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.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Every ending is a new beginning

Ithaca is gorges! Hotelies are definitely gorges!

After a lightning-paced three weeks in up-state New York, I can proudly call myself a Summer Cornelian at last. I survived!

Truthfully, it was more than just surviving the summer program, I would like to call it "thriving". While we engaged in interesting hospitality lectures with Professor Reneta McCarthy and invigorating computer-related lessons with Professor Mark McCarthy, we also developed numerous life skills that will benefit us in the future. Therefore, merely calling this an exciting three weeks at Cornell would be a huge understatement. Although this may sound cliche or even vague, it does truly represent my take on this adventure: it is a once in a lifetime experience!

When I first heard about the Hotel Operations Management: Tactics in Profitability program, I didn't know exactly what to think of it. This was mainly due to the fact that I had no knowledge about the way the industry operated besides the fact of staying at a hotel once in a while. Now that I know how interesting the hotel industry is, I am glad I had gone with my guts and applied.

Throughout the course, we had various lectures and discussions regarding different types of hotels, various customer segments, demands of specific customer segments, way of catering to those demands, and achieving customer satisfaction/loyalty while still minimizing expenses and maximizing profits. Sounds like a mouthful, right?

Simply covering ground of an actual fifteen-week college course in three short weeks is an achievement, but I must credit our professors. Without Reneta and Mark and their engaging methods of teaching, I would not have learned nearly as much about any subject in fifteen days (weekends excluded). Their way of breaking down excessive amounts of information into easily understandable chunks permitted me to attain a lot of information about hotels, hospitality, and business in general. And to prove what I have learned in the past three weeks, each group wrote a financial report to analyze data from our CHESS game -- a virtual hotel simulation that enables you to operate a 250-room hotel. Here I have included a link to my group's financial report for the Le Petit Papillion hotel.

This summer college experience isn't all about acquiring knowledge pertaining to hotels (though it is a major portion of it), I also learned a lot about myself as an individual. Sure there were times when I couldn't get along with other students, times when I wanted to go home, times when I wanted to cry, but most importantly, I found a way to overcome those moments and be like myself. This shows me that I have enough strength to conquer what I set my eyes on conquering.

I must also credit a big part of my positive experience to my warm, kind, helpful new acquaintances, especially my roommate and my group mates. Although we had different opinions about certain things, the fact that we all walked away from our differences and tried to engage in similarities only made us bond together even more. Additionally, having the opportunity to resolve conflicts and to work through the ups and downs built our characters. We may all be different, but when gathered with a group of people who strive to achieve the same goals, usually the results are good. In our case, the results couldn't have been better.

Despite my initial impressions of Cornell University -- distant and isolated -- I have grown to fall in love with the college. I can now confidently say that I DO want to apply to this university for my post-high school education. At this point, I am not sure I will apply to the School of Hotel Administration but I do know that I would apply within the business or arts and science field.

Without the Ivy League Connections, I would have never had the opportunity to stay at an Ivy League college for three weeks. This is what I consider the best way to get to know a college. Take myself as an example, had I not had this three-week exposure to Cornell, I would most likely not apply to an expensive Ivy due to my first impressions. As the days passed, my first impressions proved to be more and more unreasonable as I found myself more and more attached to the school. Granted if I have a chance in the future, I would like to visit some more colleges before I decide which colleges I should apply to. I will need to decide which college is better fitted for me based on a campus tour which is clearly not the best way to learn about a college.

I can go on and on about my wonderful time at Cornell but if I were to sum it all up in one sentence, I would say that it definitely ranks amongst my best experiences!

I would like to thank every sponsor for caring enough to help make an incredible experience possible for students like me! Also, I would like to thank Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Knonenburg, Mr. Gosney, and Mr. Crossley for putting in so much of their time, effort, energy, and everything else they have given up just so we can do what we did! I am very grateful for having this opportunity and I cannot stress that point enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I agree with the proverb "Every ending is a new beginning" and I find that it is also another great way to sum up my take on this program. Being more aware of the level of student competition, getting a taste of college life, learning a load of useful information, and discovering more about myself are amongst the things I will take back home. Even though I am sad about the end of a great summer experience, I hope to apply my knowledge in helpful ways for both myself and the people around me. I feel so blessed that I will have another opportunity to do this next summer and I am already looking forward to that! Therefore, this ending isn't really an ending, it is in fact a growing experience that I have already come to appreciate.

Now I will go and soak up the last bit of fun before our departure!

So long,

-Yueming W.


  1. Yueming.

    What a wonderful blog to read.

    It always makes us feel good to read about the wonderful experiences our students have and it certainly seems that a few blessings fell your way:

    • You went to a fine school
    • The setting was beautiful
    • The instructors knew their stuff
    • You had good roomies and teammates
    • You learned your subject matter
    • You learned about yourself
    • You learned new skills
    • You came to appreciate that blogging can be fun ☺
    • You developed a greater appreciation for what you left behind

    All in all, not a bad way to start the summer.

    And for the record, Yueming, we enjoyed sharing it all with you. Thanks for the memories.

  2. You are going nowhere! A very short post to you. We get you back for next year. Maybe Brown, Yale or Columbia, yes back in New York. We will have to see. Glad that you got so much out of the program this year.

    Yueming, you have a lot of talent and I am feeling very gitty about you coming back. I need to have some friends for next year.

    Glad that you got a lot out of the experience. I will look to you to take a leadership role at Hercules High School next year.

    Yes, Ithaca is for gorges. However, Ithaca is for the Titans!

    Take care and have some fun at the talent show tonight.

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

  3. Yueming,

    This was a strong, reflective, honest assessment of your experience and I so appreciate your investing the time and thought into writing it.

    As Mr. Ramsey says, unlike the rising seniors who are moving on, YOU are still very much an active ILC member and we are all delighted to have your insights and leadership on the team.

    So, one thing to think about is how you can share your thoughts and impressions with your fellow students at school in a way that will be meaningful to them. You followed your "gut" and decided to go -- but you were also ready and able to do the work and open to making the connections that made the experience worthwhile.

    We need to grow that sense of work discipline and willingness to be open to new connections among all our students and I hope you can be part of making that happen.

    Thanks so much for all your postings and welcome home.