Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Meeting for Gratitude

Meetings are traditionally an event which drives people to scramble for excuses, maybe feeding the cat for the fifth time, but this was one meeting I couldn't wait to attend.

Aside from the amazing members in my Cohort, I became acquainted with other ILC members during our early blogging lesson in March. At the meeting, I was eager to catch up on their dinner stories and chaperone greetings. Before the meeting began, a sea of ILC students gathered at the side of the room, everyone greeting each other, reminiscing the details of their evening dinner, sharing tips on newly found information and discussing our excitement for the upcoming summer.

Grouping together with the other cohorts also brought a sense of unity in our group of Cornies. Although everyone in our group is enrolled in a high school, we are all Cornell students. At the school board meeting, I met with a few of my classmates, but they weren't really my classmates that evening. They were members in the cohort of Brown or Chicago. It was an unspoken pride in a school we weren't familiar with.
Our conversations came to a close as the groups gathered with their corresponding Chaperones. After a series of technical announcements, the school board recognized the excellence of De Anza High School. The whole staff came forward, expressing their gratitude toward the school board and sharing their experiences on how the school has evolved. Sitting to my left was a mesmerized Stephen, proudly nudging me and whispering, "that's my school."

 Finally, it was our time to shine. I sat at the tip of my chair, both my feet shooting straight down an
Justice reciting his breathtaking speech
my back forming a perpendicular line with the chair. The schools were called forward one by one, our cohort being second. After Alyanna Paulino finished her speech, our group let out a simultaneous breath. We stood up together and unraveled the stunning ruby Cornell flag. Chaperone Chan-Law said a few words expressing our gratitude and running through our summer schedule before stepping aside the podium for Justice. We turned our heads over, ears tuned in and hands worried slick. Finally, he sung the first word and the room echoed with his voice. After the fist sentence, the rest of the speech rolled off his tongue. We all returned to our seats when he finished, each of us giving him the proud shoulder hold or hand shake before retiring to our chairs. Meanwhile, the remaining four schools gave their speeches. Each cohort expressed their gratitude toward the school board for making this opportunity possible and thanking many groups individually for their role in the success of the program. I am so proud of everyone who spoke during the evening, though more than anything, I'm proud of Justice for his magnificent representation of the Cornies.  

Holding up the beautiful flag as Mr. Chan-Law says a few words
Before the night ended, Don Gosney himself shared a few words about the success of the IVY League program and a previous member of the ILC came forward to share her experiences about the way this program influenced her. Michelle introduced herself and provided some background before sharing her personal statement with the room. When the first sentence came, my heart skipped a beat. The atmosphere changed; we were no longer at the school board meeting. Her words drew an image of a struggling high school student who experienced an epiphany at Brown University. She acknowledged the power of any failure, so long as an individual is willing to accept and learn from their mistakes. After her speech, Don closed the lid on our end, the school board shared words of encouragement, and our group migrated over to the gym for the legendary photo which would be hung on every counselor's door and office's wall of fame. 

At every event thus far, I've taken something back home to thing about. Today I took back gratitude. Never in my life have I felt so thankful. The night I came home from the interview, every cell in my body was squealing from excitement, but I realized the position I would be taking this summer is made possible by countless people. As a student who received this blessing, I swear to myself that I will make a difference, share every drop of information about the east coast to every soul, improve on myself and inspire those around me, and do what it takes to give back in actions what the school board, parents, chaperones, and sponsors have provided in funds.  
The photo to close the night off.

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