Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting many people behind the ILC, as well as Cornell alumni and other distinguished members of society at the Town Hall restaurant in San Francisco.
I have to admit, although the idea of eating at a fancy restaurant and meeting so many people that are taking part in my future as an ILC member sounded very exciting at first, I was beginning to get very nervous in the days leading up the dinner. At first, Sue had been the member of our cohort selected to speak at the dinner, but it was then decided that Kevin and I had to speak instead. This greatly added to my nervousness, which had originally come from having to speak to adults that I was not familiar with (I'm not very good at creating small talk). However, this night turned out to be one of the most memorable nights of my life.
The afternoon started at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station, where our travel group was meant to meet at 5:20. Katelyn, Sue and myself were the first to arrive, right before Don got there, at around 5:05. Everybody else arrived before 5:20 and we all made it in time to board the 5:42 train to the Embarcadero station.
When we finally got on the train, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mrs. Kronenberg, and she gave me very insightful tips on college admissions that can be essential in the future when I fill out my college applications. She told me that it is important to write my personal statement in a way that sets me apart from everyone, which includes mentioning previous knowledge of the school we plan to apply to. We talked the whole way there and it made the ride seem very short as opposed to long and dragged out, like the BART ride to San Francisco usually is.
After arriving to the Embarcadero station, we all began our walk to Town Hall. Upon arriving, I was very impressed by the environment and ambience of the restaurant since it was like none other that I had been to in my life. We made our way up to the private dining room, where we were met by some of the Cornell alumni that had already arrived. For about twenty minutes, we all mingled with each other while Mr. Ramsey worked out our seating arrangements.
I had the opportunity to sit next to Mrs. Carolyn Day Flowers, Mr. David Zahora, Ms. Ali Austerlitz (who were all Cornell alumni), Katelyn, her father and my mother. Our table had a blast, as Don could tell from the next table over. The alumni told us all about what to expect at Cornell, all the places we should visit, and what has changed since they all attended. Ali spoke to us about a completely silent library that we should visit, and David suggested that we visit a rock exhibit on-campus. All the places they spoke about really got me excited for my visit to Cornell.
Right before dinner was served, it was time to give speeches. First to speak was Mrs. Kronenberg who introduced everyone in the room. Following the introductions was Kevin, who made a beautiful speech about his experience with the ELD program as a child and how it had affected him. He also expressed his gratitude in such a graceful manner, and I was terrified to speak next. However, I took a deep breath and made my way to the front of the room. In my speech I spoke about how important it is for the members of the ILC to teach other students about colleges outside of California, since previous ILC members were the ones that encouraged me to join the program. The speech didn't go as badly as I had thought and I was met with a round of applause at the end of it.
After me was Samantha Berg who gave a lovely and expressive speech about her time at Cornell. She talked about how she switched majors multiple times which is something that calms me down since at the point I am not completely certain of what I would like to study. Finally came Mr. Ramsey, who reminded us that it should be our goal to give back and help others, not to be selfish and only think of helping ourselves and our families. He expressed to us the words of his late father, who once said, "It's not about the bloodline, it's about the lifeline."
The rest of the night at Town Hall went by very smoothly. Everyone at my table got along amazingly and nearing the end of the night, Carolyn and David gave me and Katelyn motivational speeches which basically involved staying true to ourselves and experiencing as much as we can in life. Both are pieces of advice that I will always keep with me. I developed quite a great relationship with Carolyn, who exchanged e-mails with me and told me she would be happy to help me with my personal statement. She had missed out on her childrens' band concert to come to the dinner and she said she was glad she had come to the dinner.
Dessert was finally brought to us after the Cornell cohort took a group picture with the alumni. It was amazing to see all the different types of people in this one gathering. They had all attended the school at different times and studied different majors, but had one thing that brought them together, which is their college education. I was also taught the friends made at Cornell are long-lasting friends that will be treasured.
|Beautiful centerpiece given to the mothers by|
In all, this dinner was one of the most important events of my life so far. It made me realize how grateful I am to have an opportunity such as this one, where people are constantly feeding us support, whether it be Don or Mr. Ramsey or the funders. These people, along with the alumni and everyone else at the dinner have made an incredible impact on my life by allowing me to go to Summer College this summer. I will make the most out of every moment of this journey and I will use every bit of knowledge I have gained to propel me to great heights in the future. If any of you out there are reading this, thank you so much for everything.