Earlier this evening, I attended the School Board meeting at LaVonya Dejean Middle School in Richmond, where all the ILC cohorts gathered together to receive recognition from the school board. Going through the front doors to the multi-purpose room, I couldn't help but notice the group photos of past Ivy League cohorts. Each year, a few selected students out of the whole district are chosen, and given the privilege to attend one of the most prestigious colleges in our country. And from the looks of the group photos, the size of these selected students grew. It suddenly struck me that I was part of this growing program; I was a part of something big. I've already been given a chance to present myself to my school and the city of Pinole, but tonight, I would be presented to all of WCCUSD.
I found a seat and got reunited with my Session I Brown cohorts (which would consist of the DNA Biotechnology and Macroeconomics course). Before we knew it, we were grouped up and given instructions for our presentation tonight. All the Session I Brown cohorts sat in one single row. We were going to be the first ones to be presented in front of the school board, followed by Brown Session II, Columbia, Cornell, UPenn, Vanderbilt, and Yale (in no specific order).
|Special Photo Credits to Ying-An|
The meeting began with the usual Pledge of Allegiance, attendance, and minutes from the previous meeting. After, a group of (shall we say) "silent protesters" approached the budget cuts towards the ESL programs for adults. The comments took up about a half hour of the meeting. Upon their leave, the Session I Brown cohorts and chaperones walked up towards the school board staff. We were sorted in a nifty row as Tayler Ward held up the Brown University flag. Ms. Kaplan gave a quick summary of our participation in the Ivy League Connection and called forth each and everyone one of us to the school board. When all was said and done, we walked off towards the left side of the room and each received a certificate of recognition. The other groups soon followed, with their chaperones each giving a short speech for their own individual program. Following, we had ILC alumni speakers (Austin Long and Terilyn Chen), and a special thanks from the ILC to its sponsors. After the speeches, Mr. Ramsey opened comments to the members of the school board. Each of them gave words of praise, encouragement, and reassurance.
Finally, Mr. Ramsey called for a 5 minute break so that we could get situated for our annual ILC group picture (like the ones I had seen when I entered the room) with all the parents, chaperones, and cohorts. After an extremely special game of rearrangement, Don finally got each of us in the most perfect of perfect spots. I sat in the very first row with Nick Shebek to my left and Leonard Eisen to my right. Don sent over more than a dozen flashing lights into our eyes. I'm sure all of us smiled the hardest tonight, because we all knew that the ship to our voyage had finally set sail. I cannot possibly wait for this summer to begin, and for me to spend it at none other than Brown University.