Today we had our orientation, just two weeks before our trip. I was extremely nervous because Don had stressed to us that it was very important to arrive on time (at 6:00), because if we didn't then we would be removed from the ILC. Although Pinole Middle School is only located in the next town over, I made sure to leave the house by 5:30, just to be safe. I arrived about 10 minutes later, to my relief, and saw that not many people had arrived yet. I was still worried for the other members of the ILC and wanted them to all get there on time.
At 6:03 sharp, Don began to talk to all of us. He began by going over some rules that had already told us before, but wanted to drill into our heads (not literally) to make sure we all understood what we could and could not do while we're away on our trips. Mrs. Kronenberg added to this, by sharing an example of someone who had gotten sent home due to disrespecting his chaperone. It was understood that all of us were to behave ourselves and respect our chaperones and RAs and not go to parties, skip class or steal buses and go to Canada.
Later, Mr. Chan-Law gathered the Cornell cohort to fill out forms and go over the itinerary for the trip. My mom filled out some forms and when we were finally handed our itineraries, I felt like it was Christmas morning. I finally got a chance to see exactly what we are going to be doing on the East Coast. I was excited to find out that we are getting the chance to stay at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, which is very elegant and not very cheap. I am especially excited to see the college campuses we will be visiting (Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Washington University), since I have never toured a college campus before.
|Our personalized itinerary.|
After going over what Cornell is going to be like, the parents asked some questions and then we had to go back to sit where we could all hear Don talk about the loaner items. From laundry bags, to desk lamps to bed sheets, Don has it all. He admitted that all of the things he has purchased for us cost $10,000 and it made me feel very grateful that he is willingly handing these out to us in order to feel comfortable on our trips. He even had suitcases set out for everyone to check out.
At one point during the orientation, Mrs. Kronenberg pointed out that WCCUSD is the only district that offers these sort of scholarships for students to go to Ivy League summer programs. She also said that this is because other districts don't have Don and this is very true. I don't know how he does it, but Don is great at doing his job and not exploding. I could never be able to handle 42 teenagers at one time, along with their parents and all the problems that come along with applications and whatnot, so a big round of applause for Don and all he does.
I still can't process the fact that I'm actually going to Ithaca. Although we've been talking about this for months, it honestly just seems like people are saying these things to me but aren't going to actually happen, so I'm hoping it'll hit me soon. The date's coming up soon and we all have to get ready. I could not be more ecstatic than I am right in this moment to go on this new adventure!