Excitement ran through me as I discovered I would make my epic return to the glorious city of Philadelphia for another year of work with the Ivy League Connection. As luck would have it, I would be working side by side for another year with Don Gosney, who holds the fort down better than anyone and is a constant pleasure to work with. The University of Pennsylvania is one of my favorite schools that I have visited and worked with due to its location on the edge of the urban metropolis, and ability of their school to get back emails to the teachers (You would be surprised how hard it can be to communicate with some schools!). The WCCUSD also currently has 2 alumni students attending the school, one of which is a former AP student of mine, Roger Pharn. I knew that I had a ton of information and ideas I wanted to share with my cohort and as soon as Don gave the green light to meet with the students I set up a nice little dinner on the edge of Berkeley where the best pizza is served.
The students arrived on time, even Donna waited for an hour before to make sure she was on time. The importance of punctuality is crucial in becoming a young professional so these kids had it done perfectly. Bryan was absent from the evening due to a previous engagement he could not get away from. We ordered our food and proceeded to wait 40 minutes (because its deep dish!) and dived into the ILC program. We started by introducing ourselves and the kids instantly started a great rapport with me and with each other. They were able to share some funny and interesting items with each other that make them unique and slowly their personalities came out.
Some of the items I explained included acting professionally, our agenda for the trip (the first 5 days are a whirlwind as we will be going from DC, to NY to Philadelphia in a short amount of time), what to expect when on the east coast and of course, how to deal with home-sickness. Personally I have been on long trips away from home so we talked about how to deal with new places and new people. The philosophy of the ILC was brought up so that the students understand just what they are getting themselves into. The district is attempting to broaden the choices for our students outside of California while at the same time providing them with some of the best educational opportunities in the world. The hope is that these students will return to their neighborhoods after graduating to help our community continue to develop. It is a lot of pressure to put on these kids, but its not a bad thing to ask a lot from them, and nothing they can't handle.
We completed our meal and following some more questions and follow up I successfully overwhelmed the students and gave them lots to think about. We are all looking forward to the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday where we will present our 'Awesomeness' to the community of Richmond and West Contra Costa. Each event brings us a step closer to Philadelphia and I am excited :)