Friday, June 3, 2011

The ILC Orientation!

Thursday, the 2nd of June, was the ILC Orientation. It was kind of intimidating because I kept getting emails saying "if you get there even one second late, you're out of the program" so my mom and I arrived somewhat early. At least it was a "come as you are" dress situation. When we got to the El Cerrito HS library, we sat down at the table marked Brown Session 2. I got comfy, signed in, and chatted for a while until Mr. Ramsey started giving the "late speech".
Once everyone arrived, Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg gave their speeches, with a few giggles here and there. Then we went around and each group stood up with their chaperone. After a few more words, past ILCers were introduced, one of them being Kiana Ward, who attended the Women & Leadership program I'll be attending this summer. After a few words from them, Don Ellis spoke about a new website and program giving students in our district a chance to publish their work. And how could I forget the lovely overview of the upcoming weeks from Don Gosney! He went over the trip details and luggage issues from previous years to help us out.
Then we broke out into our groups and went into separate classrooms. Brown Session 2 went to room 206 (ah, my memory does not deceive me) where our chaperone, LaDonna Williams, passed out our schedule and itinerary. Very soon after, Mr. Ramsey came in to go over everything. We asked countless questions to Kiana and shared stories and laughs (and for some reason, several failing pens). And before I knew it, it was time to go back to the library. We sat down, had some closing remarks, and said goodnight to everyone.
It was a great and relaxed night to see everyone again. It wasn't formal and it was really among friends so it passed by really quickly. I didn't want it to end, mostly because I had to go home only to work on projects for Finals. But, all joking aside, it was truly an awesome night to have everyone together in one place and have everything done at once.

Orientation Precedes Eleven Days of Anticipation

We’re leaving for the East Coast in less than two weeks—eleven days to be exact—and our orientation yesterday set us on the right track. Every student in the Ivy League Connection program, along with at least one parent, attended the orientation at the El Cerrito High School library. My mother and I arrived about twenty minutes before we started, and I was surprised to see that many people were already there. No one was late; the first time ever, according to Mr. Ramsey. So we began promptly at 6:30.

Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg introduced each chaperone and group and called up four former ILC students who are now attending or will be attending an Ivy League school. Ms. Kronenberg also  reminded us about the strings attached to this “scholarship”, including blogging and attending all of our mandatory dinners and meetings. Don brought out a bunch of items that we could borrow for the trip, including laptop security cables, desk lamps, and surge protecting power strips (all of which I need, Don). Then we broke into our travel groups.

At our Brown Session #1 meeting, Ms. Larson covered the basics and went over our itinerary. The good part was that we have the privilege of visiting Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan, and MIT before our classes start and later Harvard with the second Brown group, and we get the chance to have fancy lunches and dinners with admissions officers and alumni from these schools. As a bonus, we get to drive around in an Escalade. Talk about riding in style. The only downside to everything is that we have to arrive at El Cerrito High on our departure day by at least 3:45 AM for our 4 AM shuttle. But I’m sure it’ll all be worth not sleeping that night. Our group also heard from Cynthia Fong, a sophomore at Brown. She shared with us her experiences in Providence, giving us tips to interact with other students and talk to our professors.

After we were finished with our group meetings, everyone gathered back in the library for closing notes and dismissal. The orientation was very informative and useful, especially because our group found out that we still had some forms to take care of. Now that everything is clear, I’m ready to head off! Eleven days can’t go by fast enough.


On June 2nd, Ivy League Connection met in the El Cerrito High School Library. I remember back in April thinking, "Oh this is all so distant. Those early May dinners aren't for so long. That orientation isn't even until school is almost out." At this orientation I really realized how soon our trips are! Brown Session 2 leaves on July 5th.

At the orientation we got the chance to see the groups other than the Brown groups, which was nice because it will be one of the few times we really all get to be together. We sat down at our tables after listening to a small lecture about the importance of punctuality and following orders as they are given (which is a good one for me to hear, considering I want to apply to the United States Military Academy). We were introduced to the other groups and their mentors.

After meeting in the library we split up into classrooms in our groups and we were very fortunate to be able to have a quick Q&A session with Kiana, a current student at Brown University, who has been in Ivy League Connection and took Women and Leadership. She was very confident and helpful, I feel that we got a solid idea of what to expect this summer. At around 8:20 PM we were dismissed and all went to home to think about what to post on our blogs!

This meeting has left me even more excited for our experience this summer and I am greatly looking forward to the trip.

Back to the Present: Orientation

June 2nd was the Ivy League Connection Orientation. It took place in the El Cerrito High School Library, where large tables were filled with prospective summer program members. I sat with the Brown Session I group, as we waited for the orientation to commence.

We each obtained an agenda for the evening, and the meeting began. We went over important dates, like when each program would be leaving and coming home. We discussed the extensive packing list, and were reminded not to exceed the 50 lb weight limit. That fact was beaten into our heads numerous times. We were also reminded of the sine quo non of laptop safety, the laptop security cord.

After the large-group discussion, we split up into our individual session groups to go over the itineraries. Our chaperone, Ms. Larson expressed her bona fide excitement to be driving an Escalade in the summer. We were all very excited, and resolved a small problem concerning the summer program application.

After we learned about all our college visits, we returned to the library to hear some final comments, packed up our stuff, and left for home.

The One Market Dinner, a recap.

I attended the Brown Dinner at One Market Restaurant. We traveled there via Bart, where I took a quick nap before the night began.

We started off the night by socializing with the other Brown students. The spacious restaurant impress me. While waiting for dinner, we chatted while drinking and eating appetizers. We were able to pose for Don as he captured a quick shot of the Brown group along with Brown alumni.

As dinner started, I noted to myself that I was with quite a friendly group of people. I sat at a table with Erin Miller, her mother, my father, and a Brown alumni. Fortunately, I didn't have to solicit conversation, the alumni was readily exchanging words back and forth.

We ordered our food, and listened to Andrew and Ava speak on the behalf of the Brown students. Many people were recognized, including future Brown students, Brown alumni, and other significant persons.

The event was very pleasant because we were able to familiarize ourselves with each other. The steak was good. The dark coffee was better, as my mind was still on the long night ahead of me before my AP Calculus test.

The School Board Meeting from a Distant Past

In order to present the students of the Ivy League to the community, we attended a school board meeting at LaVonya DeJean Middle School. As per Don's request, in addition to our own motivation, and slightly from the apprehension of possible consequences, we (the students) arrived punctually. We were able to socialize and reacquaint ourselves.
At the meeting, we were able to hear past alumni of the Ivy League Connection speak about their dreams and aspirations and how they had benefited from the program. It was all very interesting to listen to. Also, I was astounded by how systematically the school board operated. Everything was like a well-oiled machine. I liked it.
The individual groups were introduced one by one, starting with Brown Session I. It was nice to hear the chaperones say kind words about their students.
Afterward, we all assembled together for Don to capture his Ivy League Connection photo for the 2011 summer programs. Woe is me, my glasses always glare.

Blog Tutorial from Way Back When

The blog tutorial was an important event of my spring break. Fortunately it was a day with favorable weather, so after a brisk walk from my house to the Hercules Library, I went to the meeting room, got comfortable, and turned on my laptop.

Don promptly reared the session into gear by having the students introduce themselves to each other. Then, we went over how to blog; from choosing a font style to editing pictures. It was an extremely educational lesson/demonstration. Sadly, the internet connection at the library wasn't cooperating with us, but we managed somehow. Afterward, he succinctly described the importance and function of laptop security cables.

At the tutorial, I met some of the Brown Session II students for the first time. I was fortunate enough to meet Adrianne, Mariko, and a plethora of others (whose names escape me). When I got home, I immediately went to sleep. Why? Because they say you absorb more information as you sleep.
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