We gathered at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station to begin the night. In addition to my mom, Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Don, Brian, Julia, and my cohort’s parents, I was pleasantly surprised to see some other familiar faces that would be joining us for dinner. First was my chaperone from last year, Ms. Sewellyn Kaplan. It had been quite some time since I had the opportunity to speak with her extensively, so seeing her last night was quite a treat. I also did not expect to see Ms. Bulls last night, but thankfully I was able to enjoy her company as well. The most surprising though, was my friend and former policy debate mentor Cristina Pelayo, who will soon be completing her first year at Penn. I could tell just by the turnout at the BART station that last night would be very memorable.
I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to Ms. Bulls on the ride to San Francisco. Despite the roar of the train, we had an excellent conversation about ways that I can make myself appear unique and stand out amongst my peers when applying to college next year. We also expressed our mutual joy for the end of AP testing (woo hoo!), as well as our excitement for our respective Ivy League excursions this summer. I could not have asked for better company for the train ride over.
Beth offered another perspective. She too told me about Penn’s faculty, atmosphere, etc, but she also gave me a look at the inner-workings of the admissions process at Penn. She told me that personal essays and the Penn interview were critical parts to the application because they allowed prospective students to speak a bit more extensively about themselves. Beth said that even though the interview does not hold much initial weight in the overall decision, it mainly acts as a tool used to make-or-break a student if the admissions committee is on the fence about whether that person will fit in at Penn. Both Luis and Beth were very generous to give me so much information and I appreciate the different perspectives of Penn I was able to receive. Where Luis provided a more “boots in the mud” point of view, Beth gave me a look at her view from the inside. I must say, Mr. Ramsey’s seating strategy worked out especially well for me.
My speech followed Beth’s and I was quite nervous. I hadn’t actually given a speech for quite some time and I felt a bit rusty, so I was a little shaky. I got through it though and managed to say what I needed to without stumbling over myself. I did make one mistake however. I stated that I would never be able to repay the ILC for all that they have done for me. I would like to amend that by saying that I feel I will never be able to fully repay the ILC, but I will do my best to give back to the community and the ILC by sharing my experiences and my knowledge with the students here in the WCCUSD.
Mr. Ramsey concluded the speeches by discussing how far the ILC has come, what it is doing for students in the District, the connections it has made with prestigious colleges, and how it has played such an important role in the lives of everyone involved since its formation. Mr. Ramsey capped off the speeches very well and a wonderful evening followed.