Monday, August 17, 2009

From Matt Arciniega's Parents

Many Thanks

Dear Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Supporters of the Ivy League Connection:

When we heard that our son, Matt Arciniega, was chosen as one of the students to attend Yale University with the Ivy League Connection program, we couldn’t have been more thrilled… or so we thought.

From the very beginning, we could see that this was something very special and our son was in good hands. We enjoyed watching the students introduce themselves to the School Board, we enjoyed a delicious meal in San Francisco with Yale alumni and a brand new Eli from WCCUSD, Lauren Croda. We enjoyed listening to Matt as he came home from a dinner in Berkeley with the Director of the program at Yale, Dr. Luong, and said “I’m going to be at this program with kids from the best schools from all over the world. I’m going to have to step up my game!” We watched as Mr. Gosney toted Matt around the East Bay and also made a special trip to our house just to make sure our son had all of the proper equipment and software for his new laptop AND knew how to use it! Everything was so well thought out, so well planned and executed! Dinner arrangements, travel arrangements, computer lessons…even the books were all provided by the ILC!

Now I will confess that it was difficult to watch Matt spend every waking moment of our family vacation at Lake Tahoe buried behind one of the MANY books of required reading. OK, he took a break each night for family dinner and a game, but that’s it! While this was not my ideal family vacation, we were truly amazed and impressed with Matt’s dedication to fulfilling the requirements of this program. He was maturing before our very eyes! If you read his early “Mount Knowledge” blog written just as he returned from Tahoe, you could see how his intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm was unquenchable. He was ready for Yale!

Once in New Haven, our four WCCUSD students hit the ground running; working and studying from sun up to way past sundown each and every day for two weeks. They would write papers, prepare and deliver speeches, work in peer groups on matters of international importance, and even defend their ideas and opinions before an intimidating group called a “murder board.” They learned that they could push themselves beyond what they thought were their limits and see that they had even more to give. We are so, so very proud of all of you!

The fact that the ILC sent Ms. Larson as their chaperone is further evidence of a thoughtful, thorough, well-oiled machine which is the ILC. But the ILC didn’t just keep Matt safe and prepared for a fun trip to Yale. The ILC provided our son with an amazing, life-changing experience that we could not have provided him with in our wildest dreams! I think it’s now safe to say we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Our deepest thanks,

Jesús and Melissa Arciniega

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Jessica Ong's Parents

Dear Yale Ivy Scholars students:
On behalf of all the parents I am sure we share the same sentiments. We are all so proud of what you have accomplished and experienced in this short two week program. Your strenuous academic performance and the repeatedly challenging classes you took is your guide to a more successful future. It gives you an insight of how college life should be, and will become for all of you very soon.
I understand many of your friends have had a different Ivy League Experience, and perhaps one that is not as intense. But believe me, the amount of work you put in will be equivalent to what you will reap in the future. Always remember that life will balance everything out in the end.
With desire, I have followed all your blogs, waited for more scenic pictures of the popular Ivy League school (the infamous Yale University), and immersed myself into your stories that reminded me of my own college life and the opportunities that opened up for me and the ones that did not. I am so glad that you all had this chance.
Thanks so much to the sponsors, Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg, Ms. Sarah Larson (the chaperone) and West Contra Costa School District. This means so much to us parents and to the kids as well. This program does not only tell our kids “yes we can” but with your generosity you imbedded in their thoughts, to keep in mind that “there is always a way” in whatever challenges they face. Of which without your patronage this path will not be lighted. I am sure that with the two awards they brought home to the district, they bring home the honor to share with you all.
Believe me, that the success this program brings is not the end; but just the beginning.
My congratulations again to all participants of the Ivy League Connection and a job well done.
Best wishes for the future,
John and Kelly Ong