As I got together with my Vandy cohort, the first point of the night came up. The purpose of the discussion was whether the School Board should close the Adult School. One by one, the brave English-learning speakers came up to express their opinion on the matter. I was especially moved by the little girl who made her own short speech. She reminded me a lot of my own little sister. In all honesty, this topic hits close to home. I know how hard it is for them to be disadvantaged this way. It is much harder to find a good job and keep your family happy and stable. Fortunately, my mother speaks and understands English very well, but I know that if she didn’t, things would have been so much harder on her and our family as a whole. In an ideal world, this problem would have all worked out, but I know that in difficult times like these, it does not. But one can still hope.
Right after this presentation, it was our turn to be showcased in front of the board. Once again, we all got introduced, this time starting from the multitude of Brownies to the future conquerors of our planet known as the Yalies. It was really refreshing to see all these students stand proudly before the board with huge smiles on their faces.
Once the introductions finished, a couple of student speakers came up to speak on behalf of the ILC. One of them, Austin Long, a rising sophomore at Yale, delivered a very passionate and powerful speech, demonstrating the overall prowess of the ILC and how it has changed the lives of so many young adults-including his. His speech was really one of the highlights of my night because it showed how every one of us in that room can be destined for greatness, even for someone like me, who comes from a very different back round than most of the people I will meet back east.
Another speaker, who will be going to the prestigious Harvard this year, also spoke about the opportunities and doors that the ILC has opened for her. She talked about the Harvard interview and how she was prepared for it by, “expecting the unexpected,” a skill she learned from the ILC. Apparently a skill that requires the knowledge of the Spongebob theme song. Nonetheless, I was proud to hear of all these students' achievements and what they have done for our district and community.
After our presentation, all the parents, ILCers, and chaperones were squished together to take the big ILC photo-or should I say 25 photos. I must say, smiling and trying not to blink during a seemingly never-ending photo shoot is not easy stuff. I am sure Don will not have a problem finding a few good photos of all of us.
Tonight has made me even more excited than I was before taking that huge step in representing my community as well as spreading my wings and showing the world what I have to offer. This night has been a magnificent experience for me and all of the ILCers. I hope all of us left that room tonight with a newfound confidence in ourselves and our abilities because in all honesty, I know all of us can make any dream we have a reality. We are all brilliant in our own way. We really are.