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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Inevitable Count Down

Counting down is becoming increasingly inevitable. Today was our last Tuesday; only four days left.We assumed our regular routine of breakfast and then the walk to McGraw Hall for lecture. We have started working with Karl Marx. Professor Kramnick started the lecture by telling us about how Marx did not invent socialism. (The professor uses the term socialism rather than communism because of the nonviolent and violent connotations respectively attached to them.)He then went into the life and times of Marx and then onto industrialism and factories. Professor Kramnick continued with Marx's relation to Locke, labor, and surplus value. We only got this far today, but will be picking up the ball with Marx's concept of alienation tomorrow. We did, however, begin to discuss this idea in our discussion group. It is a tricky concept to understand, but I do believe that I have grasped it rather well. The foundation of the argument is that when people sell their labor for a certain wage they lose the personal connection with their product. The example the professor gave was of an individual working in a shoe factory. Let us say that the shoes this person is making are worth one hundred dollars, but this individual is only paid three dollars per hour. It does not matter if the price of the shoes goes up to two hundred dollars, the individual will still only earn the three dollars an hour; meaning they do not directly benefit from the product they make. (Once again, I hope I am making sense.)

Another reminder that we are in our final countdown came with the last guest lecture. Today we were fortunate enough to hear from an Ithaca attorney who once fought for marriage of same sex couples here in New York state. He was very specific about using the phrase "marriage for same sex couples" rather than "same sex marriage" because going into the case they did not want to imply that it was somehow different than regular marriage. He did not win the case, but he does believe that in due time this the battle over the marriage of same sex couples will be looked back on much like the one of interracial marriage.

A special treat we got today was an extra discussion session with Professor Kramnick. It was basically an open question session for us to clarify anything we were yet uncertain about. It was optional, but of course Julia, Justine, and I stayed. It is helpful for me to hear the information again, even if I do not have any questions. Also, it is nice to hear other people's questions because by looking at something from a different perspective can lead to questions and concerns I had not even thought of.

We were supposed to eat dinner with Mr. Crossley today, however there was a mix-up with the time. We always meet for dinner at 5:30, but he thought we said 6:30. We waited for him for a while, and ended up being able to check in with him at the Appel dining hall; however we did not eat with him.

We had to rush to office hours after checking in with Mr. Crossley. Mr. Desmond offered to hold a review session based on the feminists we covered last week: de Gouge, Wollstonecraft, and Mill.It was definitely very beneficial to attend this informal discussion session. Mr. Desmond really broke them down in simple terms to make sure that we have a good grasp on their concepts.

I also got to talk with my roommate more in-depth. Her name is Jessica Schnee and she is from Nassau county, Long Island. She is a rising senior and goes to public school. Jessica is taking the psychology class and likes it a lot. It leaves her with plenty of free time and she really likes that. The reason she decided to take psychology is because her older sister, who is a rising senior at University of Buffalo, is a psychology major. She therefore wanted to see what it is about and did not have room for A.P. Psychology in her schedule for next year. Jessica also wanted to get a head start on her college credits. She will definitely be applying to Cornell and it is amongst the top schools on her list. I must say, I am very glad because Jessica and I have truly bonded while here. I will sincerely miss her when it comes time for us to part, but we will be keeping in touch.



  1. Ramiah,

    I have to say that the three of you seem to be the most coordinated team I’ve seen in the ILC since it first started. You all seem to be so well prepared, you work closely together and you take steps above and beyond what most students would take to make sure you’re on top of your studies.

    I’m amazed and impressed but not really surprised. From your first interviews I’ve been impressed and had you not done any of the above I would have been surprised.

  2. A well written post. You all seem very confident and comfortable with your class and how it has gone through the weeks. I would strongly suggest that each of you send a card of thanks to your interviewers, Ismail Ramsey, Wally Gordon and Judge Joni T. Hiramoto for having the wisdom to select you.

    It seems that they had an eye for talent. Glad that you have made them proud. However, you need to remain vigilant and finish the course on a strong note.

    Take care.

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