Before I actually start, I want to use this paragraph to thank Don Gosney, Madeline Kronenberg, and Charles Ramsey. These three individuals play instrumental roles in progressing the city of Richmond and I hope they continue to do so. Not only do these three work in the political aspect of things, they also do phenomenal jobs in educating and inspiring our youth in doing amazing things.
The ILC has, to put it simply, helped me grow as a young man. I've learned the basics in acting in a professional environment, the importance of responsibility, and useful time management skills. Along with developing these attributes, the ILC has also helped instill in me a stronger sense of confidence and independence from the homely hills of El Sobrante.
Now I could go on and on about what the ILC has done to me on the personal level, but that's not what it's all about. The founders of the Ivy League Connection constructed this great program with one singular purpose: giving back.
Being able to study constitutional law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country really opened my eyes to a huge issue that surrounds the students in our school district. After being able to work with many students on the east coast, I started to realize how much more ahead they were in terms of academics, maturity, and attitude towards current events, I was stunned by how easily and how thoroughly each student could browse through each case, while at the same time formulating intricate opinions on them. Thoughts started to flood my brain asking why were these kids somewhat "better". I found the answer in the difference in the academic standards that we WCCUSD students are set to and the standards that the more privileged districts set their students to. I find that the standards that we at home set our kids to are too low compared to students of more privileged backgrounds.
What I plan to do with my new experiences is to share my experiences of the college life to my peers back at home and possibly with the help of a few, voice out the main issue that surrounds our educational system: the bar is too low. With some of my new experiences, I plan on working with my school administrators in De Anza in raising the academic standard inch by inch in order to give all students an equal opportunity to compete at the state or national level. Sound difficult? Yep, but it's not impossible.
For the past two years, it seems that De Anza has sent the smallest number of students to participate in the ILC. That needs to change. A few of my friends who have participated in the ILC this year have also decided to re-establish the Ivy League Connection Club at De Anza as an effort to increase student interest in the ILC and even help promising ILCers with the application process. Not only will we be doing ILC related things, but we hope to help contribute to the college going culture in De Anza as well.
One of the key lessons while being a part of the ILC is the importance of getting your opinion heard. It all started at our ILC dinner in a restaurant called Prospect, located in San Francisco. I had the privilege of sitting next to former school board president, Charles Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey told me about the importance of opening your mouth and letting your voice be heard by stating that,"Closed mouths don't get fed". Those words were forever embedded in my mind. As a student leader on campus, I really took this to heart. I first showed reluctance in voicing out my opinions on subjects involving school activities and ROTC but Mr. Ramsey's advice changed all of that.
Being involved with the Ivy League Connection truly was a life changing experience. Only a few people get to experience this once and a lifetime opportunity and the ILC continues to make these opportunities available for the hardworking students of our school district. Once again, I'd like to thank the ILC for making such huge differences in the lives of young men and women. It's because of programs like the ILC where students find the urge and the dedication to be successful and strive for nothing but success.