|The adequate Gumbo I ordered as an Appetizer|
Today the entire Cornell Cohort met up at the El Cerrito Plaza BART in order to travel as a group to San Francisco for the cohort dinner with the alumni, some sponsors, board members and some other people having to do something in general with education. I arrived there about 5 minutes before the planned meeting time with my father (each ILCer was to bring at least one guardian to represent them at the dinner), and I soon found out that Don had already gone over just about everything, so everyone just chatted away while we were awaiting some Cornell alumni to show up. Right before entering the platform to await our BART train, Don gave everyone of us Clipper Cards (pre-paid BART cards) which I had never used before but were actually pretty simple to use (just swipe or hover over the scanner). Up on the gusty platform, a vision of Evil Don flashed before my head, reminding me what the whole purpose of this entire day was about. Just before an imaginary Don could imaginarily yell at me I approached the first unknown person I had saw there that wasn't a parent. I introduced myself and realized that this person was very familiar. He introduced himself and it turned out he was the director of Hercules Education Foundation as well as a former Hercules city councilman (I recognized him from this): Don Kuehne. He later explained that he grew up in New Jersey, works as a researcher for Chevron and how he went to chemical engineering school at Cornell. I asked him what the weather was like in Cornell in the Summer and he said, that it was fantastic (which I found hard to believe later that day based on testimony of another Cornellian). He also mentioned how his daughter is currently studying organic chemistry at UC San Diego and mentioned how difficult the course is--I've already had a taste of a little organic chemistry in AP Biology last year and I don't see why I couldn't agree with his statement.
|The Pork Chop I had that was a little too Well-Done accompanied by rice/beans and two Serrano Peppers--still good|
On the train ride I felt like I needed to know more about Cornell in general so I scouted like a hawk for another Cornellian speak with and asked to sit by one that was nearest to where I boarded. Her name was Carolyn Day Flowers. Mrs. Flowers graduated from Cornell in 1989 (way before I was born) and answered ALL of my bazillion questions that I threw at her, and she answered with as much incite-fullness as possible. She chose to attend Cornell because it was a family tradition along with the fact that she fell in love with all that Cornell had to offer. She studied Japanese Language as well as Economics at Cornell, both of which she studied for very good reasons. She studied Japanese Language because she enjoyed it, and she studied Economics because it was interesting to her and there were many job opportunities she could land with a degree in this field. She said her experience at Cornell included being very independent (which I later noted was a common theme amongst Cornellians) as in many didn't receive too much help from teacher assistants or the like, and that self study was a key part to being successful. She felt that with this experience at Cornell, partaking in the outside world was made easier. She also talked about how she enjoyed political science and history (just like me) and how Isaac Kramnick is one of the best professors that Cornell has to offer--teaching there before she even came.
|Exceptional Banana Ice Cream with Caramel Cracker|
At the waiting room in the restaurant on the third floor (meant for private parties) we were served delicious appetizers including one that was a beef slice on short bread with a strawberry drizzle on top. Not only that, but the waiters also served us crab cake bites (I love any form of crab), and they were both VERY well received (for I didn't eat lunch because of make-up classwork leftover from AP testing of the previous week). When we entered the dining room, the tables had name tags arranged on each one of them in order to maximize the our (the ILCers) interaction with the alumni. I was placed in the farthest table back, in counter clockwise order: Jason Levy class of 2007, Ms. Fraser (Natalie's mom), Alex Vollmer class of 1965, Natalie (directly in front of me), Alison Leaf class of 2009 and to the left of me, my dad. I began to talk to Jason since he was the nearest Cornell alumnus and he spoke on his choice on why he chose to attend Cornell. Which was first off, a great education, second he wanted to experience the extremes of weather (since he group up in the Bay Area: Marin County) and lastly he wanted to get away from his parents because he wanted independence. From studying at Cornell he received an internship in San Francisco and is now a web designer, and even joked around and said he may be the next Mark Zuckerberg. He is also the director of the the Nor-Cal Cornell Alumni Association. After a while, an introduction was made by school board member, Ms. Kronenberg, who allowed everyone to introduce themselves and began with the student speeches--starting with me.
|Me Speaking to Everyone|
After I gave my speech, I called Carla up to give hers. She followed suit with starting with a story that told of the Ivy League Connection process, and how she moved from Arizona and is in totality grateful for the oppurtunity. Then a alumnae of Cornell by the name of Samantha Berg spoke on behalf of her experience at Cornell. In my opinion she was extremely inciteful on how many classes she took which she mentioned to be nearly every interesting class Cornell offered and how she now designs all sorts of mechanical things such as cell phones to automobiles. Honestly, she was one of the most forward thinking individuals that I have seen in my life and I'm more than sure that will stick as a positive influence in my head for the rest of my life. Lastly, Mr. Ramsey (school board President) gave the last word, emphasizing the fact that the ILC is not specifically meant for just us--it's meant to help the entire community, after all as a community we can only have progress if we help each other out. In other words you are remembered for what you have done for others.
|Don made us hastily take a photo outside the restaurant because the Cornell alumni were dispersing (I'm on an island)|
|Photo with Natalie|
By this time, Ms. Leaf had to leave to another Cornell dinner and many other alumni from different tables were leaving as well. Don saw this moment and couldn't take it anymore and thus called everyone to take a picture at an assembly of rocks outside. There Don, as well as parents took many pictures and I was confined to my own island as the middle rock was too small. After the picture, we all came back to the restaurant, where after not too long, all the remaining alumni had left home or to other social get-togethers.
|The much awaited back up train-after the 1st was delayed|
When we finally arrived in El Cerrito again, we were all exhausted from not normally doing this, but glad that it all happened so we could receive all the college advice the Cornell alumni were able to give us in one dinner session and at the same time learn more about the university that we will attend this Summer. Also my arm was tired because of the flowers I had held for a district counselor ever since walking from the restaurant. We all bid each other tired goodbyes and until next time, which will be in the not so distant future. Today was a good day.