Monday, May 20, 2013

A Wholly New Experience

Last Wednesday night I attended an event the likes of which I had never experienced before.  It was a school board meeting!  Now that doesn’t sound as life changing as that first sentence seemed to set it up to be, but trust me it was a very new experience.  I got to see my school board in action, and it was the complete opposite of what I was expecting.  They always seemed to agree on all the issues, which for the most part, probably due to my less-than-unwavering attention, were fairly confusing.

It was interesting seeing people go up and present their cases to the Board.  They were timed, five minutes in closed session and two in open session.  This seemed an extremely small amount of time, especially given the gravity of the issues presented.  I actually was slightly confused as to one of these interactions, when a couple lawyers, representing a client, explained that they were filing a suit against the school board, citing constitutional rights, and that the ACLU backed them.  The suit was in response to a certain measure being passed, and the lawyers asked to delay the passing of the measure in order to find a better solution.  The odd part, for me, was that the Board seemed to consider the speakers for a few moments and then simply pass the measure.  I guess the legal sides of the decisions the Board makes are handled elsewhere.

I also had a fun time seeing all my friends who are in the program, as well as my chaperone.  Nate, the chaperone, talked to us about where we would be visiting and discussed a few places of interest for possible weekend excursions.  We will be visiting at least four colleges the first weekend for sure and we couldn’t come up with anything besides New York City for another possible field trip thing.

With each of these ILC events I feel that much closer to summer and the trip that summer brings and I get more and more excited.   I can’t wait to have the experience of a lifetime.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

School Board Meeting

This Wednesday, we went to Lavonya Dejean Middle School to attend the School Board meeting in our district. I did not write a blog about the meeting that day because I had just finished all six of my AP tests. All of my stress that had started accumulating since the beginning of the school year vanished that day and I did not want to do anything but relaxing.

The meeting was broadcast live on TV. It was the first time I've been present at an event broadcast live and I was always curious how people work together to broadcast an event on TV, so I was observing the technical part of the broadcast during the meeting (of course not to the extend that I stopped paying attention to the meeting). There were two cameramen using two huge cameras to shoot the meeting from different angles. They wore headsets probably to communicate about when to switch cameras. The cameras were connected to a TV screen set up in front of the Board members and it probably showed them the images that were broadcasting.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Board members talked about a program regarding expelled students. Some of them wanted the program to continue and some of them said that the budget for the program is not enough.

After the discussion, we, the ILCers presented ourselves to the School Board. The chaperones and one ILCer from each group gave a brief speech saying what they expect from going to the program and thanking all the contributors of the program.

After all the groups finished presenting themselves, we finally met our sponsors. Before I heard of the ILC program, I had never dreamed of visiting east coast colleges and experiencing college life since the cost would be too high for my family. These sponsors make my trip this summer possible -- they reduce the cost of the trip to almost zero. We applauded for the sponsors for quite a long time. In addition to that, I want to thank those sponsors again in this blog to thank them for giving us the opportunity to explore east coast colleges.

At the end, we had a group picture. Don took A LOT of pictures just to make sure everyone is smiling and not blinking. The picture he sent us that night looks beautiful.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Appearing Before the WCCUSD School Board

Yesterday, all thirty-eight members of the ILC attended the West Contra Costa Unified School District School Board meeting to be recognized for being accepted into the program. The venue was Lovonya Dejean Middle School in Richmond, which, despite being in a sketchy neighborhood, is a nice campus. Seeing nice schools around the district always makes me wonder why my school in Hercules is the plainest and most uninteresting.

The meeting started at around 18:30 with a few short speeches regarding the elimination of district programs for students who are expelled from their respective schools. Then, the meeting focused on introducing every ILC group. The chaperone and one student from each group made a brief but unique speech about what it means for them to be in the Ivy League Connections and how they plan to contribute back to the community.  Four alumni of the ILC, who all now attend an Ivy League school, were also at the meeting. Their speeches were all great and inspirational, but the Yale student's was the most captinating as it was full of passion and energy. And most importantly, we also acknowledged the sponsors of the ILC at the meeting, with a standing ovation. We really wouldn't be here without them.

After all the introductions and speeches, every ILC student and their parents gathered for a large group photo, concluding the meeting. This was yet another good experience with the ILC and got me even more excited for the summer. Only less than five more weeks until we head east!

In Front of the School Board

Today, everyone in the Ivy League Connection went to a meeting with the School Board at Lovonya Dejean Middle School. I had some small troubles with getting to the meeting and reaching the parking lot, but I still got to the meeting in time. When I got out of the car, I looked around at the school. It's actually very nice here! The facility looks very clean, like it's new. 

The meeting started around 6:30 PM. First, the Board went over simple opening procedures, like the Pledge of Allegiance. They then went over a proposal in switching control of a program from the school district to the county, though I didn't pay too close attention. Rather, I had some trouble paying attention; I found myself spacing out quite a bit.

I was happy, though, when my cohort was called up to be presented to the school board. I could stand up and somewhat get my blood flowing! The Brown cohort was divided into two groups: one for DNA/Macro, and another for Women and Leadership. Of course, I was with the first group, led by Nate Enfield. He had a very quick speech, followed by another one by one of my cohort members. This repeated for each cohort of the multiple schools in the Ivy League Connection. 

Once that was over with, the School Board spoke about the generous benefactors to the Ivy League Connection. At this point, we were nearing the conclusion for the part of the meeting in which we had to be around for. We all gathered up to take a picture; I decided to sit in the front, as I'm not exactly a tall person, haha. After that, we were pretty much released, and I went to talk to some of my friends in the ILC. I also took a random picture! 

Left to Right: Mike Vroom, Junhui Zhou, and me (Jia Cheng Lian)

A Day to Remember - WCCUSD School Board Meeting

Today was definitely a new experience at Lovonya DeJean Middle School. It was my first School Board Meeting. Yes, I was nervous, but soon it faded away as I got comfortable with the environment and I could no longer think of a reason to be nervous.

After getting through the first part of the meeting, it was turn for ILCers to take the stage and be introduced to the members of School Board and the community. Turn by turn, each of the chaperones introduced the cohorts and the program. One of the cohorts from each group gave a speech which was excellent; the speech from each of the cohorts came from their heart and they presented it beautifully!

After the introduction of ambassadors of ILC, we got opportunity to hear from past ILCers who are now, current students at Ivy League Schools. They were once in same place as us and now, they are at the top achieving their dreams. The part I really loved was during the end when Mr. Ramsey spoke. It made me realize that I was not just a high school student but an ambassador of Ivy League Connection. The speeches made were very motivating and encouraging. I can honestly say that this meeting has got me thinking about the action plan already.

 I am very thankful to benefactors, board members and Don who are the backbones of the program.

(Also, after reaching home, I opened my phone and logged into Facebook to check if there was something new, and my teacher had posted that she was watching Ivy League Students on TV ).  

Revelations and Other Inspirations at the WCCUSD School Board Meeting

This  evening my cohorts and I were gathered at Lovonya De Jean Middle School for a school board meeting. I managed  to gain a better insight of what it truly means to participate in the Ivy League Connection.
As my cohorts and I met with our chaperone Ms. Neal, I began to think about the chance I have to really do something amazing for my community. I felt as though I had a revelation and listening to all of the speakers express how proud they were of me made me feel complete. I can recall one of the speakers saying that all of our hard work has  paid off after all and that we must never forget where we come from. Crystal Tse, a member of the Brown II group, told me that I was her inspiration for her speech. She did such an outstanding  job and effectively conveyed all of  our overall goals and aspirations for when we travel to the east coast.

I was especially moved and captivated when Mr. Ramsey spoke, because he told all of us to be proud of where we come from and to continue on this path of success. I know that I can truly say that everyone in that room spoke with authority and passion which gives me hope for future Ivy League Connection members  to come. Mr. Ramsey also introduced a few of the exceptional students who were once  standing where we stood today. They spoke  to us about what we should expect when we leave this summer and gave us a few words of encouragement.

Austin Long was an Ivy League Connection member who has now utilized the connections that he made while he attended Yale last summer. He told us that we have nothing to fear, but it is us that should be feared, for we have so much potential beyond comprehension. I respect the fact that he wants us to be  resilient and  prove to all of the people that doubt our potential based on our address that we are not defined or restricted by our economical backgrounds. Instead we can use that as a reason persevere and succeed no matter how many obstacles are in our path blocking our road to success.

When all of the speakers made their closing statements we all gathered for a group photo. I hope that I can serve as an advocate for not only women, but all of the young people in my community in the future.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meeting and Public Speaking

Well, tonight was exhilarating. I got to meet all of the ILC members from each college program, give a speech, and see the School Board in action. Many of the other cohorts seemed like cool people, and it's a shame we can't all go to the same college.The board meeting prior to the ILC bit reminded me of congress or other political bodies. I was surprised to see that I didn't have to go far from my home to view some interesting politics  I hate to say it, but most of the early events were overshadowed by my itching speech apprehension.

Giving a speech really shouldn't be that hard. I like to imagine myself talking to my friend to help calm me down. None-the-less I continually seem to psyche myself out over seemingly simple tasks. As far as I could tell, my speech wasn't half bad. I spoke from the heart and kept it short and sweet, but I did feel nervous the whole time. Hopefully through more experience, (possibly in the ILC) public speaking won't be nearly so difficult for me.

Interestingly enough, the best speakers, in my opinion, were the ILC alumni that were invited to the meeting. Their manner of speaking was laid-back and smooth, without being too informal. Either they didn't feel pressure because they were out of the program, or they picked up skills while in the ILC. I'm hoping for the latter, in which case I can follow in their footsteps.

Overall, it was an informative night, and I look forward to what more the ILC has in store for me.

Just Add Water and Watch it Grow

When I discovered that I would be giving a speech at the WCCUSD School Board Meeting, an imaginary atomic bomb was released in my head.  We had to be at the meeting at 6:00 PM.  Before my speech, my head was swirling with what I was going to say. However, by the time I said my speech, I realized all of my anxiety was unnecessary. My other Ivy League colleagues gave wonderful and heartfelt speeches that added to my excitement for my trip to Brown. 

Shraddha and me with our ILC certificates
At the School Board Meeting, a few students who are alumni of the Ivy League Connection and have also been accepted into Ivy League schools, gave their personal testimonials about their experience as students at their university. It was truly invigorating to know that the idea of attending an Ivy League is not so far-fetched. With enough determination and hard work, you can bring your dream to full fruition.  During the meeting, we were able to acknowledge the benefactors of this program. I am grateful for the benevolence of the many organizations and businesses that help make the ILC possible. I intend to fulfill my aspirations and return the generosity that we have received. I am honored to be associated with a program that encourages the significance of giving back to our community.

After attending today’s meeting, I realized that together as a community, we can help our students achieve their desires and help them reach their full potential. A student’s achievement starts with the family, the school, and then the community.

We are like the seeds of the program. With our own perseverance and enough help, we can grow into what we hope to achieve. Words cannot express my gratitude for the benefactors and the time and commitment that the ILC supporters have demonstrated.

At a Middle School While in High School to Listen to College Students

I still had plenty of time to get to Lavonya DeJean Middle School when I finished today's piano lesson and dressed myself up for tonight's Board meeting. My mom had insisted that I wear my blue dress and red jacket even though I was thoroughly convinced that I would look like a senator (and I'm not changing that opinion, even though Elia's mom only ranked me a four on a scale of one to Sarah Palin). So it wasn't a huge surprise that we were early, pulling into the parking lot of the school at 5:39 despite being told to arrive around 6:00. 

We stood around in scattered clusters of people from different schools and programs until we were asked to take a seat. The first part of the Board meeting was just another meeting, but I saw it as an "adult" event, something official that you don't see at school. For me it was representative of the level of responsibility I would be expected to step up and take as a part of this program. 
One of our lovely speakers delivering her speech
 The speeches from the chaperones, the Board members, the past ILCers, and the present ILCers were each helpful and informative in their own way. From each speech I took away some idea of what I would be doing and what I would be expected to do, as well as who I would become.

Pictures were more of the same but with a much larger group, and as usual I didn't find it very difficult to stand still and smile.

This ILC event has helped me realize that everything that I do that has gotten me here is no longer a choice but an expectation, and this has only increased my longing to become a more mature and evolved person.

ILC Takes Over The School Board Meeting

This evening, I attended my very first School Board Meeting with my fellow Ivy League Connection cohorts. I arrived at Lovonya DeJean Middle School at 6:00 PM where I gathered with the Women and Leadership group, headed by our chaperone, Tiffani Neal. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the School Board Meeting, but I thought it was interesting to be “behind the scenes” and actually get to see how the School Board worked.

I enjoyed hearing the speeches of the chaperones, the selected ILC students, as well as the ILC alumni. Each selected ILC student speaker was able to perfectly sum up how thankful we are to have a district that whole-heartedly supports the education of students. Additionally, I was so inspired by the speeches made by ILC alumni who are current students at an Ivy League College. It’s amazing to see students with the same background as me who are now attending prestigious colleges. I hope that, someday, I am able to inspire young students in the district to pursue their dreams.

Towards the end of the meeting, Mr. Ramsey said something that stuck with me: as participants in the Ivy League Connection Program, we are ambassadors for our district. He helped me understand that the Ivy League Connection is helping to put the West Contra Costa Unified School District on the map, which is opening up doors for students in the district to go to a college of their choice. I’m so excited to be part of an organization that is not only helping me and my community right now, but will hopefully continue to help my community for a very long time. And, finally, I would like to thank everyone on the board, especially Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg, as well as Don Gosney and all the donors who help make the Ivy League Connection possible.

Board Meeting Basics

Tonight was the WCCUSD School Board Meeting, which members from every program from the ILC attended, and were introduced to the benefactors, and the School Board members.

When my group was called up, I was suddenly nervous. In addition to standing before the School Board, there was an entire audience full of people staring up at us, as well as videocameras filming our every move. It was a bit intimidating.

When our chaperone introduced us to the School Board, she mispronounced my last name (which I thought was hilarious), and then kept trying to pronounce it correctly, but eventually gave up and just said, "... Elia."

After the introductions, one of my Brown cohorts, Crystal, gave a beautiful speech on why she wanted to be a part of the ILC, and what she planned to do afterwards. It really inspired me to fulfill my Action Plan, and give back to my community.

After Crystal's speech, our chaperone told us to speak into the microphone and say our names, grades and schools. My heart stopped. I immediately thought, "Oh no! I have to say something!" As I approached the mic, I was incredibly anxious, hoping my voice wouldn't sound weird, and thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong. Once I actually said what I needed to say, which in reality was very simple (I'm Elia Chuaqui, and I'm a junior at El Cerrito High), I completely calmed down, and realized that if I had had to say something more, I actually could have.

After speeches and introductions of all the ILCers, chaperones, benefactors and board members, we went off to take a picture with Don. The picture took a little while to organize because there were so many people, but once everyone got settled in correctly, it went really smoothly (although I have a feeling I was doing a really fake smile in most of the photos).

After attending this School Board Meeting, I feel 10 thousand times more grateful than before, because I actually got to put faces to all of our generous benefactors. I am extremely excited to partake in this program this summer, and am incredibly thankful to have been given this opportunity.

Meeting at the School Board

Gratitude was definitely in the air tonight as the recipients of the scholarships (myself included) were presented to the founders and benefactors of the Ivy League Connection. One phrase that was used tonight to describe the program was "God sent". These two words demonstrate so eloquently the appreciation that the us participants of the Ivy League Connection have towards everyone who influences the program.

Having a brother who was a part of the ILC means that I always get an earful about the program, but hearing about it from other people tonight re-established my faith that this summer will truly be an amazing one. Amazing not only in the aspect that I'll get college exposure but also to see people who have done the program and now attend the schools that they once visited a few summers ago. This showed me that the Ivy League Connection opens doors that some may not even be aware are available to them and I am excited to see the doors that will be opened along my path. 

With excitement and anxiousness filling my body, I would like to extend a final thank you to all of those making this dream a reality for me.


Another night to be commemorated on this blog.

"Don't ever let someone tell you cannot do it, because you being here today is living proof that you can." - Charles Ramsey, ILC Supporter, 5/15/13

Today, I and my fellow Brown cohorts were formally introduced to the West Contra Costa Unified School District, along with all the other university groups of the Ivy League Connection. This night was full of thoughtful pieces of advice, moving testimonies, and joyous celebrations of our community.

We were introduced to the school board and the sponsors who make this dream program available. The knowledge and pride bestowed in this program was phenomenal. I must say that I received goose bump a few times throughout tonight; from my fellow peers' passionate words, to veteran participants' words of wisdom, this event was enchanting.

I suddenly became aware of how my dream to impact my community was already afloat and surpassing even my own abilities. My participation in this program is already inspiring others to do the same. I cannot contain myself in spreading the quality of opportunity within the ILC to everyone I meet.

This event has even furthered my excitement and anticipation of Brown University and all the wonderful things to come.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back to Basics

Today was another set of tutorials for the students of the ILC! This is the second set (the first was three weeks ago), and I chose to attend the final session, which was in the afternoon. It was held at my own school, De Anza High School. Since I came here on a Saturday, it felt rather odd to me, as did walking through the completely deserted hallway in the early afternoon, which is a normally busy time at my school.

When I arrived, I suddenly remembered that I had to bring my ID and my insurance information to be scanned. I panicked for a brief second, but thankfully, it wasn't too much of an issue. I already spoke to Don about why I couldn't get my ID quite yet, and I could just have my insurance information scanned when I have my ID ready.

For the first forty-five minutes, we were trying to deal with technical issues regarding connecting to the internet by using my school's internet. Eventually, most of us gave up on connecting with our laptops, so we ended up using the computers in the room, which connected fine.

From that point on, we listened to Don explain various things expected of us while we are in the Ivy League Connection, such as blogging, photography, punctuality, and responsibility. He also spoke about what we should bring when we are in the East Coast. Much of the information was rather obvious, but I won't easily dismiss what he says, since Don told us all of this to ensure we don't end up making mistakes! 

We had to make practice blogs to demonstrate our mastery of the formatting, and we also took a few photographs to practice posting them. 

Here we have some ILCers taking pictures of each other taking pictures!
Despite the technical difficulties at the beginning, today went by rather smoothly, and I will try my best not to invoke the wrath of Evil Don! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I Now Have Everything I Need

I now have everything I need for my foray into the perilous world of blogging for the ILC. 

At 1:00 PM today I entered a computer lab at De Anza High school, not exactly sure of what to expect from the tutorial I knew would be taking place.  I knew that it would be about blogging.  What I didn't know was that it was going to be all blogging, all the time.  Now I know.  I also know that all my thoughts are now to be expressed in Times font, in justified alignment, with only one line between separate paragraphs, and, of course, with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Coherency and intrigue are strongly recommended.

I am not, however, strongly recommended to, or even expected to, white-wash my thoughts and simply praise all the amazing people and places I have been and will be seeing.  I am expected to be honest.  That was the most important thing I got out of this tutorial.  After reading some Evil-Don-inducing blogs and discussing some Evil-Don-inducing past ILCers, a question was posed:  We aren't allowed to be vulgar and say inappropriate things; does that inappropriateness extend to negative opinions?  The answer pleased me.  That answer was no.  These blogs are supposed to represent us, and to give a fair portrayal of one's self, one must be honest (in my opinion anyways).

This in mind, I realized that I was actually excited when thinking about blogging at Brown.  Until that point, I hadn't really relished the idea of having, each day, to go and write about my day and how I felt on the internet, but for some reason or another, this reason most likely being the subject of the preceding paragraph, the concept seems to have changed in my mind.  Or rather it is the perception or reaction to the concept that has changed.  It doesn't really matter.  Something is different and now I'm more excited than ever to attend Brown this summer and experience this wonderful experience that my sister and so many of my friends have told me about for the past two years.  

A summary of how things went today and how I feel about blogging now!

Learning the Ropes

Today was the tutorial session for the ILC. I don't think I've encountered anything with so many rules and guidelines. However, considering how much money and time is being put into the program, I'm more than happy than to go through the trouble of following each and every one.

First of all, there are these blogs. We have to be careful with our writing, spelling, content, and organization. This makes sense, considering the wide range of people that will be visiting our blogs, including the college admissions officers for our specific colleges.

I was pleased to find out that these blogs are completely representative of us. The blogs aren't altered or influenced to match up with the ILC's opinions or beliefs; they are our personal conduit to express ourselves during the program. The ILC does not frown upon negative opinions of things, as long as they aren't inappropriate or vulgar in some way. We can post what we want to, as long as it's interesting and relevant. 

There are also multiple guidelines involving our trip in general. What to pack, what to wear, how to act, and time management were all explicitly covered in the tutorial. It's actually reassuring that we have all these rules because it reassures me that the ILC knows exactly what they're doing when they send us abroad. I have yet to encounter a rule that is illogical or superfluous, which is saying a lot considering how many there are. 

According to Don, some students were/are a little uncertain on the idea of blogging everyday. Although I'm not 100% behind the concept, I feel confident that I'll have plenty of experiences, opinions, and ideas from college that I'll be able to share.

Saturday's Tutorial

Hello Everyone. I am Shraddha Luitel. I am a junior at De Anza High School, and this summer I will be taking Women and Leadership at Brown University.
De Anza's Computer Lab

One important part of being ILCer is to learn how to blog, so this morning we met at De Anza High School for our blogging tutorial. I was quite happy that meeting location got changed to De Anza High School because I did not have to fear about getting lost. As instructed, I arrived to De Anza around 8:00 AM. Unfortunately, some technical difficulties arose and we could not start the tutorial right away. There was trouble logging in and connecting to the internet but Don was able to figure things out.

Don taught us the correct way to blog and we were also able to imply it and write a practice blog. After learning about blogger, we moved on to Photoshop  Even though I had used Photoshop before, I was not quite familiar with it. Don went over techniques that can be used to make photos better. We were also given a packing list. Since I have habit of over packing, I am worried if I will be able to pack under 50 pounds. 

The tutorial was very informative and I was able to learn many important things which I will be able to apply in future (I just applied one right now). I am looking forward to summer and excited to get a taste of college life. 

And Let There be Bloggers

We all met at my high school, De Anza, at 8:00 a.m. for the ILC tutorial on blogging and preparation for our trips to the Ivy Leagues. I have been tired since getting home late (around 11:45 p.m.) on Thursday evening after the ILC dinner and then getting up the next morning for school. Even though I have been tired, I look forward to these Ivy League appointments. I am grateful for what I have learned and for what I have experienced thus far.  
De Anza's computer lab 

Although the tutorial started at 8:00 a.m., we did not start until 8:30 due to technical issues with the computers. Don had to call an IT person to help him with the problem. I empathized with Don because we all know what it is like to have a computer problem and then have a tech person try to help you resolve the issue over the phone. Although we faced a few hurdles, we were able to have an effective tutorial-- thanks to Don. We were shown how to add photos and videos to our blog and what to expect while on the East Coast. Don also provided us with a clear and informative packet that can be used as a reference. It’s always good to get an overall idea of how things are done and what to expect.

Students taking photos for their blogs 
These Ivy League events are truly helpful. I become more experienced and confident each step of the way. Although it seems like a long time from now, my trip to Brown is just around the corner. Already, my experience with this program has been memorable. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

All Star Banquet at Town Hall

As our cohort's journey continues to progress, the pieces of this Ivy League Connection are becoming more transparent. From meeting our chaperon for the summer to meeting the original benefactor of the program, this night was filled with excitement and beckoned anticipation for my participation in the program this summer.

One purpose of the Ivy League Connection is to expose young adults to things that had they not been granted this scholarship, would have not experienced. And this is exactly what took place last night. I know that I would have never eaten at Town Hall, let alone had dinner with such influential people at Brown and in the world. I actually had the pleasure of having an amazing prerequisite to the class I will be taking this summer. At my table the alumni of Brown began to discuss real world macroeconomics and the applications there of.

But not all learning experiences are pleasant ones. I had the opportunity  to sit next to a man on BART  who did not see the need to keep his pit bull on a leash. Although there was no altercation, I did learn to try not to stray from the group too far when choosing my seat on public transportation.

In all, the mixture of a great atmosphere and great people created an unforgettable night that has me  anticipating the summer even more now.

Brown Dinner at Town Hall

Today, all the students with the Brown program and a few alumni and sponsors of the Ivy League Connection met at Town Hall in the financial district of San Francisco for dinner. All of the students traveled there together by BART, the Bay Area's subway, and walked from the Embarcadero to the restaurant. We were seated so that every table had at least one alum and no more than two students from the same school so that we would have a chance to meet and get acquainted with new people and possibly make new connections.

The dinner was opened with introductions of the alumni and students attending courses at Brown this summer. Two of the students each delivered a speech that provided intelligent personal insight regarding the purpose of the Ivy League Connection program. A few of the alumni also spoke and described his/her experiences of Brown University and gave some advice for prospect students. The main entree was served after the speeches and it was fabulous. There were three pieces of juicy, tender steak covered in red wine sauce accompanied by mashed potato and vegetables of the perfect texture and taste. I also conversed with my vice principal, who sat next to me, about college, career paths, standardized tests, and other academic-related topics during this time.

In addition to the great social and dining experience, the dinner at Town Hall was a great opportunity to get better acquainted with my cohorts, the alumni, and the sponsors of the Ivy League Connection. Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!

Brownies' Dinner at Town Hall

May 2, 2013: Dinner with all the Cohorts, Brown alumni and sponsors. It was finally the dinner night for Brownies! I had mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness. Since being punctual is one the main things for ILCers, my mother and I left home early and arrived at the El Cerrito BART Station right on time (I was worried if we could make it on time). We then joined Don and other cohorts whom we could recognize from afar because of the dress up. As a group, we all headed to catch BART to the Embarcadero station.

After getting off, we had to walk for few minutes to get to Town Hall Restaurant. On the way there, I talked to a few parents and got to know our (Women & Leadership) chaperone, Tiffani Neal.

At the restaurant, we were guided to a private dining room where each of us were assigned a seat. I was seated in a table with Peter, Corynn, Nancy, Don, Ludmyrna, Alice, Carson & his dad. I talked to Brown alumni about how the Brown University works (admission, scholarships, study-abroad programs etc). It was a good opportunity to get to know these alumni and learn about Brown University. I felt comfortable sitting around adults whom I barely knew but I tried my best to keep the conversation going. During the end, there were some interesting conversations going around the table.

Ms. Kronenberg asked all the cohorts to stand up and give an introduction. We did not just hear from cohorts, but also from alumni and sponsors. We heard speeches from Duncan, Alicia & Mr. Ramsey. Duncan and Alicia did a great job and it is not easy work to give speech.
Moving on to food, I found it delicious! Being a vegetarian is hard work and I often have problems getting vegetarian food outside. But I was happy that they had good vegetarian food. After Dinner, we took group pictures with alumni, cohorts and sponsors and I tried my best to give a good smile :D

While returning back, the BART train was pretty crowded and there was barely a seat to sit down but we made it back to El Cerrito Bart Station. Thanks to Ms. Kronenberg for dropping me home and giving me ideas about Action Plans. I am definitely looking forward to this summer and experiencing the college life at Brown University.