Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lesson on Preparation

I had had a bad day, the kind everyone experiences every once in a while. As I hurried out the door Wednesday evening, I was not going to let the day's events spoil the momentous evening ahead at the Hercules City Council Meeting. Unfortunately, I nearly did by arriving late, almost a sort of brush-with-death experience as the embarrassment reminded me of what a privilege it was to be an Ivy League Connection participant and what responsibilities came with the role.
As the event began and I finished scribbling a speech, I clumsily got my arm stuck in the crevice of a chair while reaching for my pen, thinking, "Oh dear, this is going on the blog."

Even though I had sat in on a couple of City Council meetings before with fellow Hercules High student Justin Bautista Jones, who by now is famous with the Council, addressing the Hercules City Council was quite a new experience. I’m not proud that I felt almost like a nervous wreck inside. As an ILC student who is only human and not immune to stage fright, I know the importance of recognizing one’s flaws and working to fix them. That night I listened with the utmost admiration for the many fellow ILC students who spoke with confidence, spoke from the heart with no need of notes scrawled on tiny, creased sheets of paper.

Mr. Ramsey and previous ILC participants have expressed what a transforming experience it is to be part of this program, both for individual students and eventually for their community. In light of this, I dream of returning from Cornell and telling everyone how the life-altering ILC experience helped me mature, taught me how to handle myself in a variety of situations and conquer public speaking. A host of experiences await us this summer, and I know they will reinforce in me the strength and confidence to be independent, to compete with other talented students from across the globe, and to take control of my own destiny.

My First City Council Meeting

I am 16 going on 17, and I have always lived in the city of Hercules, Ca. I attended Tiny Tots and Pre-school in Hercules. I attended Hercules Elementary School until it was renamed Lupine Hills Elementary School, and as a fifth grader I was part of the first ever graduating class of Lupines Hills. I went on to attend Hercules Middle School and now, I am a junior at Hercules High School.
That’s why I understand if it seems a little bit unusual that the May 24th Hercules City Council meeting was the first one I’ve ever attended.

I could feel sad about that, but I’m just happy that I finally went to one.

I was told that as an ILC student, I was expected to say a few words at the meeting. I still don’t know how to prepare a speech, so I didn’t attempt to write a “legit speech”. I ended up just talking about how I felt again and I did get a few laughs, which I hear is a good thing.
The day after the meeting, Beilul Naizghi and I were sitting in our A period journalism class when our teacher Natalie Wojinski (who is a Hercules resident) praised us for doing a good job at the Council meeting. She had watched the entire thing on television. This came as somewhat of a surprise for us, even though both of us obviously knew that many people watch these meetings. For me, it was just the fact that someone we knew, someone we see and talk to everyday, had watched us speak. I guess it was an eye-opener, because at the actual City Council meeting, the Hercules City Council members had also listened both intently and graciously. People actually care about what we have to say.