Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From Fred and Brenda Shephard

First of all, we cannot express our gratitude for this awesome opportunity the ILC afforded our daughter, Ramiah Davis-Shephard to be a part of. You are to be commended on the process and the level of professionalism from the interview to our child returning home from Cornell. The interview prepared our daughter for future interviews, she was given the opportunity to stand before professionals that judged her on her level of confidence, and her ability to express herself and to state why she should be chosen to be a part of the ILC and it's wonderful opportunities.

Next the rigorous, but very informative College Exploratory sessions. Transportation was never an issue, busses and or personal rides were made available. The information learned from those sessions opened our awareness to the opportunities that are available to everyone, as long as the students apply themselves and produce the grades. So often, we think of the Ivy League Schools as out of our range, due to the rumors one so often hear. For instance before those sessions, we were told (by a school official) that just applying to Harvard was not a possibility, that you must be invited to apply or be recruited.

We learned some history about the school, the strengths of each school, the dormitory system, classroom sizes, but most importantly we were informed about the varied curriculum and curriculum styles. In those sessions, we learned about the wide range of financial opportunities afforded to students, basically if the student gets accepted, based on the parents' income, the school will assure the financial resources. Because of those College Exploratory Excursions our daughter is looking to apply and hopefully attend a college that will propel her well into her future.

Next, Ms. Kim, the college counselor who has provided us with so much information, from realizing the importance of the second semester grades of her Junior year in high school (those are the last grades colleges will be able to look at) books to read, college guide book, so we can compare hundreds of schools at a glance, one on one counseling sessions in preparation for picking suitable colleges that will be a match to the student, writing the personal essay, ensuring the appropriate college entrance exams are taken, preparing for the college application, financial aide information, (how to get the most and the best of what is offered), even selecting classes for the final year of high school. She is absolutely invaluable.

Because of the ILC, Ramiah is being afforded a scholarship to attend study sessions to prepare her to retake the SAT to help boost her score to the highest level possible.

There was a dinner where students and families were able to meet some of the sponsors and get valuable first hand information about some of the colleges and also some encouragement to continue to do their absolute best. The words from the former Mayor of Richmond, Irma Anderson, to our daughter had a lasting impression.

In addition is the positive exposure that has been afforded the students, not many students will ever get an opportunity to speak before the City Council, or be recognized by the School Board, but because of the ILC our daughter was able to be a part of both of these events.

Now, the Cornell experience....Having a precursor to the college application and what goes along with it, for example, getting transcripts, letters of recommendation, meeting filing dates, and then an acceptance from a college, what an experience for a high school junior. The opportunity to not only visit but attend such a prestigious school and also visit some surrounding campuses. The opportunity to experience college life, being responsible for getting up on time, having breakfast and still make it to class on time (without a ride from your parents), doing your homework without any prodding from your parents, getting a good night's rest, meeting curfew, spending your money wisely, spreading your horizons (not being afraid to meet new people), spending 3 weeks with someone who started out as a total stranger but ends up being your friend, knowing how to live within your restraints and not pushing them to the limits, making wise choices - knowing you are accountable for them. The responsibility and maturity she portrayed has made us awfully proud.

Because of the ILC, she was given the opportunity to really show us what she could do, and we are so thankful and relieved to know that she was listening. The status alone of being an Ivy Leaguer, has catapulted her to another level.

This was all made possible due to inordinate amount of effort, time, hard work, emails, reminders, encouragement, phone calls, scheduling, hands-on hard work, and even making the textbooks available earlier so our students could be prepared and a step ahead of the other students, by Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Mr. Gosney.

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