Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Milestone #2: The WCCUSD School Board Meeting

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the WCCUSD School Board meeting where the efforts of everyone involved in the ILC from the chaperones to the students to the ILC administrators (Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenburg, and Don) to the donors were recognized. The meeting started with the usual procedures of the pledge of allegiance and role call, but we were soon on to our agenda item: Recognition of the WCCUSD Ivy League Connection Program.

Each of the cohorts (Brown I, Brown II, Columbia, Cornell, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Yale) came before the board to speak. The students in the cohort held the flag of the school they will be attending this summer. First the chaperone spoke to the Board introducing the students, explaining what colleges we would be touring this summer, and what courses we will be taking. Then one member from each cohort (for the Vanderbilt cohort it was Kimberly) got to speak about what they (and the rest of the cohort) hope to get out of this experience.

After going through all the cohorts, four ILC alumni who are currently attending Ivy League colleges spoke to us about what a great experience the ILC is, and how it prepares you for getting into the college. Each speaker was very passionate about their Ivy League school, and the ILC. They made some very good points, including the fact that by participating in the ILC, you can meet the admissions officers at your school to find out how to maximize your chances of being accepted as a college student later on.

Next, Board Members as well as Don spoke about what an outstanding opportunity this program is. They even brought up how some people they talked to thought this program would fail. That is clearly not the case. Last year, 10 people from Pinole Valley participated in the ILC. I would not have been nearly as motivated as I am to be part of this program if they had not shared their wonderful experience with me. This program definitely works!

Next, the very generous benefactors were recognized for their contributions that make this program possible. A couple of them spoke about how much they enjoy working with this program and watching us grow into young adults. I always wondered where the money for these programs came from, but now I know: Lots of the donors are unions and firms that were hired to rebuild schools in our district. As there way of saying thank you for the projects, they donate money to the ILC.

Two hours after the start of the meeting, the ILC portion of the agenda came to a close with a group picture of all the ILC students, chaperones, and parents. (Yep, you guessed it: Don wasn’t in the picture because he was taking 25 shots hoping to get a good photo to start editing.)

Overall, it was an interesting experience getting to see all the ILCers and their chaperones and families, as well as seeing what the Board Members and the community have the say about this outstanding program.

I’m now one step closer to Vanderbilt. The next milestone is appearing at the Pinole City Council Meeting in a week. With each milestone event, my Vanderbilt journey gets closer, and I get more excited about this trip!!

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