito High to develop their web page, a meeting that was totally initiated and organized by Emily Groves. The group consisted of Emily Groves, Emily Cain, Nick Shebek, Kelly Xi, David Fang, Ying-An Wang, and Abigail Serrnao. Did I miss anyone?
It was both entertaining and inspiring to see them all at work -- with one another, collaborating to produce an excellent product. I felt proud of each of them ---  so much so that I forgot to take a photo!

Food, Friends, and Information

Post-Pot Luck Conversation
This past Tuesday proved to be the first time that all Brown II students and chaperons were able to be together in the same place.  It was great to meet Abigail and Maddie, the only students I had left to meet.  The food was great, we had some final paper work signed, and we all left the session more comfortable and informed.

With the ending of school approaching fast, the excitement about the upcoming trip was evident in the room.  Ms Kaplan did a wonderful job not only organizing the night, but relaying essential information to both students and their parents.  There were few questions asked by the cohort, but I anticipate that changing once the girls start packing and formally begin their preparations for the trip.  Until then, nothing beats the opportunity to meet, greet, and eat with the Brown II cohort.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Potluck with Brownies

After a long day of CST testing at school, I rushed to the bakery to buy some pastries for the Brown Cohort II Potluck. Our lovely chaperones organized the potluck at El Cerrito High School to give all the Brown II cohorts and their parents a chance to meet each other in a more informal, relaxed environment. It was set for 6:30PM, but my parents and I ran a little late to the potluck because we got lost trying to find the school.

Coincidentally, Romina and her mom arrived at the exact same time as we did. I felt relieved that I wasn’t going to be the only one walking in the room tardy. We found signs leading to the classroom, C203. By the time we found the room, everyone was already eating. I took a glance at the food table as my dad place our box of sweet bread next to the salad bowl and felt so excited to devour some delicious food. One of our chaperones, Jackie, welcomed us and helped us get settled. Immediately, I felt my face flushed with embarrassment because I felt a little shy to introduce myself.  I met Abigail and Destiney during the interview, and I knew Romina since we are fairly close at school, but I still haven’t met the rest of the girls.  Luckily, they were very friendly. Emily, Molly, and Maddie all greeted me with sincere smiles on their faces. 

Meeting Maddie for the first time!
About 15-20 minutes later, Ms. Kaplan called us over to the desks. This was the informative part of the potluck. I accompanied my parents by pulling a chair next to the desk they were sitting on. Right off the bat, I knew that Ms. Kaplan was very enthusiastic about our trip.  She had gone to Brown before and she was clearly more than excited for us to experience a whole new world across the country. She shared the same information Don had shared with us during his tutorial, but we went over them in more extensive details. She touched bases with us about luggage, dinners, East Coast weather, pocket money, our class at Brown, and even some “hot spots” that former Brown cohorts shared with her.

I would say that the potluck was successful. I loved looking around the room to see how proud each parent was that their child will be attending Brown this summer. The humble way each of my cohorts carried themselves made me realize that we are all ready to spend a summer together. 

As spring days roll by, the closer we are to stepping foot on Providence, Rhode Island as proud Brownies. I am definitely thrilled, ecstatic, and even a bit nervous!

So Much Satisfaction

Oh, how frustrated I was to be late to the potluck! Right after my badminton game, my mom and I rushed to Lee's Garden to pick up my favorite pot stickers. I thought it would be nice to share that with my Brownies. Upon arriving El Cerrito High, I bumped into Ynah and found it funny and embarrassing given the fact that we were both late. The signs that led us to room 302 made me more and more anxious to finally meet everybody.

As we entered the room, everyone was already situated with their food. Ynah and I introduced ourselves to everyone and settled in our food as well. Words cannot express how much I loved the food. Maybe it's because of the particularly long day I've had, or maybe the food was just plain delicious. Being able to converse with my cohorts gave me a peace of mind that there is nothing to be intimidated about.

With the awesome chaperones!
After about fifteen minutes, Ms. Kaplan called us to gather around for some useful information. She gave us a lot of handy tips for traveling and informed us of the many important dinners that we will have to prepare for during our trip. Ms. Kaplan warned us about the weather; I don't know if I'm ready for the heat, but I'll manage! She even shared the "hot spots" in which the past Brown cohorts recommended for us to explore while at Rhode Island.

I give my thanks to Ms. Kaplan for coming up with this great idea of having a potluck. It was the perfect ice breaker for everybody, including our parents. This is just the start of our amazing journey together.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Food for the Friendly

Cookies and Cinnamon Rolls from Abigail!

Today I was excited to attend the Brown Potluck because I got the chance to meet the rest of the girls. I believe I meet all the girls besides two. When I arrived at the school my dad and I couldn't even get into building C because it was locked! After five minutes or so we finally got in and settled down. Everyone seemed to have received name tags but I didn't but that's the beauty of your mouth, you can always introduce yourself! For the first few minutes we all got to eat and surprisingly Iris and I both brought fried rice!

Ms. Kaplan
After devouring the delicious food the chaperones introduced themselves to reassure all of our parents that we will be safe during the summer. Ms. Kaplan wanted to go over some key points she had; luggage, dinners, what to pack, our assignment she had for us, and our busy three week schedule. She also shared "hot tips" from past ILCers who have been through this experience and things we should take into account while we are in Providence. Overall, my Dad responded in excitement knowing what I was doing for the summer and I think he even had fun going to the potluck with me. I am excited to experience this summer with the Brown cohort and enjoy learning from a professor at Brown University! 

The Potluck: A Taste Of Our Summer At Brown

My Tuesday evening was even busier than normal today; not only did I have the Brown Cohort Two Potluck to attend, I also had a band concert to perform in. Because I had to dash to the concert at 7:00 PM, I was only able to stay for the first half hour of the potluck.

I was excited to have the chance to get to know more of the girls in my ILC group, along with their parents. Everyone brought delicious food along, and we all filled our plates and socialized while eating various tasty dishes, including fried rice, romaine salad, and pot stickers. All the people at the potluck were incredibly friendly and interesting to talk to. I hope to get to know all of the girls in my cohort better, because since I left early, I wasn't able to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked. 

The food at the potluck was all delicious; it was also mostly gone by the time I left.

Everyone enjoyed eating and talking to each other.
I left the potluck reluctantly at 7:00 PM, just as Ms. Kaplan was beginning to tell us the details of our trip. Both of my parents were able to stay for a while longer, and my mom took notes on the information that Ms. Kaplan gave us. My mom later relayed the information to me; hearing details regarding the dinners we are to attend and the other activities we will be doing added to my excitement about the trip. As the date of our departure slowly approaches, everything is beginning to seem like more than just a distant opportunity. I am more enthusiastic than ever for this summer. 

Ms. Kaplan gave us a lot of useful tips and details about our trip.

No Pressure

"What is sleep?" was the first thought that came to mind as I forced myself awake last Saturday morning. I desperately wanted to hit that snooze button, but sleeping in was just not an option this time around.

I arrived at Hercules High merely four minutes before 9AM. Panic was all I felt at the moment, until I reached the top of the staircase, where I met Julia Chang, a Yale cohort. Coincidentally, we found two Herculeans and asked them for directions to the computer lab. Thanks to them, we spotted the room right away. We, or I, walked into a whole group of unfamiliar faces. It was pretty intimidating at first; everybody seemed to know each other already! I ended up sitting in the front, where I can see and hear Don very clearly. After the introductions and such, we finally got down to business.

Even the heavy duty packets that Don provided us were intimidating themselves. Fortunately, he was able to break it all down for us to understand. Some of the material I was already familiar with, but a lot of it was really necessary for me to learn more about. The picture-taking lesson was the most interesting to me. Don taught us how to properly capture and edit a photo and stressed why the quality of a picture is super important. We also went over the basics of blogging, public speaking, and other responsibilities an ILC cohort is required to fulfill. Who knew one could feel like a professional after only three hours? 

The tutorial in its entirety was a wake up call to me. After meeting my Brown cohorts, after scanning my ID cards with Don, after the lectures and reminders of what is expected of us, I realized that this is reality. I am a part of the Ivy League Connection, and I will be in the midst of Brown this summer!

Potluck for Brownies

This evening was the night for the Brown II Session potluck at El Cerrito High. Everyone gathered around a large, black table and sat their food on it. As soon as the foil and wrappings were peeled back, you can smell the swirls of aromas. Sweet sugary cinnabons, the cool ranch of salad, savory fried rice, and many more.

Our Delicious Food!
All us girls sat near each other and reminisced about how school and sports was going. It was surprising to find out that a few of my cohorts also play softball this year like me (hopefully our competitiveness won't show during our summer at Brown). As we all finished eating, Ms. Kaplan, the creative director of this night, began to talk about why she invited all of us here. 
She wanted for us to get a better understanding of what's going to happen this summer. Ms. Kaplan also noted that we should never get discouraged while we're meeting new people over at the East Coast. We're all intelligent, young independent women that have morals that others sought in us. This gives us the reason for why we were chosen to go to Brown. Handouts were also passed around from previous alums about "hot spots" at Brown. Places like the Taza Cafe were highly recommended for breakfast and a Fire-Water show is presented and is a great sight for tourists. So many different types of events are happening this summer, watch out Brown, here WE come!

My Lovely Cohorts

Eating and Meeting

My parents and I followed the smell of delicious food all the way to room C302 where the Brown Session Two potluck was being held at El Cerrito High. We were greeted by a very enthusiastic Ms. Kaplan and soon met Ms. Timmes and Ms. Williams who were equally inviting. After filling out a little paper work we got to socializing and of course, eating! 

A yummy dessert is the key to any good potluck!
 Here's just a few of the many delicious choices we had. As we ate, my new friends and I talked about the classes we were currently taking and got to know each other a little better. I think it's really important that we're comfortable with each other being that we'll be traveling together in close quarters for a while. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet all the young women in an informal setting. Everyone was friendly and intelligent. I can definitely see why they were picked for this program.  

After piling our plates and settling in a seat, Ms. Kaplan began her presentation. We jumped from topic to topic. I was amazed to find that our departure date starts at 3AM! In addition, we talked about what to pack remembering that East Coast summers are very different than Bay Area summers. Ms. Kaplan also talked about our busy but fun schedule for touring schools and going to dinners. We went over the all important dress code for the various events we'll be attending and personally, I am looking forward to getting a little dressed up. 

 Ms. Kaplan also shared some emails she had received from past ILCers who had gone to Brown. All had great things to say. They recommended places to eat and sites to see in whatever spare time we have. Many of the students strongly suggested seeing the "Fire-Water" show in Providence. Another tip mentioned by a number of the students was to bring a lot of sunscreen. It was all good to here and just made me even more excited for this summer! 
Here are some more pictures of tonight's festivities.

Here's one of the many delectable choices at
tonight's potluck.
An action shot of sorts. Here we are eating and getting to know
each other and our chaperon, Ms. Timmes.

Here we are listening carefully to all the tips for traveling Ms. Kaplan has to offer.

A Delicious Potluck

When my mother and I arrived at El Cerrito High this evening we were excited to meet new people and to gain a better understanding of life at Brown. After arriving at room C302, we were greeted by Mrs. Kaplan and a few of girls attending the Women and Leadership Program. We introduced ourselves and filled out some paperwork while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

When everyone found their way to the classroom, we started to eat. The food was delicious and talking to the other girls was great. We have a lot in common; I learned that two other girls besides me play softball. Everyone seemed excited for summer and I know I certainly am.

Once we were all situated, Mrs. Kaplan introduced herself to the group and talked about the logistics of the trip. I was interested to learn that we will be staying in the Providence Hotel and visiting Wellesley, Dartmouth, Brandeis, and Harvard. After Mrs. Kaplan spoke, she gave the other chaperones, Kat and Jackie, an opportunity to introduce themselves. All three chaperones seem like wonderful individuals and I feel honored to have the chance to spend some of my summer with them.

After all the important information was relayed, everyone went back for seconds and posed for photographs. I had the opportunity to talk a little more with my chaperones, and some of the other girls in the program. Eventually my mother and I made our way out of the classroom, and headed home. The potluck today was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet the other girls and my chaperones. I am now even more excited for summer!

One Yawn at a Time

The weekend was the perfect time to attend Don's blogging tutorial at Hercules High School. The sun was out and shining everywhere. My step-dad and I arrived ten minutes before everything started, 8:50 AM.
Hercules Computer Lab

When we walked through the classroom, we were welcomed with many happy, smiling faces. I was actually intimidated, everyone else was clustered in groups and I had no idea on how to jump in and introduce myself. Luckily, the tutorial was about to begin so we all took a seat (what a relief).

Don explained the importance of everything; from blogging to the essentials of what we need to bring for our trip. We also received a chance to get on computers to type our first practice blog. Being the computer illiterate person that I am, Don's instructions were actually pretty simple and easy to follow along with. After a good hour or so, we took our first break. Everyone seemed more awake and the yawns ended. It was easier this time to greet others. We were engaged in the conversations and had a few laughs too. Afterwards, we resumed the tutorial and it soon came to a close. Goodbyes were said and hugs were given. My overall experience was great, I leaned new things and created new friends. The feeling of intimidation was never needed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Refresher and More

Yesterday morning, I woke up expecting to have to sit through 3 hours' worth of Don going over what to pack and how to blog, which would have been very helpful had I not heard it all before at last year's tutorial. However, almost as soon as the tutorial began I realized just how useful it was for me to receive this "refresher" course, as I found that I had forgotten some of the major aspects of blogging, such as what resolution I should have my pictures at, and all sorts of important details. While I did remember pretty much everything in regards to what to bring back East, I was not aware about some of the specific items that I need to bring to Brown, and now feel extremely prepared to head off to Providence as soon as possible.
Don explaining how to blog
After Don covered all of the blogging and photography basics, we actually made our own practice blog. I did not get a chance to do this at the tutorial I went to last year, and found it extremely useful, since I had also forgotten how to handle all the little problems that come up from an extra indentation here and there. Having Don around to help nip all those minor problems in the bud was extremely useful, especially for me, since I'm more of a hands-on learner, and probably would have stumbled a bit with the blogging out of the gate if the tutorial never involved any actual practice. (Not that the tutorial didn't prepare me last year, I just felt ready to hit the ground running after this year's, thanks to the practice blog as a reminder of what exactly needs to be done.) 
Don and my chaperone for a week, Mr. Crosby, talking during
a break. (I guess I didn't get the Hawaiian shirt memo).
We did end up running about a half hour late, but to my surprise those 3 and a half hours went by much faster than I would have possibly imagined, and I still felt like I learned a lot by the end of them. I was not looking forward to this tutorial at the start of the day, but just as with all of my ILC experiences so far, it was great.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Testing, testing 1, 2, 3!

This is the first of many blog posts to come. Today was the Ivy League Connection tutorial where Don Gosney explained everything we need to know about the program from how to post a photo to how to do our laundry in the dorms. 
Sunset in Hawaii
I arrived at Hercules High School on a bright and sunny April morning. I was greeted by the friendly faces of my fellow ILCers when I walked in to the computer lab where the tutorial was being held. First, Don went over the importance of checking our email. Then, he moved on to the nuts and bolts of blogging. He gave us tips on how to take a clear picture and how use the blog site to the fullest.

I'm adding a photo of my vacation to Hawaii last summer to practice inserting photos. Hawaii was absolutely beautiful. This was just one of the many amazing views we saw on our trip around the Big Island. One day, my family and I took a snorkeling trip that I'll never forget. The view of the colorful fish and interesting coral was just as vivid as the sunset. The boat we were on took us to three locations and each one was better than the last. At one stop, we even saw a small shark. 

This summer will be just as exciting. I looking forward to getting to the East Coast. I think it will be interesting to live in dorms and explore the schools in a new place as well. My peers who have attended the Women and Leadership course before say that it is fun and informative. The other young women who will be taking the course with me are friendly and intelligent. I can't wait to get to know them better this summer.

Practice Blog

Have you ever heard of the famous Japanese kid’s game Fruit and Rice Ball?  In the book, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, there are many different examples of dehumanization shown to different people.  In my opinion, the people are being unfair and they shouldn’t be treated differently because we are all human and no one is perfect.  The characters in To Kill A Mockingbird are faced with dehumanization through religion, criminal accusations, and because of their skin color.
At Sushi House, Alameda

When you got to church, isn’t everyone usually treated the same way?  Well that’s not the case in To Kill A Mockingbird.  Some people weren’t allowed to worship in the same church.  “Lula stopped, but she said, ‘You ain’t got no business bringing white children here – they got their church, we got our own.  It is our church ain’t it, Miss Cal?’” (p.119)  When you go to a church, isn’t it just a church.  The same way a person is a person and god is god.  There is no difference between anyone.  Everyone was created equally so why should one man be able to stop another man from worshiping because he is different.  “I wants to know why you bringing white children to a n-word church.”  God made everyone.  You should not be able to discriminate against got.  Saying that the African Americans can’t worship in the church is saying that they aren’t good enough.  If god wanted to stop someone from believing and worshiping him then he would stop them himself, not give that right to a person.  When someone goes to god, it’s because they know they can be accepted.  No matter who they are or what they did.  The characters think they are so superior to god that they can stop god’s people from worshiping him.  This is unfair to every religion.  Not letting someone practice their religion implies that you are better than the other person and that they are not good enough compared to you.  It is considered dehumanization just as accusing an innocent for a crime he did not commit.

 Interact Crab Feed at Boys and Girls Club, El Sobrante
Who knew that falling for a person who doesn’t look the same as you was such a difficulty.  Mayella fell in love with Tom Robinson and now he is paying the price for his mistake.  “She was white, and she tempted a Negro.  She did something that in our society is unspeakable; she kissed a black man, not an old uncle but a strong young Negro man…” (p.204)  Because Mayella is white and Tom Robinson is black, it is forbidden for her to fall in love with him.  Instead of telling the society that Mayella wanted Tom, Mr. Ewell, Mayella’s father, beat her and said that Tom raped her so her name would not be tainted.  “’Tom Robinson’s a colored man, Jem.  No jury in the part of the world’s going to say ‘We think you’re guilty, but not very’ on a charge like that.’”  Even though Tom had evidence of his innocence, he is still convicted of rape.  In To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom is an innocent black man accused of raping a white girl name Mayella Ewell.  Although Tom hasn’t committed the crime, the people in his community still try to frame him.  A major part is because he is colored.

 Many people are discriminated against everyday because of the way they look.  In To Kill A Mockingbird, colored people are treated differently than the whites.  They are thought out to be bad in their community and are dehumanized by the whites.  “’I’ve asked this county for fifteen years to clean out than n-word nest down yonder, they’re dangerous to live around ‘sides devaluin’ my property—‘” (p.175)  In this quote, the white guy, Mr. Ewell, is dehumanizing the blacks by saying that they aren’t worth much in comparison to the whites.  They are so bad that the property they live on has decreased tremendously in value because they live on it and they’re black.  “’I heard her say ‘It’s time somebody’s taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves an’ the next thing they can do is marry us.’  Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home…’” (p.247)  Miss Gates, Scout’s teacher, was talking about the blacks like they were aliens.  She was disgusted by them.  At the end of the quote, Scout is comparing Miss Gates’ dislike for Hitler to Miss Gates’ behavior towards blacks.  Hitler doesn’t like the Jews and that’s why she hates Hitler but her behavior towards the African Americans are the same as Hitler’s toward the Jews.

Criminal accusations, religion, and skin color are some ways dehumanization is shown in To Kill A Mockingbird.  In the book, I believe that treating people with different values and opinions than you is unjust.  Tom Robinson as well as the other characters such as Jem and Scout are main targets of dehumanization.  They are viewed upon as unworthy and different.  The white people need to open up their eyes as Atticus has done and accept the African Americans as their equal.  If the whites continue to treat the colored like dirt then Karma will bite them in the butt, the blacks will get revenge on their own, or got will eventually punish them himself.

Should it Continue?

Everyone deserves the right to have equal chances. The District should keep operating childcare facilities for our teen mothers. By doing so, the mothers can still get an education, the money won’t go towards school supplies that will soon be vandalized, and their children need a proper place to be taken cared for. Keeping up the facilities will give the teen mothers more choices in life. These teens should have the same opportunities as those who don’t have children yet.

Sophomore "Winnie the Pooh" Float
The people of my generation will soon become the future leaders of this world. Therefore, everyone should be educated so they can perform at their best. Getting an education has many benefits. It opens up different life options like choosing to go to college, having a job, or neither. By spending the District’s money on the management, the teens have a higher chance to better out their lives. They will have the same courses as other students and they will be learning the same material. This is an “Each One Teach One” District, where nobody should be left behind. Giving the mothers a chance to learn will help them succeed in life.

School supplies can be a luxury. Discontinuing the childcare help means the money will be spent on new books, pencils, and paper. This sounds nice because schools get a chance to obtain new materials, but this can also backfire. Some students don’t appreciate what’s given to them so they destroy them. Soon, these objects will be broken, riped apart, and have graffiti all over it. Why should the District spend their money on something that doesn’t get appreciated and only disrespect? The teen mothers can still learn even if the materials aren’t “grade A”. The money should go towards people that will be grateful for its services.

Everyone needs to be cared for and nurtured one way or another. To have the childcare services running, the children will be looked after without their mothers having to worry. This gives them the opportunity to balance motherhood and school time. Once school is over, the mothers can pick up their kids and go home. A lot of stress will be taken out of them. The moms can focus on school and have a little “me” time in the afternoons, and during the evenings they can go back on mommy duty. Dropping their kids off to childcare doesn’t mean they’re being neglected by their mothers. They are being taken cared for by trusted people that the District knows. The babysitters might not be able to give each child the same love their mothers give them, but they do provide a safe environment.

When opportunities go knocking on the door, some people answer and some just leave it as is. To have the District operate childcare facilities for teen moms is very helpful. They will be given the chance to still go to school instead of staying home with their child. The money goes towards lending the mothers a hand and letting them live their life with better options. Reaching out to a stranger and showing we care is a sign of unification and cooperation.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Preparing for the Longest Two Months of My Life

Hey everyone!  I’m Nick Shebek and I’ll be heading out to Brown in less than two months to take a Macroeconomics course.  It’s normally pretty hard for me to think about things even a week in advance thanks to my busy junior year schedule, but I’m already at the point of wanting to hop on the plane to Providence as soon as possible.  I went to Cornell last year thanks to the ILC, so I was already excited about being lucky enough to go through this program again, but Tuesday’s potluck really made me understand that I’m actually going again!

I have always been a fan of food for those of you who read any of last year’s Cornell blog should probably have figured out, and Tuesday night didn’t disappoint.  More importantly however, (and you know it’s serious if it’s more important than food) I really got to know my chaperone for the entire Brown Session 1 trip: Ms. Kaplan.  I had met her briefly when a few former Cornellians met with this year’s group taking the Freedom and Justice Course, since she had chaperoned a previous Cornell cohort, and I already could tell that this summer would be another great experience just from the few minutes I was able to talk to her a few weeks ago. 

Ms. Kaplan has been involved with the ILC for the last few years, so she already has a great idea of what places to see, and countless tips on making our overall ILC experience fun.  After Ms. Kaplan and the Columbia chaperone, Ms. Lilhanand, finished their discussion on the overall workings of the ILC, The Cornell and Columbia cohorts split up so we could go over our itinerary and discuss other Brown specific items.  After hearing the plans for the first week and learning just how many colleges we will get to tour, I realized that this could be an even better experience than last year! 

Last year, since nothing is within approximately a couple light years of Ithaca, the Cornell group stopped in Chicago, which was fantastic, but we only were able to tour two schools, University of Chicago and Northwestern. While I did love Northwestern, my only regret about the program as a whole was that I wasn’t able to tour more schools. This year however, I’m getting to tour Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Yale, and MIT! I am somewhat apprehensive about having to wake up early for the tour of the colleges a ways away, but I think getting to see four of the best schools in the nation comes about as close as anything can to making up for losing a couple hours of sleep.  All in all, the potluck was yet another of the great ILC experiences I’ve had, and I’m getting more and more excited about this summer with every word I type

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Successful Potluck!

It was so much fun to really have a chance to meet all of "the kids" last night. Although I would still prefer to be able to host our group in my own house (which is currently very teeny so not possible), ECHS was kind enough to allow us to use all of their facilities. Now I really have images of each student in my mind -- and am very excited to be able to spend time with them. It almost seems like a moment from Lake Wobegon -- where all the children are above average. They are indeed, and every one of them  replied to me after the potluck last night.
Tayler and mom
Everybody getting started
David and mom
The first Brownies
Of course, the intelligence and responsiveness of the students should come as no surprise to me once I met the parents. It is such an honor to be able to escort their children.

Brown/Columbia Potluck I: Putting the Pieces Together

My mom and I arrived at El Cerrito High's front gates at 6:00 PM sharp for the Brown and Columbia potluck. I held onto my chow mein, trying my best to resist its aroma. We parked in the most convenient space we could find and saw Ms. Lilhanand (the Columbia chaperone) coming out of the car in front of us. She motioned for me to help her with some of the utensils and we walked over to Ms. Kaplan (one of the Brown chaperones.) 

After some brief introductions, Morvarid (one of the Columbia cohorts) came to join us. We continued onto the third floor towards Room 302 and set our food onto one of the black counters in the back.

Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Lilhanand
brought most of the utensils
Being the first ones to arrive, Morvarid and I helped to set up the chips, pasta, drinks, and utensils. After we were done, we sat down and listened as Ms. Lilhanand told us about her ILC experience as  chaperone. Ms. Kaplan had to run back home to get some papers that we had to fill later on in the night. Luckily, she only lived a few blocks away. 

By 6:30 PM everyone was settled and the black counter was filled with all sorts of different foods. The once plain, black counter was now loaded with variant colors and trays of all sizes. Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Lilhanand gave us permission to eat, and the counter quickly became very crowded with Brown/Columbia cohorts and their parents. There, I got acquainted to Ying-An, one of the Brown cohorts who would be taking the DNA: Biotechnology course. We ate for half an hour, and then, we got down to the serious stuff. 

Some of the food (more came later)

Ms.Kaplan (our chaperone)
Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Lilhanand called for our attention around 7:00 PM. They introduced themselves to us as we listened with clasped hands. Surprisingly, Ms. Kaplan used to be an Assistant Principal at Pinole Valley High School. Ms. Lilhanand used to teach math at El Cerrito for 20 years and later became the Assistant Principal of Hercules Middle/High School. Both dedicated most of their careers in the field of education and are currently retired. 

There was also Mr. Crosby, another Brown chaperone, who would be doing most of the driving during our ILC experience. They briefly talked to us about what to pack, the pricey dinners, and the crazy, humid weather we'd be experiencing down at Providence. Then, we separated into two groups. The Brown group stayed in Room 302 while Ms. Lilhanand and the Columbia group went into the room across from us. 

We then got more in depth towards the subjects mentioned earlier. Ms. Kaplan has a really good sense of humor. Earlier, she told me, "Most importantly, I just want to have fun." It really fits with her personality. I am very excited to have her as my chaperone during my time at Brown University. We talked some more about what the dinner (eg. where we'll eat, what to wear). She also told us how we would be going to be touring Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan, and MIT. Ms. Kaplan gave us all an assignment so that each of us do some research on one of the colleges so that we would know a little something about it before go there. Along with that, Mr. Crosby gave us some packing tips. We had some questions tossed around and before we knew it, we were done. We finished at exactly 8:00 PM. Ms. Kaplan insisted that we took our food back home. 

After tonight, I'm even more excited about what lies beyond the ILC doors that I've only begun to open. Each event signifies a checkpoint of my Ivy League journey that I'm yearning to begin. I can't wait to see what this amazing opportunity has in store for me. 

A Pivotal Potluck

Tonight I attended the Brown-I/ Columbia potluck. 

Upon arriving I was flooded with the smells of delicious food, warm smiles, and greetings from everyone who had arrived before me. After finding the perfect spot to put my dish of pasta salad on the table, I looked around and saw a few familiar faces I had seen at the tutorial in March. 

After almost everyone had arrived we all dived in on the delicious dishes that each member had brought. After half an hour of eating and socializing with my cohort members as well as those from the Columbia cohort, we got down to business. Our chaperones introduced themselves: Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Crosby for Brown and Ms. Lilhanand for Columbia. Ms. Kaplan was very enthusiastic and open. She told us her reasons for wanting to go to Brown and what she was looking forward to. Mr. Crosby gave us advice on what to pack and how to deal with the climate on the East Coast. Meeting the chaperones got me even more excited about the upcoming trip this summer (if that was at all possible).

After talking as a group for awhile we separated into our respective cohorts. We then focused more on things that applied to the individual groups like our schedule, our planned activities, and some things unique to the area we are visiting. 

They went into some details about our first week on the East Coast. We are going to be very busy, attending college tours and fancy dinners. Ms. Kaplan had emailed previous ILC members who had previously attended Brown and asked them questions she thought we would be interested in knowing. The emails contained information about places to eat, the weather, where to shop, and how much money we should bring for spending. The input from these emails were very helpful and answered many of my questions. 

At the end of the night Ms. Kaplan gave us all an assignment to research the different colleges we will be touring before we begin our class at Brown so we can be more prepared when we visit. Overall I felt that the potlock was very informative, but more importantly I enjoyed meeting everyone, especially those who will be going to Brown with me this summer. I can already tell that I am going to have one of the best experiences of my life this summer.