Today my fellow cohort, our parents, our chaperone, our sponsors, our organizers, and a few current and former Columbia University students met at El Cerrito Plaza BART at 5:30 for a formal dinner session in San Francisco's Jardiniere restaurant. It was truly a delightful experience I must say. The dinner itself was splendid, however, it was really the engaging conversations themselves that I was so enthralled by. Each of us students were uniquely separated in a distinct table with a group of very fascinating individuals ranging from our sponsors, to alumni's from the University itself. I had the pleasure in meeting two very interesting individuals from Columbia University, one currently a junior and another an alumni. We discussed a lot about the university itself as well as our personal interests and shared many aspects of ourselves and our experiences with one another. I was deeply mesmerized within those simple conversations because, to be honest, even the simplest topics fascinated me and appeased my thirst for information and knowledge of the outside world in regards to the nation and the educational opportunities available for our access. Their different experiences and encounters was what really grasped my interest as well as their strong, powerful personalities that showed through within simply speaking to one another. In all, I truly appreciated the opportunity to speak to these amazing individuals, and it was truly a pleasure to meet them all.
Aside from this aspect of our dinner tonight, another matter of importance for me was the fact that I was one of the only two people chosen to give a speech on behalf of my program. For this I was tremendously delighted and flattered, I must say. I had typed up and prepared notes for my self prior to my speech, however, I rarely referred to them due to the fact that the sentiments I had towards the Ivy League Connection and Columbia University were already evident in my speech as well as my feelings. Therefore, I was in reality only expressing what I truly thought and planned for the future with complete honestly and I needed no reference for such a discussion but to rather simply remind myself the important topics I would like to brush upon and share with the adults as well as the students in the room. It really means a tremendous deal to me to be part of such an elite group of individuals in our community representing our district and our very own students, so I initiated my speech with what I thought the Ivy League Connection means to me. To me, it means to not only be a leader, but also an ambassador that shares his or her experiences for not only her benefit, but also for the benefit of her community as a whole. So, why am I part of the Ivy League Connection program? Well certainly the answer to this question would be that I'm not just doing it for me, but for my entire community as a whole. Considering the fact that the students of our district are mainly deprived of mainstream resources, limited to the simple options around them such, and lack knowledge of thing outside of their comfortable arena, I find it crucial for me to step ahead and become a leader who spreads the message to students in not only my district but also my community as a whole regarding my experiences and the knowledge I acquire. I think the ability to inspire a vast amount of individuals in my own community and help them on their own unique path towards success is a reward in itself and the Ivy League Connection would grant upon me the necessary experiences and irreplaceable knowledge to do so. In all, before I graduate, I want to contribute to my community in the most ways possible, and the Ivy League Connection has basically became my pathway for this. After sharing such sentiments, I thanks my generous and amazing sponsors for making this possible for me, Don, Mrs.Kronenberg, Mrs.L, Mr.Ramsey, and this amazing organization as a whole for granting me the opportunity to attend Columbia University. I explained my course, and what is expected of me, as well as a little background about the University itself. And finally, I ended my speech with, "Out of all the individuals and students in this nation, I, along with my cohort, us 6, were chosen as part of the Ivy League Connection to attend this amazing university, to walk the halls that Obama once walked, Roosevelt, and even Alexander Hamilton, and perhaps one day, we too can become Lions. (Columbia mascot) " Overall, I enjoy public speaking so I had a good time conducting my speech and communicating with the ILC guests tonight.
Later, we ordered our food and dined on our delicious dinner options. From each savory dish to another, we all enjoyed the tasty meal, appetizer, and dessert, and I would really like to thank the Ivy League Connection for allowing us to have such a good time tonight. By the end of the night, aside from the honor in meeting many different individuals such as Malcom Carson and Peter Gallotta, we were also given flowers at the end of the dinner. The flowers were beautiful and my mother and I were actually surprised it was for us! Currently, it sits in the center of our dinner table. Thank you Ivy League Connection for your kind generosity, we truly appreciate it.