Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Cameron Fulton's Aunt

The Ivy League Connection was very valuable for Cameron in so many ways. It has taught him that perseverance pays off with a feeling of great accomplishment. His uncle and I believe that he now realizes that it is so easy to give up on a goal or a dream. There are no regrets however, when you know that you have done all you know to do to reach your destination and it comes to reality. It has given Cameron a sense of pride and growth in so many areas. He is learning accountability and responsibility to a higher level. Being involved with the ILC has stirred some self motivation in him to manage his time more effectively, developing skills needed to succeed in life.

Before the ILC, Cameron had expressed that he did not want to leave California for college. Now he is very open to venture out. He enjoyed meeting students from other countries as well as other states. He learned time management with getting to class on time, understanding that the ritual he goes through with getting dressed for the day does not need to take so long. I laughed at his blog where he said, “I learned how to get to class from my bed in 30 minutes.”

His experiences with the different outings were unforgettable. The restaurants, the different types of food he was exposed to and the willingness to try them shows growth. Cameron, like myself, had issues with trying anything new, especially if it looks different from what we are used to (e.g. pig face). Now he is more adventuresome in that area.

His dorm life, and meeting new people was such a great experience for him that he now is willing to go out of state to school. He is very interested in Northwestern University, as it has everything that interests him. They have mechanical engineering, D1 sports as he plays baseball, and they have a great music department. He plays saxophone and loves jazz. He will be applying to UPenn, and NYU as well just to name a few of his choices.

We would like to sincerely thank Charles Ramsey, Madeline Kronenberg, and Don Gosney for this great opportunity for Cameron. It has given him the belief that he too can succeed in the environment of an Ivy League University, and this experience will last him a lifetime.

Thank you again, ILC
Karen Bolden

From the Mother of David Barba

I first heard about the Ivy League Connection when David came home one day from school and just started talking about it. I was amazed that there was a program like the Ivy League Connection right in our school district, helping our students go beyond their full capabilities. I had my doubts of the program being a full scholarship because it was an Ivy League program, but David took me straight to the ILC website to prove. I have always wanted my children to have a better life than me: to explore the world, to have no worries, and be happy. The only way for them to reach this was by education, so I pushed David to go for the program.

After our conversation about the ILC, I knew it in my heart he would get accepted because he stopped doing his regular activities during the winter break and was focused on the program. His face was so focused on getting in, that when I finally heard that he had made the interview, I was glad to see him smiling again. The interview process was really nerve racking having to wait for everyone to go up, and then an extra hour for the final decisions. While we waited, I can remember him being ready to jump out of his chair, thinking that he was not going to be accepted. I remained hopeful and told him that he still had a chance because he gives himself high standards, and from personal experience as being his mother, he almost always does very well. As the results were being announced, he was surprised to have been accepted. The night ended with excitement for the whole family.
As the months passed, along with each of the events, I could see David’s excitement towards the program. I was a bit nervous myself as a mother, because he has never been away from home for more than a one or two days. The physics program was a month, which made me worry once he was there. After talking with him for the first week, his voice sounded very excited and I could tell by the blogs that he was having lots of fun, which helped take away my worries.

The ILC has opened the world to David, which he was able to do because he always worked hard in school. My family would like to thank Mr. Ramsey, Don Gosney, and Ms. Kronenberg for giving David this wonderful opportunity and for their dedication to help the students of our community to go beyond California. I would also like to thank Ian Lawrence, his chaperone, for the excellent care of the students. David seems more ambitious than ever now, because the Ivy League Connection has shown him hard work does pay off. Once again, thank you to everyone from the Ivy League Connection.

Silvia Barba

From the Mother of Mariko Whitenack

I would first like to express appreciation for the extraordinary opportunities the ILC program provides WCCUSD students.  When Mariko first heard of the ILC program two years ago, I was impressed that a program of such vision and scope existed in the WCCUSD.  As a graduate of El Cerrito High School many years ago, I was one of many classmates who applied only to the University of California Berkeley and did not even consider applying to any universities outside of California.  The entire ILC process requires that students demonstrate maturity and personal responsibility, including time management and interpersonal skills.  The ILC application requires that applicants develop thoughtful written and verbal responses to challenging questions. The ILC dinners expose students to alumni from select schools who describe their experiences of undergraduate, postgraduate, and career choices. Through helping to develop the U Penn group blog site and arrange for college tour dinners, Mariko was required to deal with the challenging responsibility of meeting deadlines and arranging logistics.  The college tours and the mentorship programs allow the students to interact with admissions officers, current students, and alumni; to become familiar with expectations of the application and selection process; and to hear individual insights into the academic, cultural, and social environments of specific colleges.

I was excited when Mariko applied to and was accepted to the ILC program in experimental physics at the University of Pennsylvania.  Experimental physics seemed like an ideal subject for Mariko to apply the enthusiasm for math that she had gained from many exceptional math classes at ECHS to a field with so many real life applications.  Mariko’s experience attending the 4-week experimental physics course was phenomenal.  The curriculum, faculty, and lab facility were exceptional. The course enabled her to get a sense of the level of academic preparation and dedication experienced at selective universities.  The rigorous course provided Mariko an opportunity to process the strengths and challenges of her WCCUSD education.  She also experienced the gender composition of her class, which reflected that of a field marked by one of the lowest representations of women in the sciences. While she reported initial challenges, she emerged with an increased sense of confidence as well as perspective as to which sorts of colleges might provide the academic, physical, and social environment with the best fit. The visits to Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University enabled Mariko to consider opportunities in regions of the country she had never experienced. 

I appreciate the dedication and efforts of Charles, Don, and Madeline in developing, coordinating, and sustaining the ILC program for WCCUSD.  Many thanks also to Ian for taking excellent care of the U Penn group of students.  I hope that the returning ILC students take the opportunity to share with their fellow students their experiences of the opportunities that selective colleges offer, the academic rigor required, and intellectual rewards gained.  Mariko is extremely fortunate to have benefited from the life-changing experience the ILC has afforded her.  The WCCUSD ILC program serves as a model that many other school districts could seek to emulate to provide such invaluable experiences to their students.

Catherine Chin