Sunday morning greeted me with unusual excitement. It's not every Sunday that I look forward to a country club brunch and excellent company. I stepped out of the car and into the bright sunlit El Cerrito Plaza, in a flash aware how different this morning was from my usual Sunday routine of sweatpants, sleeping in, and homework.
It was a pleasant reunion as we waited, and I enjoyed catching up with my Brown cohort and Ms. Kaplan. Plus the car ride over, that was all the time we had for chit chat, for upon arrival at the Olympic Club, I was in silent awe at the spectacular venue featuring sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay hills and the course that hosted the U.S. Open below. As Mr. Izzy Ramsey graciously treated us to a tour, I was reminded of the time we visited the Bellevue Mansions in Newport. The ILC has terrific taste!
As always, the best part wasn't even the Olympic Club or the delicious food, but the conversations we had with admirably helpful alums. I'm continually surprised by how willing these special people are to reach out to and share with us high school students. Because I had such an amazing experience this summer at Brown, I chose a seat between sisters Lauren and Corynn Brodsky, both alums of Brown and El Cerrito High.
On the off chance, Lauren had applied to Brown and it turned out to be a wonderful fit for her. It was like we shared a common language as we gushed about Thayer Street eateries, Providence offerings, frisbee, the empowering teaching style of the science department, the welcoming air of collaboration, and the eerie cult-like music of Waterfire. Corynn had had the benefit of her sister's experience and guidance when learning about and applying to Brown. Still, they both professed how they wished such profound opportunities to get acquainted with schools and mentors as offered by the ILC, had been available during their tenure in high school.
In Lauren's year, she was the only one departing for an East Coast school; little information about prestigious schools like Brown was accessible. Since the ILC, a revolution of awareness has ignited. This past year my own Hercules High had three acceptances to Brown, and many more talented students of our district, the likes of ILC alums Guadalupe Morales and Andrew Gonzalez, are attending their dream school.
Getting to know Lauren and Corynn and the other alums was more than the beginning to a splendid mentor relationship that I had hoped it to be; it reinforced once again the value of all the ILC does for us and our community. I have the Ivy League Connection to personally thank for igniting my interests and continuing to shape my guidance. This means my heart goes out to Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenburg, Don, everyone who supports futures with this program, and of course, Mr. Izzy Ramsey for making the mentor brunch possible.