These past couple of weeks has been an incredible journey for me, and now that my trip back east is coming ever closer, I find myself becoming more and more excited by the day.
This evening, I went to my former school, Pinole Middle, for the final ILC event before we leave for Vanderbilt: the orientation. The orientation was replete with a whole lot of helpful information regarding our departure times, and even items to take in our luggage. Even though there are many things we need to take on our trip, Don is there to help us out by loaning some of these items out. I am extremely grateful for this because I certainly do not want to go buy all of these items myself. Don really goes out of his way to help us all, and I cannot give enough thanks for his part in the ILC.
This orientation also reminded me how important we are to our district. In fact, WE are the sole representatives of our community and we must set a high example for everyone to see. When we go to Nashville, we will be meeting not only kids from across the United States, but also the whole world. This is great for me because I am a naturally inquisitive person, and will probably ask a whole lot of questions about these foreigners, whether they are from the U.S. or not.
Madeline Kronenberg also reminded all of us of how important our part is when we come back. This is not only supposed to benefit you, but also everyone else in your community. This scholarship is not like any ordinary scholarship as well. It is not just a prize; it is a job, a job that must be carried out with hard work, diligence, and ambition. As Ms. Kronenberg said, “Take this opportunity and remember that it is also for the 25,000 people that did not get to go.” In the end, the ILC is all about how we represent and give back to our community, with as much spirit you can possibly give.
After these couple of speeches, we all went to a room with our respective cohorts. There, the Vandy chaperone, Mr. Mannix gave us a plan of the 3 weeks of our trip. As I was reading the schedule, I realized how crazy it was, I mean we have a dinner the night we arrive! Still, that is exactly what makes our trip so exciting; we will never have a dull moment of doing nothing. We will always be planning, working, and having fun.
Speaking of fun, we also have a “day off” on July 4, in Washington D.C, where we can spend the day doing whatever we want. I can’t wait to see the astounding fireworks in the birthplace of America. I know this day will be one of the most unique. As we were talking about the Washington D.C., all of us joked about seeing the President of the United States there, since he might be in the area for the celebration. I personally think that talking to him can be an incredible opportunity not only for us, but also for the ILC because we can get the chance to tell him about us and this exceptional program. This is of course, wishful thinking, however it does not mean it is totally impossible.
By the end of the orientation I was feeling happier than ever. In a matter of weeks, I will be on my way to a whole new place. A place where I can learn about myself and my potential. Our real journey has begun and it is time to take off those training wheels and set us all free. This is our time, and we need to make the most of it. Thank you Mr. Ramsey, Don, Ms. Kronenberg, and chaperones for guiding us every step of the way. I know we will make you proud.