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.

Monday, July 6, 2009


As I was reflecting on our stay at Cornell, I came to the realization that we, at least Hotelies, have not actually explored the beautiful campus. Besides the normal route we take to go to the Statler for class, we have not walked across any other part of the campus. After I expressed my interest in visiting some of the campus museums and libraries, I was very happy to see that Stacy and Louisa supported the idea. Therefore, we set out on our first exploration today -- the Olin Library and the Uris Library.

Although Olin clearly had a more modern look while the part of the Uris library that we visited resembled ones in the Harry Potter movie, both were interesting. Since we went during our afternoon break, we didn't get to spend a lot of time there (I think i can spend an entire day there without getting tired of the books!) we did take many photo snapshots for memory.

* Walking towards the entrance of the Olin Library

* Inside the library. I believe this is the staff area -- shows how modern the library is.

* Snapping a shot of the entrance of the Uris Library.

* Stacy exploring the first level of the library modeled after the library from Harry Potter.

*Louisa sitting at a desk. Many students sit in desks like these in the library to study.

In terms of class, we had a fairly light day. Today's curriculum was centered around being of service, which is what hospitality is all about. We discussed what we thought being of service meant and what kind of qualities a person would have if he likes to serve. This tied directly into what kind of traits would an employer look for in an employee. After coming up with a long list of agreeable characteristics (I believe we had around 70), the professors asked everyone to think about what characteristics they thought were most important to the industry and what is a way to test if a person possesses those characteristics.

I believe amiable qualities such as being passionate, up-lifting, friendly, loyal, etc. are needed in this line of work, but also characteristics like being efficient, organized, punctual, responsible, and observant are important. Even though I still have to figure out what exactly I will do to measure these qualities, I do know that written tests and even conversations cannot shine enough light in these areas. I will need to observe their everyday behaviors in order to find out if they have a true being-of-service mindset.

In addition to our engaging morning discussion, we had a guest speaker in the afternoon. Ms. Heather Fortenberry from the Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration Admissions dedicated 2 hours of her time to talk to us about the strong undergraduate hotel program as well as the general application process. We all learned intersting facts about the School of Hotel Administration like that 800 work hours related to hotel and hospitality is required for graduation. Additionally, we also learned about the process of applying to Cornell such as the fact that students must apply to a specific school (primary application) and also an alternative school (secondary application) out of the seven schools offered for undergraduate studies.

I can see how all of the Exploring Educational Excellence college presentations have benefited us. I remember some of the general college application facts when Ms. Fortenberry was answering questions. By actively participating in events like these, our district is really gaining a lot of knowledge and exposure that some of the students at summer college never had before. These informational sessions are important!

In terms of group work for our final project, I am very happy that my group members do no procrastinate. We plan on finishing everything by Thursday so that we can have the entire Friday morning for minor revisions. So far, we have come up with a successful business plan. Before going to bed last night, we gathered briefly for a discussion about what kind of expenses we will spend. All three of us had different ideas so we decided to spend tonight's office hours to run our own trials and see who could come up with a hotel that made an average of $70,000 profit per week.

I was extremely happy to find out that my revised plan worked and I was able to make more money than the required. Although my group mates' hotels were not able to make the cut, we all felt comfortable that one of us made it without really combining each other strategies. We will spend tomorrow analyzing the statistics and combining our successful strategies to maximize our profits. I have a feeling that it will all work out. Yay!

Another great day has gone by. Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring us!

~Yueming W.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am glad that the three of you took the initiative to walk the Cornell grounds and see the campus. I also hope that you will go and see other buildings on campus and visit the other points of interest on campus. Take a look at its Tennis facilities and other athletic facilities. Go and see the science buildings and law school. Cornell has a lot of wonderful facilities. Make sure that you speak to at least one professor who may be on campus. This is your chance to see all that Cornell has to offer.

    Your brights and smarts are evident and I am glad that your business plan ideas panned out. It is also nice to read that your group is filled with fast starters and that they will get the assignments completed with enough time for revisions and final tweaks.

    Yueming you have really grown in this three weeks. You have handled yourself very well and I am glad that we had a sophomore in this years program at Cornell. It has given all of us something to look forward to in having the chance to continue to work with you during the upcoming year.

    Please provide us some examples of how we should move forward in the upcoming year at Hercules High School. Your suggestions will help us guide the program in the future and enable us to strengthen our efforts.

    You also see that all the preliminary work that we have done in having students attend college information nights are valuable and that we have done this to help prepare our students for the difficult college application process.

    We still have a long way to go in our district. We still have hordes of students who never pay attention or flat out ignore our message. It is sad that they fail to listen. Some will say that it is frustrating, however I am not frustrated because in the end they lose and they lose big! Only those who are willing to listen and learn reap the benefits. You are reaping the benefits because you have chosen to listen and take full advantage of our sage advice. Continue to be proactive and take a leadership role this fall at Hercules High School.

    I hope that you will initiate a student forum about the Ivy League Connection and have a campus wide conversation about the need for students to stay engaged and to work hard. I see that you have taken our advice to heart.

    Keep up the good work.

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

  2. I forgot to mention. Wonderful pictures. I am glad that you shared them with us.

    Charles T. Ramsey

  3. Yueming,

    Loved the photos.

    Libraries can be such a source of inspiration. The way a library is set up can make a huge difference on how the facility is used. College libraries are far different than public libraries but even on college campuses all too often they’re utilitarian and lack that something special that sets them apart form any other warehouse for books.

    If you get a chance, you need to take a tour of the public libraries in your own community. Your library in Hercules is nice and user friendly. The same can be said for the new library in Albany and the one in Pinole. Richmond’s library, though, could use a little help to make it more the kind of place that people want to go to.

    Money is always an issue with libraries and it wasn’t all that long ago that the Richmond Library wasn’t even open more than a token amount each week. In today’s libraries users want wireless Internet access, ‘quiet rooms’, computer and copy machine access, tables and desks where they can spread out and use what’s offered there. They even want decent books and knowledgeable librarians.

    It’s a shame, Yueming, that you’ve been on campus as long as you have yet it’s on the eve of your departure that you’re just finding the time to check out the sights. Cornell has too much to offer to miss out on seeing some of it.