Monday, June 2, 2014

Where It All Began

I arrived at Pinole Middle School for the Ivy League Connection orientation tonight with quite a lot of excitement. This event was not only where all the students of the program gathered together to discuss about our trips, but it was also the last event for the ILCers before we head to the East Coast.

To everyone else, holding the ILC orientation at Pinole Middle School might just only be another nice campus to have the event. Since the school was where I had attended my 7th and 8th grade years, it sort of held a deeper meaning to me (as silly as it sounds). Middle School was oddly enough one of the biggest turning points of my life. Besides the fact that it was when I had first heard about the Ivy League Connection through my brother who had participated in the program, it was the time that I had truly felt the motivation to challenge myself academically in any way possible. And there I was, at the school for the ILC orientation, participating in yet another event that will no doubt be another great turning point and milestone event in my life.

Once we all got situated in the multipurpose room, Don started the orientation off with a discussion which was mostly on what to bring to the East Coast, what is to be expected of us, and a revitalization on the purposes behind our journey. Don had a bunch of loaner items around the room that he laid out for us to see. The large variety of items consisted of travel bags and bed sheets to cameras and portable fans.
Middle College High School Participants of ILC 
After a general discussion of our trip, all the ILCers, parents, and chaperones were broken up into our own group of cohorts to go over our individual programs. The UPenn group met up in one of the classrooms down the hall which was marked with our respective school flag by Don so we knew where each of the cohorts would meet up. Mr. Hillyer talked for a while about “safety first” and passed out papers on the general itinerary of the UPenn trip. Now came the exciting part. Mr. Hillyer went over the itinerary starting off with the departure day and the hotel we will stay at before we move into our dorms. He went into more detail about our trip by talking about the dorms, what we should bring, and even homesickness. An interesting part of the discussion was how the weather at UPenn was described as blazing hot outside while the dorms were described as “meat locker cold” due to the air conditioning inside. Then, Mr. Hillyer listed the college tours we will go on including all these cool places we will visit such as Columbia, Princeton, the Smithsonian, and the 4th of July concerts in Philadelphia. All these amazing plans for only the first week in the East Coast has gotten me so much more excited than I ever was. We settled back in the multipurpose room after our small break out session and Don and Ms. Kronenberg continued the orientation by going more in depth about loaner items and our departure day.

At this point, we have all felt the utmost appreciation for the Ivy League Connection. Like Ms. Kronenberg had pointed out, the West Contra Costa Unified School District is a one-of-a-kind district that has this program available for studentsall organized through volunteer work. They have helped fund for the tuition for our college class, books, food, transportation, and so much more. And on top of that, Don even spent quite a fortune on buying a lot of supplies for us to loan out. Summer is slowly approaching and I can not wait to travel to the East Coast! 

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