Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yoline Banerjee - Class of 2009

When I first entered El Cerrito High as a freshman, college was nowhere near my mind. I was barely thinking about the courses that I would take my sophomore year! Yet that was soon to change. I first heard about the Ivy League program when I received a note asking me to go to the Principal’s office. This ushered in a wave of worry. I have never spoken to the principal before!! Only those who get sent to the principal are in serious trouble…right?

I went to the meeting despite such thoughts, and that’s when probably the greatest event occurred in my High School years. I was told about the Ivy League Connection program, about being sent to Ivy League colleges over the summer. An Ivy League college was where all the genius people go, not people who are like me! For this to happen to me was something unimaginable, not only because of where these summer programs were being held, but also the cost of such things.

Yet not only was I able to go summer of 2006, but the summer of 2007 and the summer of 2008. Through all these years I have met people who are sincerely devoted to helping students truly reach their fullest potential, a place where I would not have achieved if it were not for the ILC. Seeing the Ivy League Connection growing more and more each year is simply…straight up awesome! Not only does it help those who are directly in the ILC it helps the friends of those as well, and in turn, they help those friends.

From my personal experience, I have been able to go to different elementary schools, as well as Portola Middle School, and help spread the word that college is the way to go. I have been approached by students that were wondering if they should join the ILC, and have always told them that they definitely should (after giving them a little bit of a hard time for even questioning if they should go).

Thanks to all who supported the Ivy League Connection, I was able to learn not only about such schools (specifically Brown and Cornell), but also about myself. Because I attended a challenging course at Cornell University, I now know that I can handle what UC Berkeley will throw at me. I can speak out when before I would keep everything in. I met people that I would never have meet before, even fellow students! Coming from a district where many hard obstacles are trying to be overthrown, the Ivy League Connection is a bright light that should continuously be shining.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, for helping me shape who I am today, and for shaping those who will be there in the future.

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