Sunday, May 15, 2011


Last Wednesday evening, I managed to wait as long as possible (I couldn’t bear to leave and miss the Celtics game of course) before heading over to BART to meet up with my ILC cohorts to go to the fabulous restaurant Town Hall in San Francisco. Surprisingly, I was able to arrive at around the same time as everyone else, even beating Mr. Ramsey by a whopping two minutes. I was a bit nervous about the dinner going in, and the sight of Don in a fancy suit did not settle these nerves. For those who have not met Don, he is a more casual man, who even told me the first time I met him that I would “never see him dressed up anymore than his usual button-down shirt and khaki shorts,” so needless to say, seeing him in a nice suit showed that this would be a very serious dinner. Fortunately, the dinner turned out to be fun as well as serious.
Once we got inside our private dining room, I began looking for my place card while the adults drank their wine. I found my seat relatively early and instantly became jealous of fellow students Jobel, Kevin, and Terilyn, who were fortunate enough to sit at the same table. I was a bit nervous about sitting with more strangers than people I actually knew, but that too turned out to be a great experience. Seated at my table were my mom, Joe Arciniega and his mom Melissa, School Board member Mrs. Kronenberg, Hercules assistant principal Ms. Terri Ishmael, Cornell alums and classmates Bill Vederman ('63) and Peter Lee ('63), and the self-proclaimed youngest alumni, Ms Irma Anderson ('55).
The boisterous crowd made it quite difficult to hear across the table however, so I never really had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Ishmael or Ms. Anderson. Lucky for me, I happened to be seated directly next to the most entertaining and insightful guest at the whole dinner, Mr. Peter Lee (class of ’63). Now I know all of my cohorts will blog about how they were at the best table and that they had the best alums to talk to, but I am afraid that simply is not true. I can say with complete confidence that Peter Lee will be by far one of the most interesting people I will ever meet. He happened to be a guest of honor of sorts (of course) and even gave a speech about what opportunities Cornell gave him. My fellow ILCers Taylor and Terilyn also gave nice speeches, and they happened to be lucky enough to speak before Mr. Lee went up and worked his magic.
Peter instantly made me feel comfortable as soon as I met him, and he asked all the questions I would have expected, “what’s your best subject, what is the program about,” and the question alums seemed required to ask, “Are you planning on going to Cornell for college?” Once he began telling me about his experiences at Cornell did I fully realize that the ILC was giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity in attending a class at Cornell. Both my parents had gone to Cornell, so I was clearly going to be considering that as a potential college for me, but Peter told me something about Cornell that got me even more excited about this program, which I did not think was humanly possible. Peter Lee explained to me that Cornell was not only a place where you could receive a fantastic education, but also “a place where you can make connections that will last a lifetime, which is really what college is all about.” I look forward to making these connections at the summer program I will be attending, and am now looking forward to college more than ever, thanks to Mr. Peter Lee.

1 comment:

  1. Nick,

    I’m not usually one to rise in anger but when you wrote and called me a liar I have to take exception to this. I had earlier written that the table I sat at was the best and I stand by that statement. Right now I’ll just assume it was your youthful ignorance that led you to challenge me on this. ☺

    I appreciate your comments about my attire. Trust me, Nick, this was not a comfortable way to dress for me. You can bet that within minutes of returning home I was stripped down to a more comfortable ensemble. I’ve lobbied long and hard to host these events at locales where we can dress properly but my arguments seem to fall on deaf ears.

    And for the record, I have quite a few suits because I attend enough events to demand that have a selection to choose from. But, for every suit I own, I also own at least 30 aloha shirts—and that’s the way thing ought to be.

    I have to agree, too, that the noise level was quite high. This was a situation where the noise level grew louder and as a result people spoke even louder just to be heard. It was a never ending back and forth. I was prepared to rise to challenge the room to quiet down. I wasn’t sure which would be more effective: rising and just shushing the crowd or rising and yelling to shut up. In the long run, it’s probably better that I did neither.

    And your comment about lifelong attachments, just look to Peter Lee and Bill Vederman who, after attending school together nearly a half century ago, are still pals. That says a lot.