Friday, June 6, 2014


Monday night on June 2nd we had our last organized event with the ILC and we are almost ready to leave for Brown. During the orientation the whole ILC group was shown the possible items we can borrow from Don to take with us for our trip. Let’s just say I will be asking for some of those items and was very excited when I found out that Don would have pink bed sheets. Jenny, Don and many others went over our guidelines for the trip. The do’s and don’ts were discussed; they are pretty reasonable rules and should not be difficult to follow. 

Though I did forget to follow one of the rules, I forgot to blog that night! Shame on me, now after a very stern email, I remembered that I had to blog. Now here I am writing my blog, I have found my solution to not forget to blog. Set a reminder and alarm clock to remind me to blog every night when I go to Brown.  

I cannot wait to get to Brown; I want it to be July 20th already!!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why Can’t we Just Leave Already?

From Magaly Rodriguez Arreola

Final thing on the agenda: check.

Orientation day had finally arrived and I, patiently waiting, was over with telling my parents over and over again to get me to places on time. Now they get a break for a while—same goes for me. I had a weight lifted off my shoulders when I also uploaded all the necessary documents just today with the help of the multitasker, Don.

I arrived three minutes before six so everyone was pretty much there already. I immediately recognized a whole bunch of friendly faces and I felt welcomed. Don began with introducing himself and going over things that he had already said before but our parents had not heard. My wonderful dad, after a long days work, went to the orientation with me (like he had a choice). He pretty much went to get all his questions answered and to be reassured that this was going to be a good experience for me. I noticed that he felt better when he heard that he was able to Skype with me while I'm at Brown.

We split into our personal sessions where our Brown 2 group had a one-on-one time with Jenny. My dad got to meet her and we went over the itinerary.  I cannot wait until we depart, just look at all the things we are doing. 
My dad being here with me was a special moment for me because it showed me that he has an interest in my education and he cares for my well-being. Sometimes dads have a hard time expressing these types of feelings to their teenage daughters but I love it when we bond like this.
At the end of the orientation, before I left, I took a picture with my Kennedy gals. I know that we were all thinking the same thing, why can't we just leave already?

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Final Orientation

The final orientation before we leave to Providence was today. We all gathered at Pinole Middle School around 6:00 pm today.
Don giving good advice

Don talked to are parents about the expectation they have for us and the manner in which we should act on are trip. He also talked about the type of things we should be packing and had a display out on a table for the students and parents to see.
Jenny talking about our trip to the parents
Jenny are chaperon took us a way to a class room where she had the chance to explain to the students and parents about the rules for the trip and answered some of the questions the parents had.She explained the time difference and how respect was very important to her. After the meeting Jenny joined my family in eating good tamales that my mother had made. Jenny really made my mom feel comforter  letting me go to Brown.
Thao a.k.a. Don look alike and I
Table of loner items 
I really enjoyed the the orientation today, Don made it really easy for the students and parents to understand what the expectations for the trip are. Now I cant wait until I leave for Providence!

Dressing Up Like Don Gosney!

Tonight was the last night where all of the Ivy League Cohorts would meet up for the Student-Parent Orientation. It was quite a stressful departure to Pinole Middle School because my mom accidentally left something at her work so we had to rush over there. At this moment it was already 5:45 PM, and I was getting nervous. Thank goodness that Pinole Middle School was not as far as I expected. It was a 6 minute drive from Hercules to the school. Once arriving at the school, I was trying to find Chiamaka Nwadike and Shanti Shrestha because we were coordinating something for our last meeting. What is this surprise? Well it was to dress in aloha shirts and match up with Don Gosney. Don Gosney usually dresses up in an aloha shirt with shorts, and sandals. If I must say, Don has great taste for a casual day. Once I found my fellow buddies, I distributed the t-shirts and we were waiting for the meeting to start. 

The meeting was basically about the thick packet Don gave us months ago. It was a brief summary on what to expect, what to bring, and the do's and don't's. After a while, we all separated to go with our designated groups to discuss about college tours, rules, and what to bring. Jenny Gilbert did a wonderful job talking to all 18 of us in both English and Spanish. It's no surprise because she is a Spanish 3 teacher at De Anza High School. Jenny talked to us about her number 1 rule, respect. She expressed that we should treat others how they would like to be treated. It's a great rule to have and I know that I will be following it. As Jenny continued her speech and asked for any final questions, we ended and returned to the multipurpose room. The conference continued and ended around 8 o'clock. 

At the end, I got together with Kevin Mendoza, Shanti Shrestha, Chiamaka Nwadike, Brandon Chow, and Don Gosney for one final Hawaiian photo. It was a blast to dress up as Don Gosney for the day because he's really awesome. As a leader in the W&L group, this will be a tradition for next year.
On Our Way to Hawaii!

We Are Not students, We Are Adults

These were the loaner items that Don put out for us to look at.
When I arrived at the Mandatory Orientation at Pinole Middle School, a lady marked off my name on a list of ILCers. I assumed that she was keeping track of who was not there yet for Don to know.  A lot of information was given out today, not only for the students, but also for the worried parents. Don introduced himself to everyone and went over some guidelines and procedures to prepare us for our trip. Ms.Kronenberg, a school board member, introduced Don today as the “tour guide Don” because he provides us with a lot of help for our trip. He will be giving out items to let us borrow during our trip, such as fans and umbrellas. Ms.Kronenberg said things like “remember that you’re representing the school district,” and, “the ILC is a privilege that you earned.” Her words made me realize how important this trip is not only for me, but also my community. At one point of Don’s speech, he asked the room “who here are ILCers that are students,” and most of our hands went up. We were all wrong. We are no longer students when we step into a university; we are adults with a lot of responsibilities. In addition, Don reminded us that the Ivy League “Connection” is supposed to help us make connections. I never thought about the title itself until he pointed it out. I hope to make connections during my stay in the East coast.

After Don and Ms.Kronenberg got a chance to talk, we were split into groups according to the programs that we are going to this summer. Once we all filled out a contract, Jenny, the chaperone for Women and Leadership at Brown University, took us to a classroom where she could go over our schedule, discuss some rules, and answer questions. Jenny told us to think of the hottest temperature in the bay area and times it by two. That’s the kind of weather to expect in the East coast. She suggested that we bring clothes according to the weather, stuffed animals to have when we are lonely, stuff to hang on the wall, and a journal to keep track of the places we visit. Jenny discussed a short list of rules that she wants us to follow:
  1. Respect others and yourself.
  2. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be nice. 
  3. Don’t form clicks. Don’t leave anyone out. 
  4. Communicate with Jenny, always. Text her at least once a day.
  5. Don’t drink alcohol. 
After our group talk with Jenny, we went back into the multipurpose room where Don and Ms.Kronenberg talked some more about the trip. Don went over the no parent visit rule and loaner items in detail. He reminded us that we shouldn't loose things like our ID cards and keys. And lastly, we should take A LOT of photos....

Middle College High School ILCers for 2014
Left to right (Kendal Mahoney, Jun Chen, Dani Famorcan, Donna Fang, YeonSoo Cho)

Ivy League Connection Orientation

This evening Monday June 2nd, Pinole Middle School was where the Ivy League Connection hosted it's annual orientation. Don had sent us all four emails concerning this important orientation and whoever shows up at 6:00 or a minute later, their scholarship will be taken away from them. My mother and I arrived almost ten minutes before 5:00, to make sure I was not late considering navigation with traffic problems. Pinole Middle School is soon to go under reconstruction, as there is wide banners posted on the front gates. I walked on campus searching for any sign for Ivy League Connection. Soon, I met John Hillyer, who is chaperoning at University of Pennsylvania. When Don arrived, I helped him a little by bringing in some empty luggage and assisted with hanging up the Brown University flag.

Don started immediately at 6:00 PM, welcoming us all, then went into a introduction. In the beginning, I felt slightly nervous and excited that I made it through the Ivy League Connection process and I am actually at our orientation. It is a definite challenge for us all ILCers in the WCCUSD. Don asked us what knowledge and lessons will we bring back to share in our schools, family, and in our communities. Madeline Kronenberg, a member of our WCCUSD School Board with dedication in Ivy League Connection, spoke to us about appreciating all the immense free help we get from Don and the entire Ivy League Connection. I am so grateful and astounded for how much the Ivy League Connection has influenced me already and Don's never wavering dedication. After the introduction, all of our chaperons had briefly introduced themselves to our parents. Then we were dismissed to meet at the Brown University Flag. It was nice to see my cohorts at Brown II Women and Leadership today. After we all completed and signed a document, our amazing chaperon Jennifer Gilbert announce we will switch to a classroom nearby for a presentation.

A general itinerary was handed out, listing our Departure Day which is Sunday July 20th, with expected time schedules. Jennifer is also a Spanish teacher at DeAnza High School, have I mentioned in an previous blog, so she translated in impeccable Spanish language. Rules are to let her know our locations, to travel in groups, respect each individual differences/ourselves, to be open with a positive mindset. Women and Leadership classes at Brown University this summer will start July 20th through July 31st. I will prepare my best as our program is quickly approaching.


One Last Gathering

Tonight was the Student-Parent Orientation for all ILCers. Unfortunately, it is also the last group gathering before everyone departs to their designated college and program. Setting the negatives aside, it was a very informational night especially for the parents. I've heard most of the information presented tonight from before, it was just repeated for the parents. According to Don, many students fail to share information that are given to them, whether they are things from emails, tutorials, or cohort meetings, which is why an orientation such as this would clarify all the questions boggling in each parents' mind.  

The orientation started off with a small introduction from Don. Next came in the chaperones. Each chaperone went up and addressed themselves to the crowd including which program they are assigned to. It was very brief, but it was a good way for everyone to meet and see them again. After chaperone introductions, Don continued on with more information about what to expect, including arrival at El Cerrito High School and baggage at the airport. We would weigh our luggages first at El Cerrito, with Don's almost perfect scales. He joked about how the airport's scales were rigged, which is why we want to weigh our luggages before we get to the airport, to avoid any extra fees.

Next was the break out session. Every ILCer and their parents broke out into groups according to each program. A form was handed out in which of course, we had to fill out (yay!). Our schedules were also handed out, and this got me very excited. We would depart El Cerrito on July 20 then come back on August 6. My mother and I carefully examined the schedule, as our chaperone, Jenny explained it to us. The break out session was very helpful since parents were able to ask questions regarding their son or daughter. Jenny talked about the importance of staying together and to never walk or go anywhere alone. She also stressed the importance of being respectful and to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Knowing my group, I'm pretty sure that this wouldn't be a problem.

Everyone was called back into the cafeteria as we gathered for one last thing: the loaner items. Don showcased us each item that the ILC would loan out to those who need it. Items such as travel umbrellas, laundry bags, portable fans, luggages, and even cameras were available to anyone who needed it. 

It was another great and successful night meeting up with the other ILCers once again. It might be another while since I'll be able to see them again. Many of them are leaving this month and I am almost as excited as they are. I hope for them to have a safe trip and of course a fun summer.
 Three of the nine cohorts from the Brown Women and Leadership Program . We're excited for summer. 


Today was our last official meeting before we finally head off to Brown (!!!) and we couldn't be any more excited! Our chaperon, Jenny, spoke to us first in English and then in Spanish. It was pretty cool, and I'm proud to say that I understood about than 10% of the words being said in Spanish (after all, my high school language is Japanese…) 

Anyways, we received our itineraries for the trip and it wasn't until then that the whole experience finally seemed real to me. Looking at the schedule given to us, I absolutely can't wait for the "Sunset Night Cruise of New York", and the visit to and dinner in Times Square! Well, the college tour in general (and of course the actual Women and Leadership course!) Another thing I'm really looking forward to is the "Getting to Know You" survey that Jenny emailed to all the ladies in my cohort, especially the song  and "Words of Wisdom" (both of which are supposed to have a deeper meaning or special significance to the person who chose them).  I feel like this is so much better than the typical forms of icebreakers, and is a really great way to learn more about the ladies I'll be spending the upcoming weeks with!

And like I've said in the sign off of every blog so far (sorry about that!), I absolutely can not WAIT to finally get to Brown! 

July 20th

           Today I gathered with all the Ivy League cohorts for an orientation at Pinole Middle School. I left my house at approximately five p.m. I knew my scholarship was on the line so I made sure I left on time to make it through traffic and my way there as well.

It was highly easy to find my way there I seen Don's nice van so I knew I was at the orientation. I stayed in my car until I seen more people arriving. Once I entered I sat next to my mom and waited til all my cohort arrived I was hoping everyone was there on time, of course I wouldn't like for anyone to forfit their scholarship. Everyone arrived and the orientation Began Don basically went over everything for the parents as he did for the students in the tutorials. 

He mentioned about all the loaner items and the rules that are expected for us. For example the fact that we are NOT allowed to drink at all is highly important after the short speech from Don we separated. 

I went with my cohort and we talked more about where we'd go reading our agenda for our trip was exciting. My favorite was visiting Times Square at night. Not including the fun stuff I'm looking forward to having the college life, of vein a young adult. I can't wait to come back as a total brave outspoken young lady and a role model for my community. As the days are approaching I'm more then excited to leave my family and learn from others .
I knew I arrived when I seen Don's car.