Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Night of Self-Worth and Praise

I've never been to a Pinole City Council Meeting. Perhaps even worse to say, I've never even been inside City Hall for the sixteen years I have lived in Pinole. But Wednesday night, I finally had the chance to visit. 

Seeing so many of the Pinole students--not just my classmates, but my friends--who are apart of the Ivy League Connection, brought me excitement and happiness for everyone who's got in to their school for the summer. In fact, Pinole will be representing each school this summer: UPenn, Columbia, Brown, Yale, and of course, Vanderbilt. The only school a Pinole student didn't get into is Cornell, which isn't a district-wide program. The fact that Pinole has accomplished this gives me great pride, and I feel honored to be a student of Pinole Valley High School. This accomplishment has made me realize Pinole has so many opportunities--academically and non-academically--that other schools in the district may not have. It's made me realize that going to a school that may seem disadvantaged to other high schools is actually at an advantage to these schools. And I'm proud to be an ambassador for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Keeping up with the positivity of this post, I can honestly say everything went fairly well. From start to finish, we were praised--something that rarely happens for me--by the City Council, parents, administrators, and others for our hard-work into getting into the colleges we applied for. It felt great to be treated so highly of, just like the fancy dinner at One Market. However, unlike the dinner, the atmosphere was less pressuring and more layed-back, which helped me to feel much more comfortable and just "chill" with my fellow ILCers. All of the ILCers even got to receive a Pinole Valley High School '12 medal (given from the mayor!) for just being a participant in the program.

Overall, it was just a great night to show-off the ILC ambassadors of Pinole for 2012, and inform the Council that Pinole is on the radar, and we're accomplishing amazing things in this program. We gave the Council assurance that we would come back and share with our community all of the amazing things that we'll discover in the East Coast and Nashville, Tennessee. The City Council seemed very proud of us all-in-all, and their feedback to the "young adults" (current ILCers) at the end of all of the speeches by past ILCers who are now attending an Ivy League school, the ILCers this year, and the ILC administrators and chaperones made me only feel even greater honor--that being in this program is much more than worth it.

Meeting The Mayor

This evening, my fellow Ivy League Connection ambassadors and I had the honor of meeting the mayor of Pinole as well as several prominent members of the city council. We were given custom made metals as a reward for our hard work and perseverance, and we even delivered speeches to the city council members. It was yet another memorable night that made me realize that I am part of a truly great program.

ILC ambassadors receiving metal from Ms. Khan and the mayor of Pinole. 

I have never been inside the Pinole City Hall. I have passed by it several times on my way to the post office, but I have never actually stepped foot in the building until this evening. Some of us arrived earlier than the council members, so we waited in the hall until more people arrived. When the doors of the council chambers opened, we all scurried in and waited for more people to arrive. The chamber itself was nothing too extravagant; the
walls were simply painted, with no pictures hanging on them. The only decorations were the three flags standing limply behind a podium that was shoved to the left-hand corner of the room, and a few T.V. screens suspended from the walls. Several rows of seats spanned the medium sized room and faced the desk of the city council members.  There were several rows of seats facing the desk of the council members.

We took our seats and the meeting began. The council members went over the agenda, but then adjourned the meeting to discuss things amongst themselves. After they had returned, several people related to the ILC made speeches. Ms. Khan gave a particularly touching speech and gave us an unexpected present: custom made metals to rewards us on all our hard work.

After listening to several speeches and posing for a multitude of photos, my turn at the podium finally arrived. I had practiced my speech several times before, but to no avail for I as soon as I stood before the council members, I forgot everything. I could recall only certain fragments of my speech, but I grabbed at whatever words floated into my mind my spoke them. I must have done better than I thought though because the council members complimented all of the Ivy League ambassadors on our public speaking skills.

This is only the second ILC event I have attended, but it has helped to boost my self-confidence. It felt so sublime being praised but such prominent figures in society. It was the first time in my life that I actually felt proud of myself.

Future leaders of the world.