Recognition. That is the word that best describes the Ivy League Connection’s presentation to the West Contra Costa Unified School Board this evening. Recognition of the academic achievements of the ILC students of the Summer Class of 2011; of the sponsors who continue to donate the significant amounts of funding that make our trips possible; of the amazing staff in WCCUSD that includes all the wonderful teachers, counselors, administrators and especially the chaperones who help guide their students by urging us to broaden our horizons; and, last but certainly not least, recognition of the growing impact of the ILC throughout the entire district.
The goal of the Ivy League Connection is to create a college going culture in WCCUSD and open students’ eyes to the vast array of colleges and universities outside of California. And, based on the speeches I heard tonight, I believe this is exactly what the ILC does. All the ILC alums that gave speeches regarding where they chose to matriculate attested to the profound influence their experiences with the ILC had on their decision. Irene, Guadalupe, Austin, Beulah and Yueming all emphasized the impact their ILC experiences had on their education and the confidence it instilled in them.
I recall attending the School Board meeting last year and listening to the musings of previous ILC students as they discussed their decisions to attend Ivy League institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. I was so impressed. It is one thing to spend a few weeks enrolled in a summer course amongst other high school students, but to actually be admitted and enroll in one of these institutions is something completely different.
However, this year was a bit different. Not because the students were any less impressive, but because I remember seeing them in the audience last year, as I was. It made me realize they are just like us and their stories were particularly interesting to me because of how accessible they seem. These students sat exactly where we did today and have now been transformed into poised, eloquent and confident high school seniors bidding farewell to high school and welcoming the next chapter of their lives: college. And in one year, it will be members of the current ILC cohort that will attend the School Board meeting to discuss their college decisions.
The School Board meeting was a wonderful way to say “Thank You” to all the people who make the ILC possible. In less than two months, we will be heading off for the adventure of a lifetime and I assure all the sponsors, ILC administrators and School Board members, I have every intention of representing WCCUSD to the best of my ability.