Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School Board Connection!

Today, I had the pleasure of attending West Contra Costa Unified School District's School Board Meeting held within Richmond's LaVonya DeJean Middle School. The Meeting was even televised! Live broadcastings were aired on Pinole's PCTV Channel 26 and 28, Richmond's KCRT Channel 28, and the City of Hercules' Cable Channel 28!

The Meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and then moved on to a brief introduction of the Board of Education's members--which was composed of a committee very prestigious and dedicated school officials, including Ivy League Connection's very own School Board President Charles Ramsey and teacher Madeline Kronenberg , as well as a young girl who served as DeAnza High School's Student Board Representative.

During the event, I was not only able to get a first hand look on how the School Board operates, but I was also made aware of some of the problems plaguing the District. The main focus tonight's meeting were the budget cuts threatening the District's Adult Education Department.

Many teachers and students alike spoke out for the protection of their beloved program. In total, there were 17 speakers, each allowed two minutes before the Board to share their opinions. Even those who spoke poor English were even brave enough to cross the language barriers and defend their right for for a proper education. One woman even brought her 6-year-old to up to the microphone to talk about how she wanted her mother to continue going to school so that they could work on their English together.

Seeing all those people allowed me put my own views into perspective. I believe that everyone--no matter race, religion, or age--deserves the right to a better education and that we as a community should work to preserve the Adult Education Department's funding as we do our children's. Luckily, it seems as though the School Board agrees with me, as they seemed to rule in favor to rework the District's budget to allow the continuation if the program.

After the Board Members finished deliberating on a few more issues, it was the Ivy League Connection's time to shine. Each group of cohorts were to stand before the School Board whilst holding their respective school's flag as their chaperone introduced each student individually, as well as the courses they'll be taking and the other colleges that they'll be visiting.

Since we were introduced in alphabetical order by the name of the schools, my Columbia cohorts and I were set to go third, headed by our chaperone Mrs. L. My fellow Constitutional Law students, Leonard Eisen, Lucas Lochner Bravo, Adrianne Ramsey and I held Columbia's flag as Ms. L introduced us as our two other cohorts taking American Presidential Power at Home and Abroad: From George Washington to Barack Obama
Aurea Riboroso and Morvarid Mehdizadeh. The other colleges that we are set to visit include UPENN, Vassar, Yale, Sarah Lawrence, and New York University.

To be honest, I think that the introduction was both exciting and nerve-racking. Not only was a being watched by an entire auditorium of people, I was being shown on live television! I was so nervous that something awful would happen like me tripping while getting up, or making a fool of myself in front of the school board, or Ms. L pronouncing my name wrong! However, when I was waking towards the front of the room, I I began to calm down and I honestly feel proud for being able to take part of such a wonderful program. After our introduction was done each, of us was awarded with a certificate commemorating our acceptance into the Ivy League Connection Program.

After all the introductions were done, two former Ivy League Connection students, whom both of which currently attend Ivy League Schools gave speeches about the experiences with the Ivy League as well as how it helped them prepare for their future.

We were then treated by a few more speeches from the School Board as continued they further praise the Ivy League Connection and all of its bright, capable students. After the last speech honoring the ILC concluded, the School Board Meeting was adjourned. However, the night was still not over for us ILCers.

Chaperones, students, and parents began to position themselves for this year's panoramic photo of the Ivy League Connection. After about 25 blinding camera flashes, the Meeting was finally over after 3 hours of sitting, standing, and smiling.

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