The Ivy League Connection orientation took place on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at the El Cerrito High School library. I had mixed feelings leading up to the event. On the one hand I felt anxious because I knew that I had missed so much more than all of my cohorts. I was also feared that a two hour meeting would only add to the stress of finals week. On the other hand, I was extremely excited to go to my first event with the entire Ivy League Connection, including the parents, chaperones and administrators. We were also joined by former Ivy League Connection participants who are currently attending Ivy League Schools. This was extremely inspirational to hear about the successful outcome of the program.
Everybody showed up on time or early (most likely because of the threats that we would be kicked out of the program if we were “one second late”), which was good because it meant that we were able to start right at 6:30. My initial worries about having missed information at the previous events were put to rest after Madeline Kronenberg and Charles Ramsey’s thorough information session. Madeline Kronenberg emphasized that although this scholarship opportunity was a great gift, it was not a gift without strings attached. Some of those “strings” included blogging and giving back to the program and to the community upon return. Mr. Ramsey also emphasized the uniqueness of the Ivy League Connection experience, especially the amount of support we receive compared to others attending the Ivy League summer schools.
The guests made the meeting truly special and inspiring. The first guest was Don Ellis, a publisher who joined with Charles Ramsey to create the domain for the “Ivy League Connection Press”, which will publish the poetry and writings of selected Ivy League Connection participants. This was extremely impressive and exciting, considering that many adult writers never have the opportunity to become published. The other guests were former Ivy League Connection participants who are currently attending Ivy League schools. Two of them, Cynthia Fong and Kianna Ward, also went to El Cerrito High School, attended ILC programs at Brown, and now are students at Brown as well. Kianna also did the Women and Leadership program, so she came with the Brown II group when we went into our breakout groups.
In our breakout groups, Ladonna Williams (our chaperone) and Charles Ramsey (who will be accompanying us in the first five days of our trip) went over the itinerary. Within our first five days, we will be attending four dinners and two lunches with admissions officers, alumni, and the head of the leadership institute at Brown, and the Women and Leadership teacher, Lisa Takesue. We will also be going to information sessions and tours at Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Wellesley, and Harvard. Though some of the girls seemed intimidated with such a packed schedule in our first five days, I was thrilled. Hopefully I will be just as thrilled by the end of that fifth day…
We then had all of our questions answered by Kianna Ward. She told us about Harkness House, which is the dorm we will be living in, and what items that the dorm rooms may not provide. She talked about the best places to eat in Providence, and what things we should make sure to see. She also mentioned the East Bay Bike path; I hope to be able to rent a bike when I get there so that I can get around Providence more easily in my free time. Finally she talked about the class itself. Kisa Takesue, our teacher, is not actually a professor but the dean of student activities. She said that the main objectives of the class are for us to become comfortable speaking in front of a group, and also to create a “capstone project” which is an opportunity to utilize the leadership skills that we acquired to give back to our communities.
Overall the meeting was a success. It was extremely informative and inspirational. I learned more about what the program was offering, and how I need to give back. Now it’s a matter of counting down the days.