My journey to Vanderbilt has barely begun, and yet I am learning so much. The Ivy League Connection has exposed me to my community; it has removed the veil that once hid my eyes from my own district. This program has allowed me to grow more mature, and meet the people who preside over my hometown, but most importantly it has shown me the passion and ambition of the people in this community.
As a high school student, I am constantly surrounded by high school students who are complacent with their academic achievements. Naturally, I thought the majority of the people in this district ( despite a rare few) were satisfied with where they are and never wanted to improve. I thought that education was the last thing the people of WCCUSD cared about, that I and my peers were the only ones who cared about education and progress. Boy, was I wrong.
Today at LaVonya Dejean Middle School in Richmond, I attended my very first school board meeting. All the members of the Ivy League Connection were expected to show up and present themselves to the school board, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect for the evening. What surprised me, however, were the number of people who spoke on behalf of stopping the budget cuts on adult education. I was completely taken away with the passion in the words of the English learning speakers who stood up to give a speech in front of the board members. I respected their bravery; making a speech is nerve-racking enough, but I can't imagine having to give a speech in a tongue that is not your first language. I felt a lot closer to the people of this district than I ever did before.
After those speakers gave their speeches, Mr. Ramsey adjourned the meeting temporarily so that he could join the ILCer, their chaperones, and their parents for the annual ILC picture. After much maneuvering around, we stood there with big smiles plastered to our faces as Don snapped about 100 pictures of us ( okay, it was only 20, but it sure felt like 100).
It was a very pleasant evening that I enjoyed very much. As we drove back home from the meeting, I stared out my window at the flurry of cars passing by me on the freeway and got lost in a reverie. It suddenly hit me that there is really only a month left until I leave for Vanderbilt. A huge grin found its way upon my face as a little voice in my head said, " You're almost there."