5:12: I rushed out of my house, forgot to put my makeup on and was convinced my mother and I were going to be late to our mandatory “beat Mr. Ramsey to the BART station” date. However when we pulled up and parked my fears were eased because I could see small crowd with no Mr. Ramsey; I had beaten him there. I joined my cohorts in a penguin-like huddle as we waited for the rest of the sponsors, students and Mr. Ramsey to show up.
The ILC students, parents, sponsors, and leaders shuffled onto the BART train. Naturally the car is crowded, but we (the students) were able to sit within speaking distance from one another. The sophomores, i.e. Genevieve Simmons, Kelly Xi, and Nick Shebek (Jobel Vecino and Kevin Buensuceso are also sophomores; however they were not taking part in the conversation) were attempting to study for the AP World History test the following day, while Joe Arciniega and I (both of us are juniors) laughed and thought back on what we had “learned” in our AP World History class.
“Embarcadero Station” the BART driver said and we exited the train to begin the walk to the restaurant. I hadn’t been nervous before hand even though I knew I would have to give a speech at dinner, but now that dinner was getting closer I could feel myself start to get nervous.
The restaurant, I must say, was not what I was expecting. Not that I was disappointed by it at all, but rather I was expecting an extremely formal ballroom-like dining room. Instead the restaurant, from the first floor and outdoor tent took away some of my nervous apprehensions because it made me feel comfortable and like I was just going to dinner with a group of people who want me to do well, where there was no pressure on me to be overly prefect. However we were lead upstairs to a private dining area with a brick wall look, candles, and red trim windows. I was seated with my mother at a table with Mr. Ramsey, Sewellyn Kaplan ~ the Cornell chaperone from last year, Linda Cohen ~ the principal of Coronado Elementary School, Kevin MacQuarrie ~ the architect who designed my beautiful new high school, and Samantha Berg ~ an alumni of Cornell. I found myself spending the entire evening entertained by the running conversation Samantha Berg and I were having. In fact I want to credit my speech to her in part because she told me just to say what I felt, that speaking from the heart would hit people with a bigger impact than facts would and that is what I tried to do.
Samantha Berg graduated in ’09 from Cornell University with a major, as she said, that is a mouth full and now works for Palm in the city. I cannot thank her enough for her entertaining conversation and honesty. Thinking about college is always a scary thought for me, but Samantha put my nervous at ease with comments on the fact that no matter where I end up I will love college. She also told me good place to go for dinner and fun things to do while during the summer college program since she participated in the summer college program when she was my age. She also introduced me to Emily Wyffels who was a soccer player at Cornell University, which is of interest to me as a class one soccer player.
Of course there were many pictures taken by the camera wizard also known as Don Gosney. My favorite one (below) is of my new family =]. I cannot wait to spend three weeks of my summer with these amazing kids, and this dinner helped me realize that we were actually going to Cornell, that we had been selected and that we were the cream of the crop (so to speak). I am so thankful for the opportunities that the West Contra Costa Unified School District has given me, and continues to give me.