Today, after taking my exhausting AP U.S. History test, I outlined my speech (Don had decided that I would be representing my cohort and delivering a speech to the school board) on a notecard and made my way over to the board meeting. I insisted on practicing my speech in the car, using an a memorization technique my theater teacher had taught me of rehearsing in different voices. I was still incredibly nervous about the speech, but at least my mom was entertained by my British accent.
|The board meeting was held here|
Arriving early, as is expected, I stood and chatted with the other ILCers while the board members held their closed session. Mr. Hillyer brought us outside to talk more about Penn (there seems to be no shortage of things to say about the program, each more interesting as we go). We were fortunate to have the agenda rearranged so that we were the first part of the meeting. The first four cohorts presented, each speech equally intimidating to my scrawny one.
By the time we reached the Penn group, my notecard had been flipped and fumbled with in every possible way as I had sat in my seat. Mr. Hillyer talked about the Penn program, introduced us to the board, and had me stand at the podium.
My heart stopped. This was the most important moment of my life.
No, I’m just kidding. But I did have to fight off nerves. Even though I love acting, public speaking is a little bit different, because you’re performing as yourself. I started my speech, struggling to find the right place to speak into the microphone, and trying to forget that this was on local television (being watched by hundreds of—tens of—okay, probably one viewer, my dad, who was sick at home). I managed to work my way through the speech trying my best to disguise my nerves. I still stuttered and my hands shook, but I think I did all right.
|The WCCUSD School Board|
In comparison to the other speeches, I tend to describe it as “pathetic” and “weak,” while my mother takes a more optimistic attitude with adjectives like “lean” and “efficient.”
Nice try, mom.
My mom assures me that my very brief speech was actually appreciated by the crowd, which had been listening to the ILC's many introductions. The rest of the presentations went smoothly, and Don went on to take photos of the group. Oyin and I joked about the picture while Don set us up in rows—we were reminded to smile, not to blink, not to look away from the camera, not to move, not to breathe…okay, we were allowed to breathe. But we all became statues for a few minutes as Don snapped pictures of us. Afterwards, we received some neat little certificates, and Mr. Hillyer finally got to meet our parents outside. We took a few pictures, and headed home.
The board meeting is one of the milestone events for the ILC while we're still on the West Coast, and getting to know the other members of my cohort and learning more about the program is really exciting. I'm very happy to be a part of this program and extremely proud to be going with this group of amazing people.