I couldn’t be any happier the moment I found out that my daughter Kimberly was accepted into the ILC in December of 2013. Before applying, she mentioned the opportunities the Ivy League Connection could provide for WCCUSD students. She explained to me how she could travel to East Coast universities and eventually attend a summer school program at no cost to our family. I didn’t know that any such program could exist. Because this was such a great opportunity, I gave her my blessing. Although she’s never been away from home for more than three days at a time, I couldn’t let my apprehension for her safety get in the way of this great opportunity.
When Kimberly and I attended these milestone events before her upcoming trip, I realized that this was going to be really good in order for her to grow and mature. At the dinner at La Folie in San Francisco, I met alumni of Vanderbilt University and benefactors of the ILC. I could see that this was beginning to broaden Kimberly’s college aspirations. And as for me, I had no idea that sending my child to a university outside of California could ever be financially feasible. But it was then that I started to realize that she could study outside of California if she chose to.
Reading Kimberly’s blog from when she saw Pinole Valley grad Dyana So now attending UPenn, I know that my daughter isn’t limited to applying to schools under the University of California system. Each of her posts during her stay in the East Coast has further opened my eyes. I never would have dreamed of being this far away from home at her age.
When my daughter came back, I felt that she had grown and matured from her experiences. She had the opportunity to attend the Med School 101 course at Vanderbilt University for three weeks and tour three colleges beforehand. At the Vanderbilt Summer Academy, she stayed in the dorms and attended class for six hours. It initially pained me not to be there for her. But she managed to be on her own. This was a golden opportunity for me to see Kimberly in a new light, ready to begin her college path as she now faces her senior year at Pinole Valley High School.
On behalf of my husband and I, I’d like to thank Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Don, and all the sponsors for making the Ivy League Connection available to students like my daughter Kimberly. And thank you Mr. Mannix for taking care of the Vanderbilt cohort. You’ve given my daughter a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Barbara de Dios