Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dual Departure: Vanderbilt Followed by Chicago

While it’s not all that uncommon to have two cohorts depart at the same time (as Cornell and Brown did two weeks back), today’s departure of Chicago and Vanderbilt were different in that Vanderbilt had to be in front of El Cerrito HS at 2:45 AM while Chicago had a chance to sleep in and gather in the bright of the day at 9:45 AM.

Not so bad for them but for the person who had to see them off (me), it made for a long day.

This was one of those days when the sun never really came out.  It was overcast and foggy.  Even the temperature was quirky.  The temp for Vanderbilt was a mild 54º and Chicago had risen to 59º.  Between the moisture in the fog and the wind, though, it felt much colder.  I had to dig through some piles to find some long pants and even wore a jacket.  I was almost unrecognizable to the ILCers who mostly see me in aloha shirts, shorts and sandals.

With both groups they went through the normal routine of weigh ins, pep talks, blogging instructions and the loading up of snacks so they don;t starve to death before they get to their first stop destinations (Atlanta for the Vanderbilt cohort and St. Louis for the Chicago group).

And, of course, the requisite group photos for the archives:

Vanderbilt

UChicago

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Penn Heads East

The four member Penn cohort gathered in the wee hours at El Cerrito High School to go through the Pre-Departure process of affixing luggage tags, having their luggage weighed, loading up on snacks for their journey, getting hard copies of their itinerary and being reminded about what’s being expected of them.  Business as usual.
The airport shuttle arrived even before the ILCers so while the cohort was having their photos taken, their luggage was being loaded.

At 4:23 their parents had had their fill of last minute details, the goodbyes were brief and before we knew it the shuttle taillights were all that was left of the Penn cohort.

Before starting their coursework at the Academy of Social Justice, they’ll be dining with newly graduated ILC alum Dyana So who will be starting as an admission counselor for Penn, they’ll take an official site tour/visit of Penn before heading to Manhattan for a visit of Columbia and another trip down to Washington, D.C. for a site visit of Georgetown.  They all, of course, take in the sights while there.

And, with Independence Day just a few days away, how cool is it for the Penn cohort to celebrate where the Declaration of Independence was signed?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cornell & Brown Depart

At 2:50 AM (give or take), the Brown Women & Leadership cohort gathered with the Cornell cohort in front of El Cerrito High School to get their last minute instructions before heading East as ambassadors for their schools, their District and their community.

The ILCers and their parents were handed Final Itineraries, their luggage

was weighed, luggage tags were distributed and affixed and ILC Administrator Don Gosney praised them all for getting this far.  It’s been a long six month process but their time has arrived.

Knowing that this will be a lengthy day with minimal stops for sustenance, the IlC provided a wealth of snack options--with most actually being healthy.  The ILCers were quizzed as to what types of snacks they preferred (their sweet tooth options were, for the most part, set aside for healthier options).

Once the snacks were stowed the obligatory photos were snapped and promptly at 4 AM the airport shuttle arrived.  Their gear was stowed and soon the shuttle taillights dimmed in the distance.  The rest is up to them.

Enjoy the snapshots.
Many of the items necessary for the trip: an assortment of Zip-Lock bags, luggage tags, itineraries, contact info
cards, ID badge lanyards
A wide variety of healthy snacks were offered (along with the life sustaining red vines)
The Cornell cohort
The Brown Women & Leadership Cohort
How long do they think they’re going to be away from home?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Prodigals Return Home


They went to Brown to learn how to become leaders, they fell in love with Harvard and Yale, paid their respects to Wellesley and bade farewell to the East Coast.  And now it was time to head home to tell their world what they had seen.

After spending the morning touring Wellesley they boarded their plane in Boston and winged their way west with the setting sun.

Arriving at El Cerrito HS nearly two full hours after landing at SFO they opened the doors to their shuttle to take in the cool air of the East Bay.  After three weeks of heat and humidity it surely had to feel refreshing to bask in the cool and windy climate of the place they know as home.

As they passed by Emeryville they called their loved ones so they could be there when they arrived.  Traffic was light, though, and only one set of parents was there by the time the shuttle pulled up.  In short order, though, one set of parents after another arrived.  

There were hugs all around and smiling faces everywhere.

And, as required at every ILC event, a group photo was snapped to commemorate the end of this, the last group to return this year.

And now the Women & Leadership ladies head home to prepare to implement their Action Plans (after they blog, of course).  And then there’s Komal, who will sit us all down and impress us with her newfound knowledge of the biotechnical world.  We can’t wait.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What’s for Dinner, Ma?


Breaking with the tradition this year the Chicago cohort returned home without a single hiccup in their travels.  Every flight both coming and going before today had some sort of delay.  There was something about this cohort, though, that made this return trip so eventful if only because everything went as it was supposed to.

The plane took off 6 minutes early and arrived even earlier.  When the group went to get their luggage--which sometimes takes as long as the flight--their luggage was in their hands in about 15 minutes after they landed.

Coming from SFO back to El Cerrito in the middle of a Saturday afternoon should have been a slow crawl.  Considering that with the BART tubes closed this weekend the traffic should have been even heavier.  Yet this group zipped through the traffic and arrived at ECHS more than a half hour earlier than expected.

They were so early that they beat some of the parents to the pick up point and even beat me (how can I live with the shame?).

As would be expected, there were plenty of hugs to go around and I even heard one of the Chicagoans ask about dinner (even though it was only 2 PM).  Ahhhh...there’s nothing like coming home.

Home At Last



Par for the course this year the plane scheduled to wing our Vanderbilt cohort back to the Bay Area was delayed nearly an hour.  Fortunately, though, this was a direct flight so there were fewer opportunities for further delays.

The good pilot had a lead foot and pushed his airplane to go even faster than anticipated so the plane arrived earlier than expected--always a good thing.

Coming from the Oakland International Airport, the shuttle should have inched through the Friday night commute traffic but actually arrived earlier than expected.

When they arrived, most of the parents were there waiting but even those who came after the shuttle arrived in a matter of minutes.

It’s always fun to watch these joyous homecomings.

After the photos were snapped--we can’t have an ILC event without photos--the cars were packed and the Vanderbilt cohort went their separate ways--back to the beds they know and the home cooking they’ve grown up with.

The coming home event wouldn't be complete, though, with out a group hug of the four Vandies who have spent so much time together over the past month.
Welcome home.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

There’s No Place Like Home


No matter how much they enjoyed their time at UPenn, there’s nothing like the comfort that comes from being around your family, sleeping in a bed that knows you and eating the food prepared only the way a mother can prepare it.

When the airport shuttle arrived around 9:15 on this chilly July evening, the family members of the Penn cohort broke into ear to ear smiles.  As the Penn cohort piled out of the shuttle, family members ran to give them the kind of big hugs reserved for long lost family members.

Going with the tradition of every ILC flight being delayed for one reason or another, the Penn group decided they liked the 108º temp in Phoenix so they stuck around a while longer before coming the rest of the way home.  

Even Phoneix couldn't hold this group, though, and sooner or later they had to come home--and we’re all so glad they did.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Coming Home


Sitting on the tarmac 2,911 miles away from home with the airplane stuck to the ground—what’s wrong with this picture?  EVERYTHING!  Don’t these people know that the Columbia cohort has a date that evening with their families?  Don’t they know the importance and value of sleeping in your own bed and eating your mother’s cooking?  So what’s the hold up?

The plane finally took off and with every waking second the cohort was closer to home.

Finally, they touch down at San Francisco International Airport but then the same problem they faced in New York trying to depart was faced while still in the airport.  Why was it taking so long for the luggage to appear?

Finally, they board the shuttle to take them home and they find yet another obstacle to slow their progress.  Who on earth are all of these people on I-80 and why can’t they go any faster?

Finally, the shuttle pulls into El Cerrito HS where family members await to take them to that heaven they know as HOME.

For more, stay tuned and read the blogs as only the Columbia cohort can write them.

Providence Will Never Be the Same Again


And the last shall be first.
The Brown-II cohort—the last ILC cohort to depart this year—gathered at El Cerrito HS at 3:50 AM this morning.  Most arrived early, a few were late but all were there and ready to strut their stuff in Providence.

By now they had all heard and knew what to expect when they arrived: show their ID’s and med cards, weigh their luggage, put on their new luggage tags, receive their itineraries and listen to the last minute instructions about room descriptions and blogging.

What they really wanted to know, though, was why they had to stand in the cold when by rights they should still be snuggled in the warmth of their beds.  And, as I felt the wind cut through my own body, I was asking the same question.  This was one of those questions we ask knowing we’d get no answer.

Before positioning themselves for the obligatory photos, I offered to fill their goodie bags with red and grape vines to hold them over on their lengthy trip east.  Their chaperone, Tiffani Neal, had put together her own care packages of healthy foods—fruit and energy bars—so there were few takers for the unhealthy snacks I offered.

The Brown-II cohort is comprised only of ladies and they’re all enrolled in the Women & Leadership class at Brown.  While there they will be educated about their true value in society and will learn that the only thing keeping them back is their own unwillingness to step forward and lead from the front.

When they arrive late on this Saturday they’ll meet up with Komal Kumar—the Brown-I cohort—who arrived one week earlier to take a DNA Based Biotechnology course.  They’ll also meet up with Komal’s chaperone Margaret Maher before she heads home on Sunday.

As always, we look forward to reading the blogs of these ladies as they become a part of a world they’ve only read about.