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


As I look back in my journey, I am astounded that I have been able to complete a summer college course at an Ivy League institution: Cornell University. Most importantly, I am privileged to be able to study under the direction of Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy, who have been some of the best instructors I have ever had. I think highly of them simply because of their contribution to the class and their extended depth of knowledge about the hospitality industry.

Taking this course has allowed me to confirm with conviction that studying business is a future prospect I plan on pursuing in the fall of 2010. The Hotel Operations Management course has given me a window filled with insights about the management realm, and ultimately, has provided me a head for business.

To prepare students, including myself, for the world of work, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy specifically have designed the course to emphasize teamwork and group projects. From the get-go, the Hotel School has always fostered group-learning style, which has prompted me to become a better leader. I, along with other students, have been tested all along during this three-week period to see if we can overcome challenges. After taking this course, I can say with assurance that I have learned how to share leadership, to play to another's strengths, and most importantly, to take on responsibility without necessarily taking ownership. These items, by far, are the tools that I have walked away with, and I plan on using them in my lifetime. For me, I believe it is necessary to apply and to utilize these tools. For example, I plan on executing my leadership and computer skills when I take over a school club this fall. This is just one instance, but I am positive that this will not be my last.

Furthermore, being at a college setting for 24/7 has prompted me to make my own decisions for myself. If anything, I must admit that this odyssey is a self-learning process. I have engaged myself with other school officials or representatives, as well as having the chance to meet other students from the East Coast and from countries abroad. Among some of the nations include China, Thailand, and Greece.

The chance of living a dorm life has proved to me that understanding people is key. Being in a household, filled with resourceful residential advisers and other talented students, has shown me what college is all about. The lengths that RAs travel (to put on special events and activities) have demonstrated to me that a wide range of people out there are willing to lend a hand and to take on positions of mentors.

During this three weeks, I have been able to better know my roommate named Remi Ojurongbe, who resides in Landover Hills, Maryland. She is studious, and as her roommate, I especially admire her patience and her flexibility. Having her by my side has allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After this whole experience, I have more drive for myself as an individual.

Being a Cornellian and a Hotelie has been a wonderful thrill for these past few weeks. This institution has a large wealth of academic opportunities available. In addition to that, the Hotel School is populated with professors at large and passionate students who are willing to seek work experience and to demonstrate professionalism and maturity. I respect Cornell University for its well-recognized staff as well as its endless opportunities of preparing students to become innovators in whatever realm they decide to pursue. To describe the campus, I have to say it is modern meets passé, enriched with many, many long-lasting traditions.

Will I apply to Cornell University? At this point, I am still deciding on whether this may be one of the schools that I might add to my list of possible institutions. I will have to say it is rather unfair if I just completely rule out this university, but I do see the light in this school. How much do I see in this school and will it be enough for me to apply are indeed two tricky questions I cannot straightaway answer.

As a member of the Ivy League Connection program, I have worked diligently for my gateway to success. It will eventually allow me to have my foot in the door, be in now or later down the line in the workforce. I have always taken my academic career seriously, but this program has allowed me to set higher standards for myself and to take on other novel challenges. Having the chance to study at one of the most-respected schools in the United States has been incredibly rewarding, which has only whetted my appetite for more. All in all, I have walked away from this program as a sharper student with a keen eye for academic success. If this program cannot do the trick, then what will?


  1. Stacy,

    Sounds like sending you to Cornell has paid off in spades all the way around.

    Congratulations on your successes at Cornell both in and out of the classroom.

    Whether you want to become an expert in the hotel business or some other field, no matter whether it’s at Cornell or the University of Timbuktu, you now have information and experiences from which to base your decisions and that’s what this was always supposed to be about. AND, you’ve mastered the fine art of blogging which will serve you well.

  2. Stacy,

    Mr. Ramsey here. Of all our students I have seen you grow the most. You have really taken all of this information and applied it to your life. Thanks for the open posts that allowed us to come into your "inner circle". From your reading I could tell that you trusted us and felt that we had your best interest at heart. For this I am thankful.

    The Ivy League Connection is about trust. It is about our students believing in our message about their talent and ability. Did we make a difference? From reading your posts, it appeared that being in this program was a life changing experience. I am thrilled that we made a difference and that you are now armed with the knowledge that you "can do anything" that you set your mind to.

    Yes, Cornell is a fantastic institution that has a lot of great programs, but in this country we have a ton of other schools that also are great. This is what makes America so great. Opportunity is rampant in this land and now you have seen, first hand, what an Ivy League University has to offer.

    Don't take this lightly, you just got baptized at any Ivy League College. Knowing this you can make it anywhere and I hope that you say it on your College Essay. Now is the time to send out a big shout to Ms. Kim notifying her that you are "coming her way" and that you are primed to get it done.

    Now is the time to redouble your efforts, come back to the City of Hercules and send the message that Hercules High School is on the map. You worked incredibly hard in the Hotel School. You earned your high marks and no one can take that from you.

    We are so proud of your accomplishments that words alone cannot convey our joy. Yes, joy! When Mr. Gosney and I spoke this afternoon we were just tickled pink by how well all of you had done. No investment could be better than what you six ladies gave us this summer and we now have a lot to brag about when we compare our scholarship program with others. And yes, people look at success and the ILC defines success.

    Thanks for being a success.

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

  3. Stacy,

    Great job and wonderful post.

    I was impressed with what I saw when I visited your class - and I am even more impressed with the program now.

    Thanks for sharing so much insight and taking the time to appreciate and analyze your entire experience.

    Whatever schools you do finally choose to apply to, I am sure they will be carefully chosen because you now have this experience to inform your decision.

    As Mr. Ramsey said, your time now with Ms. Kim will really shape your future choices. Use it well.

    You are a sharp student and you will be successful -- and we appreciate the effort you put into the program this summer.

    Welcome home.