The dinner at Scala’s Bistro with the UPenn Ivy League Connection was both exquisite and thoroughly enjoyable. As decadent as the food was, what made the night exceptional was not the meal, but rather the company. Despite the fancy attire and silver platters the mood in the room was genuinely welcoming as Mrs. Kronenberg’s opening speech was interspersed with the occasional witty comment from alumni Phil Schlein (‘57).
After the introduction, Beth Topor (‘80) talked briefly about leadership and what it takes to succeed in a leadership role – words I took to heart as they are particularly relevant to what I will be experiencing when I return from the program as I help spread the word about the Ivy League Connection.
After a speech of gratitude from Alex Elms and a delicious salad, the main course was presented and the small groups at each table began chatting amongst themselves.
I was fortunate enough to be seated with School Board member Tony Thurmond, the Assistant Principal of Pinole Valley High School Yolanda Bulls, and UPenn alumni Mahendra Prasad ('04). Each one of my tablemates had an interesting perspective and valuable advice to give.
Yolanda, having been through the program as a chaperone once before, assured me that the most important part of the trip was to make the most of my time there by submerging myself in the culture of the school and identifying the unique qualities at each of the schools I would be visiting.
Tony Thurmond, a resident of Philadelphia for twenty years, described the must-see places such as the beautiful walk along the Schuylkill River. Mahendra discussed the possible dorms I might be living in as well as what dorm life was like for him. He also gave some helpful hints as to how to survive the summer weather.
The speakers at the dinner and discussions at our table about both the University of Pennsylvania and each individual’s personal college experience got me more excited about the program than I have been since my acceptance. Conversing with a group of genuine and intelligent members of society who are passionate about education gave me a taste of what is in store for me this summer at UPenn.