Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And On We Marched...

Tonight the ILC voyaged to Lavonya Dejean Middle School to attend a school board meeting. This was an ILC milestone for me because it was our first event where I had to speak in front of a large group of people and also because we were formally recognized by the school board, teachers, the community and our financial sponsors. Afterwards, we (the ILC scholars) and our parents all had our picture taken as a group. I will go into more detail about everything that happened, but let me preface it by saying that it was a great night.

First of all, the meeting started with the Board’s opening procedures: the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, etc. After this they moved on to the “business items.” On the addendum, the list of business items looked extremely long. The segment about the ILC was directly after this segment and I thought that it would take half-an-hour to get to through. Much to my disbelief, the board raced through the seemingly long list of business items and suddenly it was time for the Cornellians to take the floor.

Ms. Kaplan began the procession of chaperone-student speeches. After her, it was my turn. I was slightly nervous because I had never given a speech to such important adults before. I dealt with it though. I treated the situation as if I were competing in a speech tournament. This made me much more comfortable. The best advice I can give to any future ILC speakers (or any speakers for that matter) is to look poised, sound confident (even if you aren’t), speak coherently and look your audience right in the eye. Those tactics are what got me through my speech tonight. After my speech, the Columbians approached the podium. After that group came the Brown students and then the Yale students. My compliments go out to all of the other ILC speakers because every speech I heard was eloquent and each speaker was well polished. This was the biggest part of the evening.

After the student and chaperone speakers, the board and ILC members gave their thanks to all of the ILC’s financial benefactors. I had no idea how many organizations funded the ILC! There were over twenty contributors that were called forward and awarded! One of the men that was called forward was actual one of my interviewers. I had always wondered why he was one of my judges because he had not had any prior ties to Cornell or involvement with philosophy/law (not that any interviewers would have to be) but now I understand. My thanks go out to all of the financial supporters of the ILC because without them, I would not be taking the educational excursion of a lifetime. I cannot thank you all enough.

The School Board was the final group to address us. Everyone had incredible things to say about the work we were doing and how terrific the ILC is. I found Mr. Ramsey’s speech especially memorable though. He used a metaphor comparing the ILC to an army marching forth (hence the title of this blog) and making itself known as a united front. I cannot thank Mr. Ramsey enough for all that he has done, all he is doing, and all that he continues to do for us so that we may make our experience as informational, yet exciting, as possible. This would not be the same without you Mr. Ramsey.

I would also like to thank Ms. Kronenberg. She is one of the founding members of the ILC and without her, this whole program would not have touched the lives of so many excellent students. She has also assisted the Cornellians when we needed the conference rooms in the Hercules Library booked. This step helped bring our group face-to-face with each other and strengthen our bonds as a Cornell family. Ms. Kronenberg has been an integral and beneficial part of the ILC and shall continue to be so as long as the ILC exists.

The final ILC related segment of the night was a photo shoot of the ILC scholars and their parents. Tonight I saw Don Gosney in his element with his camera in hand and his trigger finger at the ready. Don assessed the situation at hand and divided the group of well over fifty people into perfect lines of smiling ILC scholar/parent faces. He continually stressed to us that we had to be aligned perfectly and with symmetry so that the photos would come out spectacularly. After about twenty-five camera flashes and two minutes of smiling, the photos had been taken and we could give our jaws a rest. Tonight reminded me of how important Don is to the ILC. He has been there every step of the way, whether it was with a camera or not, to give us guidance and assistance. For this, I am grateful that Don is an integral part of the ILC.

As a side note, I would like to congratulate Ms. Lamons for receiving “Teacher of the Year.” I would also like to thank her for making forensics a unique experience and for recommending me for the ILC in the first place. I would not have made it this far without you, so thank you Ms. Lamons.

That is my account of this wonderful night. This is only the beginning of my ILC event blogs though. I will have another two coming very soon about the Pinole City Council meeting on May 18 and our dinner with the Cornell alumni on May 20. Until then, this is Alex Elms signing off.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Alex for your fine words. You are part of an Army and you are part of a winning side. All of you looked confident and composed. I loved your fine words and I can truly see that you, as well as the others, are ready to leave for Ithaca.

    Now the time to go is just a short five weeks away and before you know it you will be on the plane heading back East.

    Please continue to pace yourself, as well as immerse yourself in the writings of the philosophers. These events and meetings are done with the hopes that you grow in confidence and that you see yourself as a smart and dynamic individual.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District