Friday, June 29, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

June has been a month of graduations for my family!  My youngest brother graduated from St. Helena Catholic School (8th grade), another brother graduated from Vintage High School, and I graduated from CSU, East Bay with my Master’s Degree  in Educational Leadership! I finally completed and submitted my inquiry portfolio (145 pages!) along with my leadership reflection (another 19 pages), so I now have some time to catch up on blogging.  I am part of the Brown Cohort II: Women and Leadership.  We have a great group of girls preparing to depart for Brown University next week.  I have had the opportunity to meet with the girls and their parents on several occasions.  Our first meeting was a casual, informal potluck where we all got to know each other a bit better.  The atmosphere of the potluck was laid-back, cordial, and sociable.  I engaged in pleasant conversations with parents, students, and chaperones while enjoying an assortment of delicious foods brought by each participant. 

Me with my fianc√©, Marcus Sams, at my Commencement Ceremony 

I was enormously impressed by the Ivy League Connection student participants at the Pinole City Council meeting.  I was especially struck by the speaking abilities, maturity, depth and caliber of each student.  We truly have an amazing group of young people who are passionate about their educations and extremely articulate and confident.     

We met with all of the ILCers and parents at the May School Board Meeting.  Here we introduced each ILC program and their students.  After introducing the students, chaperones, and schools, the sponsors were acknowledged and thanked for their continued support.  Lastly, we took our group photo- which turned out very well, if I do say so myself!

The Brown dinner was a momentous event hosted at the critically acclaimed Boulevard restaurant in San Francisco.  This was a large, formal affair.  Here I had the opportunity to meet the students from the other Brown cohort as well as Brown alumni and our generous donors.  I was seated between two charming gentlemen, one the owner of a publishing company in Kensington and the other an architect.  We feasted on a superb three-course meal while enjoying engaging and stimulating conversations.  The architect actually built a portion of St. Helena High School, which is where I had my first teaching assignment.  I am originally from Napa, and St. Helena is in the Napa Valley, so naturally the topic of Napa brought up anecdotes of wine tasting excursions and favorite locations.  The owner of the publishing company is U.C. Berkeley alum with a degree in English and is the father of five daughters around my age.  I, too, have a degree in English as well as Dramatic Art.  Coincidentally, I also have seven brothers and sisters, so I am not a stranger to the concept of a large family!   We enjoyed delightful exchanges regarding literature, theatre, and family.  The conversation flowed as freely as the wine and led to a wonderful evening out.  I was touched by the generosity of our donors and the poise and charisma of each student participant.

My final encounter with the ILCers took place at our orientation.  Here we went over final logistics, packing lists, loaner items, ILC protocols, rules, procedures, and expectations for the upcoming trips.  The meeting was efficient and served its purpose of orienting all participants for what lies ahead.  I am now preparing to embark on our adventures on the East Coast with the amazing and talented students of the WCCUSD.  

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