Tonight was another memorable night. I, along with all ILC ambassadors, their parents, our chaperones, and sponsors, attended the WCCUSD School Board meeting at LaVonya Dejean Middle School. We all patiently waited in our seats to be recognized by the school board. Each cohort: Brown, Cornell, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and of course the "Ivy League of the South," Vanderbilt was called, and presented to the school board by their chaperone(s). It was another great honor for all of us to be acknowledged for the hard work we put in, passing the interview stage, and standing in front of our whole community, proudly representing the investment they have put in us. It was with great joy that we each received awards from the school board, distributed by an ILC alumni, Terilyn, who is also an upcoming freshman in Harvard.
It was amazing to hear the ILC alumni speak, showing their gratitude to the Ivy League Connection program. I had another chance to listen to the exceptional speaker, Austin Long, who confidently put his faith in us, ILC ambassadors, as we begin a new journey, competing against other bright, intelligent students, and rising to be the best of the best. His words of encouragement has pushed me to reach over and beyond my potential. He is a clear example that the ILC program does work. Upon arriving from his summer program on the East Coast, he took what he learned and put it into action, forming a science club at his own high school. He is also a rising sophomore of Yale University.
Terilyn is also one of the many examples that the ILC is producing actual Ivy League students. When she studied Hotel Management at Cornell last year, the one thing she learned was to "expect the unexpected." She carried this lesson to her Harvard interview, and it is one of the reasons why she will be attending the prestigious school next fall. During her interview, they didn't just ask her about her academics and extracurriculars, but their conversation led to the topic of Spongebob and The Hunger Games. Who would have thought these things would be brought up in a college interview? Nonetheless, she used the skill of expecting the unexpected, and now she is moving on as an ILC alumni to do greater things.
In addition, we were all praised by the school board, with their assurance in us, that we will all someday take on a big responsibility in the world. A great feeling ran inside me, as the school board put amazing faith in us, to go to the other side of the country, and show that we can do just as well as those who come from richer backgrounds. This whole program would not have been possible without the generosity of the sponsors who are giving back to the community and investing in the future. I cannot express how thankful I am for them, and to Mr.Ramsey, Ms.Kronenberg, and Don Gosney, for putting this one and only program in the country, together.
We of course finished off the night with a large picture of this year's Ivy League Connection ambassadors, along with their parents and chaperones. With over 100 people in one picture, I don't blame Don for taking 24 pictures, maybe even more. I left the meeting with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and happiness, knowing how confident our community has for us to do great things. We can do it! Yes, we can!