Sunday, June 26, 2011

Good Company, Good Food and a New Chaperone

Alex Elms, Mario Miranda, Don Gosney, Brian Seegers & Julie Martien
Before heading to the City of Brotherly Love later this week the UPenn cohort gathered at Salute’s Ristorante in the Richmond Marina for a social gathering to meet our new UPenn chaperone.

Mario Miranda, history teacher extraordinaire at El Cerrito High School and five time ILC chaperone, has volunteered to fill a void and escort our legion of three to the UPenn Physics Academy and other points east.

To reinforce the nature of this social occasion the dress code was casual (although I dressed up by wearing long pants, a shirt without flowers on it and shoes that covered my toes).  I left my cameras in the car and we didn’t have any scheduled speakers.  We were there just to get to know each other a little better—our three students, their parents, Mario and me.

Oh, and we thought we’d throw in a nice meal and  few selections from the dessert tray.

Many thanks to Sandi Potter who just happened to have her handy dandy digital camera handy to snap a photo.

The Road Before Me...

The day is approaching! This Thursday morning, I will be saying farewell to California for an entire month to begin my journey at Penn. As the time between now and my departure lessens, my anticipation grows exponentially. All of the preparation I’ve gone through to get to this point is finally coming to fruition. This Friday, I will be touring Georgetown University. This Saturday, I will be dining with a Penn Pre-Major Advisor and a current Penn undergrad. Most importantly, next Tuesday, I will begin the Penn Experimental Physics Academy, the program that will hopefully help me start building my career as an engineer. Yes, all of these plans and more have me extremely anxious for Thursday morning. Recent events have also caused me to reflect upon my situation…

If you’ve been following my blogs thus far (and thank you if you have been!), you know that the Ivy League Connection orientation really made it click for me that I would soon be embarking on a life-changing journey. Ever since then, my excitement has been mounting. I have had to do several things in that time that made me analyze the opportunity that I’ve been given. For instance, I’ve had to confirm my group’s plans with Bruce Chamberlain, the Northern California Admissions Representative from Georgetown University, June Chu, a Penn Pre-Major Advisor, and Margaret Wang, a current Penn undergrad. As I contacted each of our guests, I thought to myself how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to speak with them face-to-face. This re-emphasized how important it is for me to relay these encounters in my blogs because I can use my experiences to help students that do not have the same opportunities to meet college officials.

There are individuals out there who believe that the Ivy League Connection only touches those students who participate in the program. This is simply not true. With the information that the ILC is able to bring back to the WCCUSD, I believe that it has extended its influence to the vast audience of college-bound students in this district. I will continue to help the ILC communicate the importance of a college education and the opportunities that are out there to the best of my abilities. I am ready and willing to report what I learn from these encounters as best I can for my fellow WCCUSD students.

Another recent event that has made me impatient for Thursday was dinner with our chaperone, Mario Miranda. The Penn cohort, along with all of our parents and Don, met for dinner tonight at the Salute e Vita Ristorante. We were able to learn a little bit more about our chaperone and enjoy a fine meal in the process. I enjoyed a wonderful dish of Spaghetti Bolognese and an even more delicious slice of New York Cheesecake for dessert.

On par with this excellent food was the outstanding conversation, especially since we were able to learn more about our chaperone. Mr. Miranda is very friendly and knowledgeable when it comes to chaperoning because he has done it for the ILC for five out of the program’s six years. Dinner was a joy. We discussed everything from local politics to the El Cerrito Forensics Team (yes, I had to sneak in a little discussion about forensics). Of course, we also discussed several aspects of our travel agenda and important things that our group needed to know about living at Penn. Getting together as a group was certainly a treat. We even capped off the evening with a group photo of the Penn cohort. The tables were turned and even Don was on the other end of the camera with us.

Only three days remain between now and my departure. For quite some time now, I have been counting down the days until I will be leaving home for a new adventure. Now that the final few days are here, my schedule will be hectic and the minutes will not pass quickly enough. My next seventy-two hours will be spent packing, saying good-bye to a few friends, and taking care of any last-minute arrangements. Hopefully the time flies so that I may follow my fellow ILC scholars to the East…