Friday, May 6, 2011

Gala Brown Dinner and School Board Meeting

On Tuesday night, eating some of the most sumptuous food I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, the Brown cohort met for the Brown alumni dinner at the One Market Restaurant. My fellow Brownies and I mingled with our parents, chaperones, Brown alumni, and ILC sponsors in a beautiful open room, sipping drinks (non-alcoholic for us students, of course) and sampling appetizers. After posing for several photographs with alumni, we drifted into the luxurious private dining room.

I had the pleasure of dining with Simon Hong, a Brown alumnus and head of the ILC Brown mentor program, Sarah Larson, chaperone for the first Brown group and a wonderfully capable counselor from El Cerrito High, my fellow Brownie Kathleen He and her mother, and my own mother, Cathy Chin.

I was pleased to get to know Kathleen a little better, as I had not had the chance to talk with her much before Tuesday night. I enjoyed her descriptions of Middle College and comparing and contrasting them with my knowledge of El Cerrito High. I also greatly appreciated Mr. Hong’s vivid descriptions of his days at Brown. He was happy to answer any questions we had about life on campus and offered good advice about college in general, and Brown in particular. He also gave us pointers about interesting places to visit during our stay in Providence this summer.

Throughout the dinner, we listened to several eloquent speakers, beginning with Ms. Kronenberg and ending with Mr. Ramsey. Ms. Kronenberg warmly welcomed us all to the dinner and gave a brief history of the program. Student speakers Andrew Gonzales and Ava Burnell thanked the sponsors, chaperones, and all others involved with the ILC for their support. Andrew urged us to vote for him as president in 2032, to the amusement and entertainment of all present. Mr. Ramsey ended the evening’s speeches with a profound quote by John D. Rockefeller. We concluded our dinner by thanking Dick Barker for his generous support of the ILC and offering our gratitude for graciously hosting our dinner. At the end of the evening I was left with a much greater appreciation and understanding of Brown, and I am eagerly anticipating my trip east this summer.

After the excitement of Tuesday night, it seemed ludicrous to think anything else would match the momentousness of the dinner. However, as I walked into the WCCUSD school board meeting on Wednesday, I realized that this was at least as incredible as the night before, if not more so. After a brief introduction by former El Cerrito High principal Mr. Rhea, each chaperone introduced their cohort and spoke about their summer program.

Scattered throughout these speeches were illustrious ILC alumni speakers who participated in the program last year. I was impressed by the poise and eloquence of Irene Rojas-Carroll, Guadalupe Morales, Austin Long, and other students. They each spoke about their personal experiences and offered advice about their respective programs to the current ILC students. They will be attending prestigious universities such as Brown and Cornell next fall, and all credited the Ivy League Connection as a key part of their success. I hope that I will learn as much this summer as they did last summer.

These past few days have been somewhat hectic for those of us in the Brown cohort. Looking back, though, I realize that I had a fantastic time at the Brown dinner and that the school board meeting on Wednesday helped me realize how much the Ivy League Connection means to the community and the students who have participated in the program. This week has been fun and extraordinarily educational.

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