Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Thoughts from Adrianne Ramsey's Mom

Whew, the essays, interviews, civic presentations, group photos, dress-up dinners, orientations, packing, shuttle rides, college campus tours, city strolls, souvenir hunting, dorm life, T.A. critiques, challenging reading and scripted assignments, mandatory blogging, cafeteria food, budgeted spending, chaperoned activities, academic and social bonding, long flights, tearful farewells, and questionnaires for those lucky ILC 2011 participants are just about finished.

In previous years, descriptive, rousing, and often humorous blogs, photo jpg's, and emails from ILC participants made it possible for me to enjoy their scholarly adventures, while my husband and his associates worked tirelessly to insure this complex, academic, multi-site program ran smoothly. Whenever, I would be fortunate to meet ILC'ers, I would be able to congratulate, commiserate with, or encourage them, as they sought to make sense of their extraordinary experiences.

What a special year for me! Our daughter, Adrianne merited a spot with the Brown II group. Her hard work and good fortune caused my ILC experience to become far more personal. Moreover, I found myself pushing her to be more analytical about her writing and reading material, more insistent that she manage her Facebook time better, more serious about needing to "keep her guard up" in unfamiliar places, and more willing to sew a couple of items that would take her mind off shopping for any "short" shorts.

That said, I really enjoyed the academic observations, shared experiences, self revelations, and restless social inquiries contained in the blogs of the Brown II group, while they participated in the pre-college Women In Leadership course. A few of the participants shared some of the academic discourse that took place in the "Estroden".

Adrianne, her cohort, and fellow classmates analyzed the political, social and interpersonal relevance of women in our society, while accessing preconceived notions they may had held of themselves. She took part in a "ropes" course, conducted an interview on African American women and feminism with her aunt, a retired legislative aide, presented a speech at the Brown brunch about a Providence, RI mover and shaker named Annie Smith Peck, an advocate for the Nineteenth Amendment, presented a monologue on Amy Chua, and created an action plan with a time line her junior/senior year, and for Angaza, as well.

Adrianne relaxed by taking an excursion to Newport Beach, celebrated Josephine's birthday at Johnny Rocket and Mariko's birthday at Shanghai Restautant. She marvelled at the contradictory atmosphere of the Water Fire event with her chaperone LaDonna Williams, and her cohort. She thanked her lucky stars for Kaylyn from Ohio, the nicest dormmate ever! Visits by Ms Williams to Harkness House were treasured events for her.

She wore her Brown sweatshirt when she met Jessica Tran, a former ILC Brown participant yesterday.

And yet, the hardest part of the covenant of the ILC participants and the Ivy League Connection has arrived! Although it is a fundamental courtesy to thank all the sponsors, organizers, interviewers, chaperones, counselors, school board members, teachers, cohorts, newly made friends, and parents and extended family, it is time to make sense of your profound academic and social experiences, accept the need for adjustment of personal expectations, and set forth a workable plan of positive action to share with your chosen community, and then, carry it to completion.

Madeline, Charles, and Don, Superintendent Harter, generous sponsors, caring educators, flexible chaperones, supportive parents, engaged ILC participants, college financial advisors, ILC organizers, and all elected officials and personnel involved with this wonderful program, I give you my deepest gratitude.

Take care.


From the Parents of Joe Arcineiga

The only way to begin this letter is to say Wow!! And, of course, Thank You!! My husband and I were tremendously grateful two years ago when the ILC sent our older son, Matt, to Yale. We were so impressed with how smoothly the program ran, its attention to detail, its demand for excellence, and its utter generosity!  When Joe was accepted into the ILC program this year, heading for Cornell, we were absolutely thrilled.

We knew we could expect the same quality program and were excited to see how it would affect Joe’s development as a student and as a person. We were off to a very good start when the ILC bought all the books and arranged a dinner with past Cornellians to discuss strategy…what worked well and what to avoid. Knowledge is power and this ILC dinner was invaluable in teaching Joe what to expect and providing him with the tools and the charge to be well prepared academically. Of course, the elegant dinner in San Francisco was a beautiful and informative evening which set the tone for the whole program…this is an Ivy League program and expectations are higher in every way possible.

What we didn’t expect was three days in Chicago, on the way to New York.  Matt’s group was able to tour Wesleyan and another school close to Yale the day before his program began, which was a wonderful bonus. In two years’ time, we are happy to see how the ILC program has grown to sending out thirty-five students in all and including such a fantastic trip to Chicago to tour Northwestern and the University of Chicago.  These tours and the opportunity to enjoy fine dining with students and Admissions personnel from each school taught Joe very much about what he likes and does not like in a college.

The truth is Joe wasn’t sure he wanted to spend four weeks of his summer attending lectures, staying up late reading and writing papers, never mind the weeks of reading in preparation for the program.  He’d worked incredibly hard every single day of his junior year with school and activities and was warming to the idea of a more carefree summer.  Matt is the one who impressed upon him that (1) hard work always pays off and (2) this program will change your life!

Indeed, Joe’s life was changed!  He has experienced new places and climates and students from 20+ countries.  He’s become even better at expressing his thoughts and feelings via the daily blog. He’s developed his conversational and interviewing skills. He’s experienced what it’s like to “go to college,”… living and making friends with an unknown roommate, doing his own laundry J, balancing and prioritizing schedules, accepting criticism from a TA as a positive thing, and yes, making time for relaxation and fun at places like Buttermilk Falls and Cooperstown or playing soccer or basketball. Yesterday, Joe received his first college course grade, an A-. This taught him he really could compete with all of the prep school students at one of the best universities in the world…hard work always pays off.

We will forever be thankful for all the hard work each of you puts into this program and for the way it has truly changed so many lives.  You may rest assured that these students will go on to do great things and the world will be a better place because of you and the ILC.

Most Sincerely,
Melissa Arciniega