I arrived to Lovonya Dejean Middle School located in Richmond, Ca for the long awaited School Board meeting 30 minutes early. Every one of my fellow ILCers were expected to be there and I was super nervous. I have already met the majority of everyone who have been accepted into the Ivy League Connection during the tutorial day we had weeks ago at De Anza High School, but this event seems so much more legitimate and intimidating. Today was our first real introduction to our community as the 2015 Ivy League Connection group. It is not only intimidating that we are presenting in front of the School Board, but its is downright frightening that we will be televised as well!
Even though I arrived early to the meeting I saw a lot of familiar faces right away. I felt quite shy and awkward to go up to anyone and say hello. I sat away from the growing group of ILCers with my mom and tried to calm my nerves. Around 15 minutes later I felt confident enough to leave the comfort of my mother’s presence to finally meet my Columbia cohort and chaperone officially. Our chaperone Joyce Thrift introduced herself to Deborah, Mark, Alyanna, Izabel, and I and told us about all the fun we were going to have in New York this coming summer. I immediately began to warm up to her and my cohort and the more we talked the more I found myself wondering what I had been so nervous about before. Joyce also gave us our official Ivy League Connection certificates.
|Ivy League Connection Certificate|
In the middle of our conversation we were called over to take our seats because the meeting was starting. Joyce gave us a quick rundown on how we were going to stand when it was our turn to go up to the podium and also made sure she knew how to pronounce each of our names correctly. We were told to sit in the front of the auditorium because we were the first cohort to present. At this new piece of information Alyanna began to get more nervous because she was the chosen one to give a speech on behalf of our cohort. I tried to comfort her by telling her that she would do great, but that did not seem to help.
As the meeting commenced it was a bit confusing to follow. It was like an infinitely more complex and formal leadership club meeting that we have at my school. I found it interesting how there were two young men who are students at Gompers High School who got to be apart of the School Board and sit with the older members and actually be apart of their voting. I recognized Madeline Kronenberg sitting among them and saw Don walking around with his huge camera snapping photos of the event.
|No words can explain how happy I was in that moment, but Don did a great job capturing it in one awesome photo.|
After a couple of presentations, it was our turn to go up to the podium. I, along with my cohort, went up to the right of the podium holding our huge Columbia University banner with a huge grin on my face. Joyce introduced each of us individually our name, grade, school, and program. When she got to me all I could her is my mom’s proud yell in the back which made me smile even more. After our introductions, Joyce moved aside for Alyanna. Alyanna gave a great speech that effectively summed up all of our gratefulness and excitement to be apart of this amazing program. Don took lots of pictures while we were up there so I made sure that I made my grin visible to his camera.
|My Columbia Cohort (aka new besties)|
After we sat back down all the other cohorts introduced themselves and gave their speeches. The University of Chicago cohort was the last to present and after that we headed over to the gymnasium to take our group photo. As I was walking to the gym I realized that I had left my mother back in the auditorium. When I turned to go back and get her I saw right behind me, ready to take our photo.
When we got to the gym, Don split us all up into groups according to where we would be positioned in the photo. He split us up into chaperones, parents, short girls, tall girls, and boys. I ended up being a “tall girl” so I stood behind the seated “short girls” in the photo. My mom made sure she got a spot close to my in the photo. Don has a great eye for symmetry so he made sure that everyone was positioned in the right place and were also in view. As he took 2 dozens photos I smiled so much that my cheeks began to hurt. We were free to leave after he was done but my mom and I ended up staying longer because she wanted to take more photos of me and my friends Jun and Justeen.
The School Board meeting really opened my eyes up to how much support and pride that our community has given us. We are truly going to represent our community in the east coast and we will not let them down. I feel that it is an honor and privilege to be given this opportunity to be the representation of a community of supportive, achieving, bright young scholars.