Monday, March 30, 2009

From Bertha Romo, Richmond High School, UPENN '12

It is upsetting that people doubt the success of the Ivy League Connection. It feels as if they doubt the ability students have to step out of their comfort zone and reach higher standards. Yes, it is difficult, but in no way is it impossible. I was one of those students who, like many other students in our district, never considered the Ivy League universities as a college option. I refused to leave my family and my home even after I was notified that I was accepted into UPenn. I understand the fear many students have of the "unknown"- living alone, far away, and in completely foreign environnment. But I did it; I am about to complete my first year at UPenn,an Ivy institution, and it was great! Sure, I had a difficult time adjusting, but I have been pushed and challenged more than I thought possible and the best part about it is that I'm still standing-standing right up there with all the other bright students from across the nation and across the world. And quite frankly, if it weren't for the Ivy League Connection- Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Ms. Alaniz, I would have rejected this amazing oppurtunity.

While I understand people's concern that the Ivy League Connection only caters to a select group of students, I feel that this is only the start, and the number of students taking advantage of the program can/will grow if the program continues to be supported financially. There is already evedence of this-

The interest for the program has grown significantly over the last year. As I was telling a group of students at RHS; when ILC first came to RHS, over a hundred students were invited to participate and only 5 students took the initiative to apply. However, last year and this year the number has tripled. I am convinced that if ILC continues its work, the number of interested students will continue to rise. As these numbers rise, the popularity of the program will rise with it and soon more an more students will be knocking on Ms. Alaniz's door saying, 'How can I go join the program.' This is what RHS needs- an incentive. If students see that there are great opportunities out there if only they excel in their academics, then more students will want to do well in school.

As for the argument that students are not benefiting from the program, that is not true in my perspective. Sure, some students that participate in ILC will still choose a UC or CSU, but that is only one side of it. (And in no way should this be looked down upon- more students are going to college and that matters more. We also need to appreciate the fact that there are more students in the district interested, applying to, and even attending Ivy League institutions. This says GREAT things about our district, our school, and our students.

Let me end with one more point. As I was looking at my transcript, I noticed that my high school is not listed on my transcript, meaning Richmond High School is not in UPenn's system of US high schools. Why? Perhaps I am the first student from Richmond High School to attend UPenn. How do I feel about this? Angry. I think it is about time WCCUSD schools were recognized and the only way this is ever going to happen-the only way Richmond High will actually appear on my transcript- is if the ILC continues its oustanding work to send students to these premiere schools. This is our only way in.


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