Thursday, November 10, 2011

All hail the Brownies, take 2!

Who would've thought that Josephine, Rebecca, and myself would be back at Brown, three months after our wonderful Women and Leadership course ended? Well, at first I couldn't believe it, but then it was all finally happening. Right now I'm sitting in Hotel Providence, enjoying the view and this beautiful night. It's enchanting and nostalgic. I remember all the great times that I had during the summer, and even though I will only be in Providence for four days, one of them already finished with, I'm absolutely excited.

In September, the Leadership Institute invited all the Summer@Brown 2011 students to a three day Symposium on Social Action. Essentially, it is a continuation and check-up on our Action Plans. I applied and was ecstatic when I got my acceptance email in early October. Since then, it's been planning, planning, and more planning! The Ivy League Connection sponsored three of the Brownies to attend this Symposium, and I'd like to thank ILC for sponsoring us once again and truly believing that we were bringing something back to our communities and growing as people.

To update everyone, my Action Plan is to educate my high school about the achievement gap and do more college readiness workshops through Angaza, a club that promotes academic excellence and the importance of going to college. I am the president of Angaza, a position I hold very highly. My Action Plan has gone through bumps while I settled into my leadership role, but it is finally heading on the right path.

I awoke at three in the morning California time, reading to go to Symposium! ILC sent us out a day early, which I'm very grateful for. This way, we won't be completely exhausted when most people arrive on Friday. After my mother and I picked up Ms. Kronenberg, who will be our chaperone, we headed to El Cerrito High School, where we met up with Josephine and Rebecca. We were approached by a white stretch limo - ILC'ers go in style!
After a quick ride to the airport, Josephine and I checked in our bags (Rebecca and Ms. Kronenberg had carry-ons). After getting a "Starbucks breakfast", we boarded the plane to Las Vegas. After a half hour layover there, we boarded a plane to Providence!
And then, we were finally in Providence. Being back felt so relaxing and brought back so many memories. I absolutely loved the feeling I got when our plane landed. Even though it was raining, it felt like home.

After retrieving luggage and getting our rental car, the four of us traveled to Hotel Providence. Even the desk clerk remembered the four of us, which I find incredible. Madeline and I have our own hotel rooms and Josephine and Rebecca are sharing a room. I like having my own room; it's nice. The nicer thing is, it's next door to Josie and Rebecca's, so if I need anything, I don't have to travel too far to find it!

Finally, it came time for the special dinner: Ms. Kronenberg, Guy Sanchez, Elizabeth Hart, the three of us, anddddddd....Irene Rojas-Carroll, Cynthia Fong, Kiana Ward, Guadalupe Morales, and Elizabeth Gonzales! I was ecstatic to see all of them.

The dinner at Siena on Federal Hill was just great. I had a great meal and it was so good to talk to everybody, especially Irene. I consider Irene a mentor and we've had great times together; I can see how much she's grown since I last saw her in August. I had really good conversations with Kiana, Elizabeth, and 'Lupe about college choices, how they're doing at Brown, and essay prompts.
Tonight was an unforgettable night, and I am so excited for what's to come tomorrow!

Leadership Ladies Reunite!

Ahh, Rhode Island. How I’ve missed you.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go back to Brown for a second visit because I was chosen to attend the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Action. However, this trip will only last for 4 days, and it already saddens me to know that the first day is ending.

Today consisted of what seemed to be days of sitting on a plane. Adrianne, Rebecca, and I met with Ms. Kronenberg at El Cerrito High School at 4 in the morning, and to my surprise, our way of transportation to Oakland Airport was a white limo! It was a major upgrade from the crowded shuttle van that took us to the airport over the summer.

By 6:05, we were in flight and en route to Las Vegas, where we were to transfer on a plane that would take us directly to Providence. The Las Vegas casino-like airport played the nostalgic soundtrack of slots and coins falling into collection trays, the lovely noise I would always hear when my family and I went to Vegas every few months or so. We boarded the plane going to Providence and, if I’m not only speaking for myself, all fell asleep for a majority of the plane ride.

We arrived in Providence, Rhode Island at around 4:30 PM, and after dodging traffic, Hotel Providence at around 6:00. After settling in by emptying our luggage bags into the drawers, we got ready for a formal dinner with former WCCUSD students who attend Brown University, as well as Guy, an alumni, and Elizabeth, an admissions officer. Like always, the ILC kept its students well-fed and stuffed. I received valuable college advice from Guy and found out that Cynthia Fong and I have nearly identical food tastes! We left Siena, the restaurant, after gelato and a latte macchiato, and headed off back to Hotel Providence, the place we’ll be calling home for the next three days.

Symposium Day 1: Limos and Ventis

My day started at 2 AM, unlike over the summer where we didn't even go to sleep. I arrived first, like a true ILCer, at El Cerrito. About an hour later, our limo arrived to take us in style to the Oakland Airport. It was all smooth sailing from there, unlike last time when our group was new to the travel. I think since there was less people traveling this time around, things were less complicated and time consuming. We even had time to stop and get Starbucks, getting the largest size Venti.

Our plane took us to Las Vegas to our connector flight, taking us all the way to Providence. When we arrived, the weather was on the wet side. Although it was raining, it was just the right temperature to be comfortable and the humidity was non-existent- just like California.

We had no problems getting to the hotel or checking in, so we got to our rooms and settled in. Josie and I put all of our stuff in the drawers and completely moved in. Then we got dressed to go to the dinner. There, we reunited with guests from previous dinners, creating an accumulative meal; as if everyone from last summer was put into one dinner for a kind of "summary dinner". On top of all those familiar faces, we got to meet several Brownies. We talked endlessly about classes, college life, and the Ivy League Connection.

We sadly concluded and got a ride home with Elizabeth. It was truly wonderful to see everyone again but four days is not enough!

"Women & Leadership women deserve limos and ventis" -Madeline Kronenberg
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