Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prospecting Prospects At Prospect

Last night my fellow cohorts and I went to our first Ivy League Connection dinner at Prospect in the beautiful city of San Francisco.
The evening started out with my father and I rushing over to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station, traffic was looking bad and I definitely did not want to be late to my first Ivy League dinner. Thankfully we arrived right at 5:30 and were not the last ones there.

As we got on BART thoughts were rushing into my mind; what was going to happen at the dinner, how was the food going to be, and of course, what would I gain out of this night. I chit chatted with my fellow cohorts about our upcoming experiences together, and with a fellow ILC alumni, Austin Long, regarding how he felt going to Yale in the fall.

When we arrived at Prospect I honestly still felt a little shy. I didn't go out of my way to talk to as many people as I could, I talked with some parents, my cohorts, and some staff of WCCUSD. However once the tables were set and we were seated, I was ready to spread my wings and become a social butterfly. My main conversationalist was with Christene Geiser, a Yale alumni class of '07. We first talked about the food there, how good it was and what we were going to order. As the conversation wore on and I became increasingly comfortable we started to talk about our own lives and get a real sense of each other. We talked about her experiences at Yale, about Yale itself, and about her life outside of it. At times Dave Olson chimed into our conversation and brought his perspective into whatever we were talking about at the time.

I learned many things from talking to these two Yale Alumni. One, I learned that that Pepe's serves good pizza over in New Haven and that I will love the food there as well. However most importantly I was able to gain a true insight to what Yale is like and what I am going to experience this summer. Every time I asked Christene about what Yale is like she always responded with the word, "amazing." The recurrence of this word kept telling me, "Matt you are going to have the time of your life this summer. This experience truly will be, amazing."

As everybody started to finish up their meals, and special deserts were called out the conversations turned from more about Yale to just friendly conversations. The night was coming to a close and we all started to leave for home.
After we all got back to El Cerrito Plaza one last thing echoed in my mind. Finally it had hit. The whole deal about what the Ivy League Connection is about and what I am getting myself into finally sunk into my head. To gain knowledge and impart it onto others was my duty as an ILC scholar. I truly thank everyone who attended that night for helping me realize this, and especially Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Don Gosney for helping me feel welcome into the ILC family.

YISP at Prospect

This evening our ILC YISP students gathered to join with a few Yale alums from the San Francisco chapter of the Yale Alum Society at Prospect ~ a trendy new restaurant South of Market in San Francisco.

Of course the company was great and meeting the parents of Matt, Dyana and Tom were special but first  I need to discuss the spectacular meal we were served.

I saw some of our guests with the ling cod and they said some great things about it and a few had the steak and said equally good things about it.  I can speak with first hand experience, though, that the duck was the entree to choose tonight.  By itself it would have been heavenly but I was served some truly delicious scallops to whet my appetite and had my palette cleansed afterwards with a chocolate truffle.

Okay--it's time to write a bit about how special the event itself was.

Up to now we've spent a lot of time with interviews, tutorials and the never ending stream of emails from the ILC administrators to our ILC cohorts.  Tonight, though, we got to sit down and meet in a social setting.  We got to talk to each other as fellow human beings without really bringing up any of the administrative rules or suggestions on how to take advantage of this experience.  Tonight we were all just human beings having a good time.

Even though I've gotten to know each of our students pretty well, this evening I got to meet and know their parents and that was something special all unto itself.

Our dinners wouldn't be what they are, though, without a few speeches thrown in.  Our featured speaker this evening was Dyana So from Pinole Valley High.  Every time I'm around Dyana I'm even more impressed.  She has a wonderful ability to speak to us all and make us feel good.  It's hard for me to remember that she's still just a junior in high school.

Our gatherings wouldn't be what they are, though, without our alums.  Tonight we met with our old friend Dave Olson ('86) and our new friend Bill Lindsey ('78).  Making things even more special, though, was meeting Ken Yamaguchi ('92). Alexis Fleckenstien ('07) and Christine Geiser ('07) ~ local Yale alums.  While Bill and Dave could regale us with stories of Yale from the "distant" past, and Ken could tell us what Yale was like  a short while ago, Alexis and Christine had fresh memories about Yale and could tell our cohorts what they can expect when they arrive in a few months.

Topping off the evening was Austin Long (Pinole Valley HS) who will become a Yale Bulldog this Fall.  Congratulations, Austin.

Tune in later and more photos will be posted.  I'm fond of telling our ILCers that words are nice but words with pictures are even nicer.  I need to practice what I preach so I'll be adding photos soon.