Once in a while, you have an experience that surprises you and changes your life. The ILC is predictable in giving students that experience, year after year. Over the past few days, I've had time to reflect on my time as a part of the Ivy League Connection, and it's mind-blowing that everything I've learned and everything I've done has all come from a few wonderful people in one school district in California. For the amazing gift they've given me and scores of other WCCUSD students, I'd like to thank Charles Ramsey, Madeleine Kronenberg, and Don Gosney.
This summer started with a few emails from Don about applications and essay prompts and ended with a hug from my parents at the airport.
My Social Justice essay took too long to perfect (I could nitpick punctuation for an eternity) and the interview blew by, then the applicants were stuck in a room with our hearts in our throats while we prayed for our names to be called. You'd think that after letting me in to Women and Leadership last year, the ILC would know better, but I was extremely lucky; the ILC handed me another scholarship, this time to Penn. We sped through the dinner, the tutorial, the school board meeting, and the orientation, and after about a billion and a half emails from Don (written, proofread, and set in ALL CAPS and bright red with care), we were on a plane together, ready for it all to begin. We had a preview of what makes each college unique from all of the college visits before the class started, and once it did, we were as ready as we could be to learn.
Each day of Social Justice was a different collection of stories told by a few new people (I often found myself wondering, "Where the heck does Andy find these people? Where can I find them?") who shared pieces of their lives with us. I can't remember a single bad day, and I can't choose one best lesson, because it was the combination of all of them together that really made Andy's class so special. It's hard to say how Social Justice has changed me. I'm looking at the world through a different lens and trying to stay aware of my privilege. I hope to be a voice for the voiceless, now, on a small scale, and in the future, on a larger scale.
The ILC has given me an unforgettable experience and a set of lessons that will last a lifetime. To everyone who made this possible, thank you.