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, July 4, 2009

The First Holiday Here

Good afternoon. (:

It's Saturday! The forecast predicted an end to the seemingly ceaseless rain, and so far, it has been correct. BUT IT IS FREEZING! This is officially the coldest it's ever been. The wind is roaring outside, but at least the rain has stopped. Hopefully the sun will come out soon. Let's stay hopeful.

Today, there was a Fourth of July Carnival. There were only a few machines, like a sumo wrestling inflatable and a moon bounce. There was also cotton candy and popcorn. Not too many people were there when we arrived. We stayed for a few minutes, and now we are back in our dorms.

The rest of the day has yet to be planned. I will try to find out information about meeting with an alum. Until then, I will be working on my Plato essay. I won't be able to finish it, because our TA Des does not have office hours until tomorrow. He did, however, stress that he could be contacted via e-mail for any questions. He has been really great with being available for students to talk to him and come to him with any questions or concerns they may have. He challenges us each day with stimulating conversation and scenarios which force us to think outside the box and away from our comfort zones. He even pushes us with our writing. He will spend hours on end writing individual, five paragraph long comments for each student's paper. It's amazing. I do not know how he does it. He is hard on us, but he is not intimidating. He always asks us for feedback. He never acts like he's better than us and he is never unapproachable. I am really happy with our TA, and I feel like being with him will give me all that much more to walk away with when I leave this beautiful campus.

Hope all is well, readers.

- xoxo, Julia.

P.S. HAPPY JULY 4TH! Have a wonderful Californian celebration.


  1. It is freezing here as well!!! I guess the East Coast meets the West Coast. Also congratulations you win the prize, you are the one that made the century mark post.

    Yes, the Cornell blog has made it to 100 and you have not begun your final week of classes. Your group did a lot better than our Cornell cohort from last year and remember we had eleven of them on campus last year! Man, what an improvement. No disrespect to our 2008 ILC group, but we have improved a lot!

    Julia, you can find alums right on campus and you don't have to go far. It would be great to just walk and find someone to talk with at one of the libraries on campus. Alums spend a lot of time on campus. The Dairy Bar is probably open and they may be there to share a story over a scoop of Ice Cream or you can go to the book store. Never feel shy about talking to people who are on campus. They love to share their experience. Sometimes spontaneous meetings can be the most interesting and stimulating.

    My understanding is that Justine's roommate had a sister who graduated from Cornell. As a "legacy student" she may have some insight about what it is like for a student to graduate from this prestigious institution.

    I loved the final part of your post. It must be a great feeling knowing that your TA wants to see you grow and get better. I loved reading how he works very hard at giving you constructive criticism on your assignments. This will only serve you well in the future. My best work always occurred after a TA had gone "hog wild" with the red marker.

    I hope that at the end of the class that you and the other ILC students in the Freedom and Justice Course present him with a small token of your appreciation.

    Also invite him to visit our district, last year Professor Kramnick came to El Cerrito High School. So, it would be good to reinvite Professor Kramnick and Des, I am sure they could impart some good wisdom to our student body at Hercules High School.

    Now back to my own thoughts. Cornell, ah Cornell. What about Cornell has truly grown on you? I am pleased that you see the value and greatness in this academic institution. It has produced some great leaders in this world. Remember you want to be a lawyer and hopefully one day a judge. Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Cornell in 1954. She nows serves on the United States Supreme Court. One thing that you should research is how active are the Cornell women alums. They have a strong network and when you return you should email Heather Metland about her involvement with the women alumni association with Cornell. They are very strong and have a great time with each other.

    Your post the other day really gave me hope because your thoughts mirror mine which makes me feel good. I want my daughters to go through the same analysis that you have followed in now seeing that highly selective PRIVATE SCHOOLS should be the priority. This is nothing against the UC's or CSU's, but the highly selective colleges and universities have earned that title for a reason.

    No, the Ivy League Connection is not about getting into Ivy League Schools, but it promotes students when having the opportunity to learn in an environment that fosters development and growth of the whole person. So, yes, continue your exploration and review of Cornell. I would strongly encourage you visit the student newspaper and just spend some time talking to those who are working in that department.

    Nothing big going on here in El Cerrito. I plan to walk through the annual BBQ event down the street, but probably will try to stop by in Hercules. Hey, I may even run into one of your family members.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for being consistent about posting your comments to the blog page. We want to make sure that next year our students have a clear picture of what awaits them when they head to Ithaca.

    Take care.

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

  2. Julia,

    Am I looking at the same Ithaca? I’ checking my AccuWeather chart and it says that even at 7:30 your time it’s still 67 degrees (down from the peak of 72 earlier). And that’s what you call freezing? That’s right about at the high end of my comfort zone.

    It’s a shame that the carnival wasn’t all that well attended. Sometimes you need to put in something of a presence just to validate to others that it was worth their time and effort to put it all together. After all, it was for your benefit and not theirs. But at least you got some popcorn and cotton candy out of it—and a nice group photo.

    Like Charles, I hope you let your RA’s and TA’s know just how much their efforts made your experience a better one. A few words of thanks goes a long way.