Friday, July 15, 2011

Going Out With A Big Bang

The time has come for our amazing adventure to end, and for us to return home. It may sound gengeric, but it's true. Today was bittersweet because I'm going to miss all the new friends I've made, the class, New York City, Columbia, and being independent. At the same time, I'm looking forward to being back in the Bay Area and sleeping in my own bed. This was truly an marvelous three weeks and I would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible and fun. First off, I would like to thank the administrators: Don, Mr. Ramsey, and Mrs. Kronenberg for volunteering to organize this program -- and doing a marvelous job. Next, I would like to thank all of the sponsors who through their generous donations send the best and brightest students from our district to tackle a new environment and learn bundles of information in amazing classes. What would happen to our cohort if we didn't have Mrs. L.? The answer is that we'd be totally clueless about what to do, where to go, and how to get around the city. For that, each and every member of our cohort is grateful that you were are chaperon. And finally, I would like to thank the members of the Columbia cohort, Beilul, Milani, Irene, and Will for making this trip fun, hanging out with me, and for going on our own excursions together. you guys rock!

Now, to why I my last day in New York was a bang. First off, yesterday afternoon Kate, my afternoon professor, handed back our papers and I received an A- on my first college level paper. This good news only prompted me to work even harder on my preparation for my debate. Overall I think our debate went well. The opposition refereced one case in particular several times, Gratz v. Bollinger. The case is very similar to the case we were debating because of the following:
1) It involved a white male claiming that the University of Michigan violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment
2) The university also used a 150 point scale to determine how good an applicant is.
3) The university also awarded points if one was a minority race.

Gratz wasn't admitted while so called equal or less qualified applicants were accepted. The key issue was whether the fact that Univerity of Michigan gave an automatic 20 points to minorities for their application was a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gratz. When the opposition brought up this case and why the judges (our professors) should vote against my team because the cases were almost exactly the same. In my closing statement I argued that the cases are similar, but there is one key difference. The University of Michigan awarded 20 points out of 150 points for race -- a very significant amount. In our case, the University of New York only awarded 3 out of 150 possible points to Lopez because of his race. The three points count for a mere 2% of the whole application -- a negligible amount. My team won by a vote of 2-1 and the judges explained that the key difference between the two cases was the fact that UNY only awarded three points for race. So, I was flying high and just relaxed for the rest of class and enjoyed the other two debates. In my opinion, class ended with a bang.

Since I haven't seen a Broadway show yet, I proposed earlier in the week that after class on Friday that our cohort rush a Broadway show. What rush means is that we go to a tickets office either at Seaport or at Times Square and wait in line for tickets to a Broadway show that are up to 50% off. After class, our cohort minus Irene, who wanted to go to the dance, hopped on the subway with Mrs. L. and headed to the less crowded Seaport box office. When we arrived we decided on Billy Elliot because of the amazing review Irene gave it and the fact that it won 10 Tony Awards. There was virtually no line, a stark comparison to Time Square's long line, and we were in an out.

Let's just say that the show was absolutely fantastic and amazing. The story is about a child, Billy Elliot, who's entire community works for a mining company. The company goes on strike and the relationship between union and government isn't thriving. During this time, Billy decides he wants to become a ballet dancer...something his brother and dad scorn him for. The young boy continues to follow his passion and be himself. This leads to Billy getting an audition for the Royal Ballet School, only to be forbidden to go by his father and brother. However, as the strike goes on for a year, Billy's father has a change of heart when he realizes that the strike is hopeless and that Billy has a chance to go big and leave this community. Together, the community raises enough money to send Billy to London for his audition, and is admitted to the school. The ending is bittersweet in that Billy will probably never come back home and see his family because they don't want him to be brought down by this hopeless community, but he now has the opportunity to become a star, and truly do what he loves. I loved the show, and I think I can say that I'm leaving New York with a big bang!

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