Monday, August 27, 2012

From the Parents of Alysa Butler

We would classify the entire process as SIMPLY AMAZING.

I am the Father of Alysa Butler and I was reflecting on how this amazing opportunity began. I believe it was in the month of December, 2011 as we were all beginning our day. Alysa, mentioned that she would be attending an informational assembly to be held on campus given by the ILC Alysa, always has been very active on campus participating in different clubs and study groups—many of which I was familiar with but I had not heard of the Ivy League Connection. I asked, “What is the Ivy League Connection?” She said, “I will tell you later.”

When she returned home that evening. She was excited and told us that the Ivy League Connection is a group formed by the WCCUSD that selects students to tour some of the colleges on the East Coast and participate in a Summer Educational Program. The ILC is planning to send two people and depart on June 25th, 2012 and return on July 28th, 2012. I thought, WOW!, it must be expensive. Some of the colleges that they were planning to visit were Yale, Washington University (in St. Louis), Cornell, UPENN and others. The lucky few would get to experience living in a dorm room.

We encouraged her to submit an application and participate in the process. Part of the process was a meet and greet between the ILC and Parents. We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Charles Ramsey, Mrs. Madeline Kronenberg and Mr. Don Gosney at the meeting. Each ILC staff person gave an overview of their role in the program and assured each parent that their child would be safe. The dorms were staffed with security 24 hrs a day whose responsibility was to monitor the premises for the safety or the residents. All ILC participants would receive three meals per day and have supervision by a chaperone. This information eased the apprehension and eased the stress.
There had been a series of interviews of Alysa's instructors at school and recommendations and finally through the process of elimination there were eight students selected as finalists. However, only two lucky people would be able to represent the school at the Academy of Physics at UPENN. Alysa came home one day and said, we have to be at El Cerrito High School at 5 PM.  She announced that she had made it to the final interview. She seemed very calm but I was nervous enough for both of us.

We ate a little dinner and hurried off to the final interview. Upon our arrival as we searched for the room we were becoming anxious because we did not want to be late for the interview but some of the doors were locked. Finally we located the room. We were not the last to arrive. Then a familiar face, Don Gosney, he was brought refreshments and let us know that the interviewing staff was running a few minutes late. Don informed us of the process to be followed. He informed us that we would draw numbers from a cup to establish a numerical order for interviews.

Alysa drew number five. The interviews began number one, two, three, with each interview lasting longer than the first. Then number four which I though would never end. Finally, number five. I offered a few words of encouragement to Alysa and told her how much I love her and to do her best. I was a nervous wreck. Alysa, though, seemed very calm throughout the entire process. I began to realize that she was confident, that she would do well.

She returned after what seemed like an eternity. I asked how did you do? She said OK but did not want to talk about the process because there were still three prospective people to interview in the room. After all interviews were complete we all took a 10 minute break. After the break all participants and their parents were asked to go across the hall to the interview room We all met the interviewers which consisted of some professors, community business people and teachers

After all the introductions were complete they announced the two final people to become part of the Ivy League Connection. SIMPLY AMAZING! Alysa Butler was named as one of the two people selected. I was overjoyed for her. As we drove home I became more and more excited for her. Slowly I began to realize she had never been gone from home for such a long period of time nor had she been so far away.

The next meeting was with Don Gosney. There were consent forms to sign and packets of information that needed to be faxed to UPENN (that was the school Alysa was selected to attend). She would become part of the advanced Physics Academy. WOW! SIMPLY AMAZING.

We managed to get all the paperwork done and returned in a timely manner. We had a final meeting and met the Chaperone Mr. Ian Lawrence. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Mr. Gosney and Mr. Lawrence for the care and concern given to my daughter throughout the entire process, THANK YOU

On the Morning of 06/25/12 at approx 3:30 AM they were off to catch their flight at San Francisco Airport to Philadelphia, PA. Throughout the next month I was in contact with my daughter regularly. I was never concerned about her safety and welfare because I was confident that the Ivy League Connection would watch over her. She met many diverse groups of people and got the opportunity to interact with them academically and socially. She experienced riding the trains of New York City and has been to some places that will enrich her personally.

Denise & Kerry Butler

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