Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Superstars of the Day

Rehearsing how we'd hold the banner in front of the board
After successfully completing the last of a string of five AP exams, I headed to the WCCUSD School Board Meeting where the school board took time out of their regular meetings to congratulate the 2014 batch of ILC. As a mafia of formally dressed, neat young women and men swarmed into the expansive hall of Lovonya Dejean Middle School, big smiles mixed with anxiety also accompanied the diverse ILCers and parents. A friendly Don greeted me and my parents as we entered and soon the various cohorts ranging from Vanderbilt to Chicago assembled in the back to rehearse how the meeting was going to proceed.  
The supportive board gearing up for a long night
Getting the Jitters
Once the meeting eventually began, two guest speakers – both of whom were former ILCers, now admitted to Ivy League colleges – approached the podium, shared their insight, expressed their gratitude towards the Ivy League Connection, and explained what a life changing experience it was. Soon the chaperones and student speakers from each cohort introduced the students and briefly described their experience and expectations to the board. Luckily, I had a chance to be a student speaker at the event, representing my cohort in front of the board. As Mr. Chan-Law, our chaperone finished off his introduction, he announced, “Now a few words from Sue Mani.” As I walked to the podium, butterflies violently burst out of their cocoons and began flying wildly; the nervous jitters starting taking over my stomach and my legs started to slightly tremble as I initially began talking. As I proceeded though, the butterflies emigrated to the next guest speaker as what I started to say became less rehearsed and more heart-felt. Once I was done, like always, I said to me, “Hey that was easy.” (Sorry for stealing your tagline, Staples.) After all of the speaking and intros were over, the students, parents, and chaperones gathered for Don’s iconic group shot which turned out wonderfully. Since the meeting was halted for the picture, we did our best to scramble out of the room in order to prevent further interruptions to the meeting. 
Proud to represent such a fabulous cohort
Our pose with certificates and as Charlie's Angels
Once we exited, Katelyn, Carla and I had a photo session on the grass with our parents in order to capture the moment. 

Altogether, tonight was definitely a night to remember. It’s extremely encouraging to see the kind of support that we receive from our community; they encourage us in every endeavor and serve as the pillars to our success. Tonight, West Contra Costa made us superstars and celebrated our success like no other. In fact, a well-wisher of the ILC stopped by each cohort and personally congratulated us and said, “I hope this will the beginning of your accomplishments and certainly not your last.” This support functions as the drive which keeps us motivated. I personally can assure that this enthusiasm will not stop here; the encouragement I have received tonight will serve as the fuel to help me succeed not only in Cornell, but also help me become a catalyst for change in my community in order to create an even better society for my peers and future college goers to build upon. 

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