Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pinole Council Meeting

Well, tonight was probably the shortest Ivy League Connection event I’ve been to ever since I was accepted in December. We were in and out in only 2 hours. This does not, however, diminish from the responsibility that the twelve of us ILCers have to both our home town of Pinole, California, and to our community. Myself and eleven others had the honor of gracing the Pinole City Council chambers and tell the Council Members, who include such members as Roy Swearingen and Mayor Debbie Long, about the Ivy League Connection’s mission and ultimate goal.

Don gave a good and concise speech on what the Ivy League Connection stands for and how this is a unique chance to show more students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District that there are great colleges outside of California that they should shoot for. He then went on to say that this is the only program of its kind in the world and that all of those chosen for the Ivy League Connection are some of the best and brightest.

Here we are before the meeting.

Then, one at a time, we were called up as a cohort and every person in the group introduced themselves, what elementary and middle schools they went to, and what program they will be attending this summer and at what university. Unfortunately for Josh Gonzales, Bryan Moran, and me, we were the only ones there to represent our comrades. I know that extra pressure made me feel a bit more nervous but if it affected Bryan and Josh, they didn’t show it. They were cool, calm, and gave excellent deliveries. Bryan spoke the truth about working hard while we are on the East Coast and Josh really made us feel important, calling us ambassadors of the District and Pinole. 

Then, Loan Chung, Rochelle Yee, and Michael Vroom went up and knocked it out of the park, so to speak. They were eloquent and represented the gems that we have in Pinole that have a knack for giving great orations. Compared to such powerful words and dead on executions, I felt as if I was underprepared. But last week at the School Board meeting, it prepared me more for giving a speech. I of course thanked Don and the Pinole City Council, and told them that I plan on having a unique and rewarding time while at Yale and I will of course make memories that will last a lifetime. A short speech, but I felt that I did well at representing my comrades and their abilities as well. 

We then gathered for a picture with the Pinole Council. Don put his many years of photography experience to use and arranged us that he got all of our best sides.

I only hope that we Pinole members of the Ivy League Connection make the Council and the town proud. We are representing a small town in the Bay Area that probably no one has ever heard of, and yet we will show that we can compete against those kids who have rich parents. Who had a head start in life. Who had the opportunities handed to them that we have had to fight for. Those who will meet us at Cornell, Penn, Vanderbilt, Brown, Colombia, and Yale will remember the small town that helped nurture twelve young adults to compete against the nation’s privileged. We will show that we have the same grit and work ethic that will take us far. Just as far as the privileged kids’ parents. America is all about opportunity and having more than our parents had. Twelve kids from Pinole will do just that.

Here we are with the council members