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

The Grand Finale

I am so happy, I feel very good about the final. Unlike the preliminary exam, on which Julia, Justine and I all chose different essay topics, this time we all wrote the same essay. It was not easy, but at the same time it was nothing I was not prepared for. I am very glad that I invested so much time studying. Since we got to read all of the material before coming to Ithaca, I was able to read more critically when rereading the text here. I was able to pay more attention to details because the concepts were not knew to me.

I also just spoke with my ta and learned that I got an A- on the final draft of my Plato essay. I do not think I have ever worked so hard on a single paper. I went through numerous drafts and lots of trips to office hours. I read and reread The Republic so many times I practically have it memorized, and I am so glad that it all paid off. All of our hard work paid off, because Julia and Justine also did extremely well.

This class really changed the way I approach reading. Never before have I had to look so critically at every single word and analyze its meaning. In AP language we did have to look closely at what we read and talk about what it meant, but here we had to put more thought and more personal analysis into it.I have also definitely learned to be a more aggressive student. I cannot wait to see how this translates into my work senior year.

After the final we had our last lunch at Trillium. On our way to the dining hall we all called our parents to share with them the joy we felt. Julia, Justine, and I have grown so close over the past three weeks, and I am very glad that we have done so. I have never spent so much time with a particular study group and I love the way we are able to focus when we need to focus; but can also have fun together. We have learned each other's strengths and weaknesses academically, and help each other based on that.

Then it was on to the campus tour. Mr. Crossley was at Day Hall waiting for us to arrive. After a short wait our tour began. Some of it seemed rather redundant because not only have we been on campus for the past three weeks, but also Professor Kramnick and other Cornellians have been telling us about life at Cornell. Nonetheless, I am glad that we took the tour. I did learn some new things. We got to explore parts of campus we have not had time to see, and it was really nice. One thing that really stood out in my mind was when the tour guide, Steve, was telling us about "Dragon Day." I have already heard the story from the presenters who come to California with the "Exploring Educational Excellence" seminars we have attended. The difference, however, was that we got to see the road they parade down with the giant dragon all of the freshmen architects build. It was very nice, although we have gathered lots of information over the past three weeks, the tour provided us with a very organized recap. It was also a great time to take pictures I had not yet taken. (It is rather unfortunate that I cannot upload them while here.)

I know that I have truly grown over the past three weeks, but I was rather surprised at how I grew. I thought that I would not miss home at all, but I have come to miss it quite a bit. I always saw myself getting as far away from home as possible for college. Do not worry I am not abused at home or anything like that; and I do not have bad parents. It's actually quite the opposite, and I am ashamed to say that it took three weeks away from home to realize how much I love it there. (Right about now I can imagine Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Gosney, and Mrs. Kronenberg's faces dropping; do not worry I am not set on staying in California either.)As of now, Cornell is definitely on my list of schools to apply to. Over the next couple months my parents, Ms. Kim, and I will be discussing and analyzing which schools will be the best fit for me; and after this experience I have so much more to add to that analysis. So far I have been the only one in the conversation who had never experienced college, but now that is slightly different.



  1. Ramiah,

    A little part of me is glad that I’m not in Ithaca right now to share in the joy you all seem to be exuding. My eyes can be sensitive to bright lights and from reading your blogs right now it seems as though you’re all BEAMING with joy over how well you’ve done. Between the bright smiles and the gleaming eyes, if you’re all in the same room together it could be blindingly bright.

    One thing that I have learned from all of your blogs is the importance of being 100% sure that we’ve prepared you for this trip. I know that we provided you with the books and the constant needling to prepare you all in that way but we’ve learned from the Hotelies that we need to prepare all of you with software and training to make your job easier. And, for what I’m reading in this last blog from you, we need to make sure that you have the tools necessary to upload your photos and video clips. We learn as we go, Ramiah, and hopefully we won’t make the same mistakes twice.

    For the record, Ramiah—and I can’t speak for Mr. Ramsey or Ms. Kronenberg—but when I read your comment about how much you came to appreciate your own home, my face lit up with a big grin and a thunderous laugh.

  2. I just concluded writing to Julia and I want to say to all you young ladies that it is not the end, but is another chapter in your life. All of you have worked hard and earned the right to have this memorable time documented in your life. Each of you have made the most out of this opportunity and so your success is attributable to your efforts.

    Ramiah, no matter where you decide to attend school we will be proud. I do however hope that you will attend a school that is worthy of your passion and talent. I do not want you to waste your abilities on a school that will not honor your talents. I attended and graduated from two UC's. One for undergraduate at UCLA and the other at Hastings College of the Law, both fine institutions. However, I know in my heart that if I had the maturity and discipline that I should have done as my brother and really got the most out of my talent.

    Regardless of what I should have done thirty years ago, you have the chance to do it for yourself. The decision to attend college has nothing to do with being close to home or even being away from home. The decision about where you will go to college must be based on what is best for Ramiah. This three weeks proved that you can do what is best for Ramiah and spend time gaining valuable experience and knowledge about the college experience.

    Now is the time to COME BACK HOME and work wtih Ms. Kim about finding how you can get the most out of your abilities and become even a stronger student. You want a school that will push you and challenge you to reach heights that you never thought you could reach. Cornell Summer Studies for High School students did just that!

    This is a good thing and I know that you have a big smile on your face because you were tested and you passed the test. You came out with flying colors and when your mother meets you at the airport to hug you it will be with the knowledge that you have grown so much. This is what we want for all of our ILC students. That having this experience made each of you a better person.

    Stay in touch with a lot of people, including us here at the ILC. We value your continued engagment. I just finished speaking to Bertha Romo who is a former ILC graduate at The University of Pennsylvania. We believe life long relationships are vital to making us a well rounded group of people. As Mr. Gosney said "maintaining relationships take work". I embrace work and I look forward to hearing who will be the lucky college to have you.

    The sky is the limit for you Ramiah. Harvard, Stanford, Yale or Cornell. It does not matter, all that matters is us reading a post that clearly showed us that we have done the right thing by having this program. And for that I am eternally grateful

    God Bless.

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

  3. Ramiah,

    You got an A- on a final on Plato at an Ivy League institution!!! Pretty good.

    You deserve to feel incredibly proud of your efforts -- and you did grow. You grew as a scholar (in every way -- continuing to polish and hone your work with disciplined resolve) and as a person (adapting to all that college life has to offer) and as a daughter (who now appreciates even more the efforts of her parents).

    When I think of your journey, I am beaming, too.

    I am very glad you are part of this program -- you validated all of OUR effort. Now, it's time to start to think about that famouse FIT -- honestly evaluate your priorities when you are working with Ms. Kim.

    As they say, "the best is yet to come" -- you've shown your potential now -- you know you are a successful competitor with the best and brightest.

    Keep us in the loop -- and please share your experiences with the Hercules students.

    Welcome home.