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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rochester, NY

Good evening, my dear readers!
We just returned back to Ithaca a few short hours ago from our excursion to Rochester, NY. Our day started bright and early, and we were gone for a majority of the day. To complete a one-way trip to Rochester took roughly two hours, so traveling time alone took quite a bit of time. For me, however, it was worth it. Though I did not enjoy our last college tour at Syracuse too much, I was completely taken by Rochester. I need to do more researching before I decide whether or not I will apply, but I did receive a very good first impression of the university. Our tour guides were very welcoming and informative. And nice, too! They gave us complimentary Rochester brochures, a t-shirt, a backpack, a notebook, and a pen. We got to see a good deal of the campus, and I liked everything I saw.

One particular thing about Rochester which intrigued me was this program called Writing Fellows. As you may know, I am very interested in English and writing and I plan to double major in English and Journalism in college, prior to attending law school. Writing Fellows is something I've never quite seen before in any other school. The Writing Fellows are this on-campus group which voluntarily edits the papers and assignments of their colleagues. If there is one thing I LOVE to do, it is edit. I am definitely going to look more into that program. I asked our tour guide about the school's English and journalism departments, but he was a poli sci and French major, but he gave me his contact information. I plan to e-mail him so he can direct me to someone who will have a better understanding and more information about the departments I'm interested in. 

There was nothing really major I saw in Rochester that I really disliked. On the other hand, they actually had pretty much everything I'm interested in. I plan to study abroad sometime during college, and they offer that program in about seventy locations. It's a private institution, so the  faculty-to-student ratio is 9:1. I will do more research about the school, but so far, it's looking good!

I feel we had a very productive day. And now I am off to continue that productivity. I have an essay and a good amount of reading to complete before the termination of the weekend. I need to get as much work as done as possible before Casino Night at 9. I'm super excited for that event. It will be another nice break from studying. Like we were told the first moment we arrived: balance between work and play is essential. Hopefully I get enough fun in between all my work for Freedom & Justice! Haha. I will talk to you all soon! Have a wonderful weekend.

- xoxo, Julia.


  1. Julia,

    You got it! This is a nice post that allows us into your world. Please continue to shed light on what you are learning and how you are applying it to your set of circumstances. In addition, I need more. I want and the others explain through critical thinking and analysis about how the Ivy League Connection has opened doors that previously did not exist through the school district.

    Tell me why this trip was important and how it signals a new day for students in the district. Give us some comparables with what is lacking in the district, why do students not know about these programs? What does it say about our readiness? How can we improve on your responsibilites?

    I was moved by your post and could feel the energy jumping off the page. I was riveted to every word in your post. It had so much joy and enthusiasm that I wondered why it was not known prior to the visit. Can we do a better job of promoting these highly selective colleges. The University of Rochester has a great reputation and it is one of many schools that exist throughout this country that has wonderful programs.

    I am glad that each of you were "open" to the idea and will give the school another primary look. I do hope that you will also invite them out to visit Hercules High School and share with others the gems that you experienced during your time on campus.

    Yesterday, it was abundently clear that our school district and school board must find a way to increase resources. Former Hercules High School graduates, Peter Huang and Eric Trac made it clear that college is a challenge and that their experience at Harvard and MIT has exposed them to all that is good in higher education, but that it has shown that our students need more rigor if they are going to compete on a global stage.

    I would strongly encourage you to continue your odessy and continue to reach out and highlight what you believe is needed and necessary for not only you, but others to make it to the next level. Thanks again for sharing and I do hope that my comments about providing critical analysis around how to use this experience to strengthen the district makes sense.

    I know that you, Ramiah and Yueming are working on the first Ivy League Connection Hip-Hop dance which will provide a chance for everyone to come together in a positive arena to share ideas. This should be a fun and exciting event.

    I hope that you will also create a forum for future students to learn from your experience.


    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

  2. Julia,

    Nice stuff! I enjoyed reading it.

    Even though you were on campus for such a brief period, it sounds like you were able to soak in bothe the ambience of the school and some of the information you might need to prompt you t research the school further.

    These visits are never meant to be the impetus for a decision. They;'re intended to provide you with information and experiences you might never see on your own. And there's no way to read about the school or go to a college fair and experience walking around and taking in the air.