Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Better Than a Thousand Words

One of the goals of The Ivy League Connection has been to present new vistas to some of the best and the brightest students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.  Opening doors for them at some of the Ivy League schools has shown them opportunities that many of these fine students might not have known about or considered.

What good does it do us, though, to give them a glimpse of their future without showing them the way?

Late last season the Ivy League Connection brought on board Sue Kim, a professional college guidance counselor, to help provide some of the Ivy League Connection participants with one-on-one guidance to teach them about what they need to make the most of the opportunities available to them.

Sue provides expert tutelage on which tests to take, when to take them and even how best to use these tests to their advantage.  Sue works with our students and their parents to help provide the most appropriate fit for each applicant and she provides outstanding insight to both the students and their parents about options, opportunities and the ins and outs of financial assistance to help lessen the educational burdens during these tough economic times.

On March 22nd Sue met with five of our ILC participants and their parents at Pinole Valley High School to get them started on this process.

Below we have a few of the photos taken during that session:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Orientation with Sue Kim

After completing my list of perfunctory tasks which I do every Sunday, I had a chance to meet with Sue Kim, an educational consultant.

At the meeting, I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Madeline Kronenberg as well. She was such great company for the duration of time she was there. Ms. Kronenberg could not join us for the full session because she had some home errands to take care of. I hope the quality of the interior work done to her house is just as she pictured it to be.

But, who else was there to join us? Don, of course. From the start, he utilized his photography skills and captured photos of our parents (the mugshots continue...). As a dedicated sponsor, he spent his afternoon taking photos of the live session and afterwards, group photos of the Hercules and Pinole students.

To complete the full house, we had Mr. Ramsey join us for the orientation. He just came back from Portland (the NCAA basketball tournament). Mr. Grossley and Ms. Kahn were both actively involved at the meeting, which was held at Pinole Valley High School.

Zachary Taylor and Jeannie Wu, students from Pinole Valley, and Ramiah and Lousia were all there to accompanied me.

Ms. Kim provided each of us a binder, tightly packed with information on financial aid, A-G courses, tests, personal statements, and more. Today's meeting was all about introducing us to the holistic process of the college admissions experience. Because I have started my research for a period now, I was particularly familiar with all the terms and information she brought up. What I am most looking forward to is attending the next meeting and of course, my one-on-one sessions with her. I strongly believe she can help me generate a listing of schools that will be an excellent "fit" for me based on my character, my needs, my wishes.

I cannot wait to delve into the whole segment on personal statements. Sometimes, it is easier said than done when trying to highlight your attributes and aspirations on paper. In the meantime, I have the handy binder right within reach, so I can pore over the details whenever I want.

From previous emails, Mr. Ramsey already noted that the ILC students will be going to local college fairs in late April/early May. I never had a chance to go, so I am beyond ecstatic to see a long line of booths representing their colleges and handing out circulars to prospective students.

The only problem is...pinpointing the exact college I want out of the batch (I am looking into applying to around 8-10 institutions). Right now, I will not try to look that far down the line because summer is just around the corner.

You know what that means...

...Big Apple, here I come.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My First Words

First and foremost, thank you Stacy for setting up the blog for all of us. I also thank Mr. Don Gosney for his encouraging words. This past week has been incredibly hectic and there has been so much to do. I am sorry for not having any time earlier to blog, but I am glad I have finally found the time and I will continue to post regularly in the future.

I thank all of the sponsors and organizers a part of the Ivy League Connection for all they have done for us six students, including myself, to be able to attend this summer’s programs at Cornell University. I know that I am attending Cornell on a financial aid scholarship from the university, rather than the funds that were raised for the five other students going this summer, but I still thank the sponsors and organizers because without their efforts, this program would not be here and would not be to the level it is. There are not enough words to express how thankful I am for all the support given and about being able to attend Cornell University this summer. I hope everyone will keep watching my fellow summer college attendees and I and keep supporting us in all that we do at Cornell!

I am so incredibly eager to participate in the Hotel Operations Management course at Cornell. I never knew that hotel management was a subject in college. This is my first time hearing about it. I knew about freedom and justice, but I was more curious about hotel management and still am. I have been surrounded by business all my life, as my father is a business man himself, but I really do want to learn more than my father’s perspectives and aspects. My future is still pretty undecided, as I am still somewhat unsure of what to pursue after high school. I know Cornell with help me by allowing me to explore and study a field in which I had known of in a college. I hope my three-weeks away from home will provide immense assistance to deciding my future. Who knows, I might have even found my future career field just by deciding to take the Hotel Operations Management course.

I cannot wait to be able to experience school on a college level. Time is passing by so fast and before you know it, I will be a college student. I want to experience college life before becoming a college student, just to see what it is like. I want to undergo the transition from high school student to college scholar. I am eager to see life as an independent, young adult. My parents are worried about me going off to college, as they have heard about the stresses one may face in college and are apprehensive about whether or not I can endure it or not. With this opportunity at Cornell, I can reassure them that I am capable of handling anything. I explained to them I will one day be faced with challenges that are beyond what I will encounter at Cornell, and that I believe my three-weeks at Cornell is a step to being able to conquer any challenge.

Both my parents know about my deep desire to attend Cornell this summer and they are immensely proud of my acceptance and my opportunity to be able to study at such a prestigious college. I have always wanted to attend summer programs like this, but have been unable to either due to time or financial incapability. Now that I have such an opportunity, they are extremely proud and happy that my wish has been granted. This chance is incredibly meaningful to me and to showcase that, I will try my absolute best. I want to thank them for all the concern and support they have given me throughout the Ivy League process and I promise them, as well as the sponsors and organizers, that I will do well at Cornell and enjoy my college experience.

It is such an opportunity as well as an honor to embark on such an endeavor. I will definitely forever remember the experiences I will have this summer and treasure each second I am there at Cornell. I am now just counting the days that go by, until the day I get on that plane and land in Ithaca, New York. This is so exciting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Off to a great start!

Before I give my take on this program, I want to thank Mr. Don Gosney (our first blogger) for giving a warm and welcoming introduction.  

I am thrilled and pleased to have myself surrounded with an unbelievable group of supporters. Everyone who is linked with the 
Ivy League Connection program is always involved in some way or another. Everyone is on hand to provide encouragement. Needless to say, it is evident that this program was initiated by a strong team of people. It is no wonder the program, on many levels, continues to flourish.

I cannot speak for others, but I can certainly speak for myself. Having the opportunity to travel to the 
East Coast, especially to study at an Ivy League school, may be the highlight of my life. Over the years, I have been offered many opportunities to become a student ambassador and to attend summer enrichment programs at other states. This, however, has always been out of my parent’s financial capability. Therefore, going to New York (my dream place to live) means a great deal to me. Coming from a background where I always had to turn down offers, I strongly believe I will appreciate this life-changing opportunity much more on a larger scale. 

As a budding business woman and journalist, I plan to enter the business world and the media world in my own right. My interest for learning about the 
business field works in favor for me. I know that I will enter the program wholeheartedly, and I have high hopes I will pull through. 

I am definitely excited to immerse myself in a rigorous curriculum. To do well in the Hotel course, I must be extremely attentive and be able to pace myself. Above all, I will have to tweak my 
time management skills to the point where it is seamless. 

This is only the start of a long but valuable journey. I am looking forward to attending the first college counseling session and meeting other resourceful people along the way. 

Until next time, stay updated with the program by reading my blogs as well as those of others’.

Stacy Chan

Welcome to The Ivy League Connection

To all of the newest members of The Ivy League Connection I extend my congratulations for being selected.  You've already been given tons of advice and plenty of suggestions about your responsibilities and although I'd love to tell you that the rest is all downhill from here, that would be a lie.

You're now representing your classmates, the good people of Hercules, the 96,000 people living in the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the many sponsors who have dug into their pockets for the financing and the friends of the program who devote their precious "free" hours to help open those doors for you.  You will be our ambassadors not only when you go east to Cornell but also while you're here in your own home town with people looking at you through a new and different set of eyes.

Thank goodness you all have broad shoulders so you can carry the load.  At least you don't have any other responsibilities in trying to help out with your families, taking those wonderful college entrance exams or trying to finish up the school year and maintain those A+++ GPAs.

As we move ahead with your participation in this program I hope that you and your parents understand that you're not in this alone and there are people out here that are going to work very hard to ensure that you succeed in this program and beyond.  There's no shame in asking for help and a standard rule in life is that if you don't ask, you don't get.

Another standard rule in life that we often forget about is that you need to have some fun along the way. Maintain that balance between work and fun but when it stops being fun, it's time to walk away.

And the Cardinal Rule for you all starting right here and now is to blog.  Get on this blog and tell us what you're thinking about this program.  Tell us about your preparations; tell us about your aspirations; tell us about what's working and what's not; and when you get to Cornell, really turn on the afterburners and tell us about everything that's going on.  You'll be in Ithaca and we're stuck back here so you will be our eyes and ears while you're there.  Everything we'll know about this whole trip will be learned from reading your blogs.

In case you may have missed it, the blogs are important to us so if you're unwilling to help out in this regard, now is the time to step aside and let the alternate take your place.  You know that the alternates will blog to high heaven if they're given the opportunity to make this trip so either step up and blog or step aside for someone who will.

And remember to have some fun along the way.