My husband and I are thankful for the opportunity that the Ivy League Connection has given to our daughter, Romina, to be a part of its program—this program that sends qualified students to different prestigious universities and colleges to take up a short course over the summer. We were very happy and proud of her when we first learned about the good news that she was accepted to the ILC. The process that she went through to get into the program was challenging—defending her point of view on a not-so-easy topic through essay writing, experiencing the intense panel interview, and applying to the actual college—already gave her the opportunity to learn how it is like in college and in the real world after college.
The fancy dinner at Boulevard a couple of weeks prior to the trip to the East Coast was also a wonderful experience for Romina where she got to meet and interact with other Ivy Leaguers and sponsors. I can only imagine the wonderful events she's attended back east.
We had mixed emotions about it; happy for Romina because it was an opportunity of a lifetime for her, but at the same time sad because of the 3-week separation from each other. It was very hard for us to let her go because that was the first time that Romina would be away from our family for 3 weeks, considering the distance and fear of not being there with her in case she needed us. Nonetheless, her eagerness and enthusiasm to learn things outside of her usual high school environment changed our mind.
Aside from the academic understanding of the Women and Leadership course, her short stay at Brown University has taught her a lot of things: how to mingle with people from different walks of life, how to handle challenging situations in or outside the campus, how to budget her finances, and most especially independence from us. When she returned from Brown, there was some type of energy I saw in her—some type of drive to pursue her dreams and achieve her goals. The overall ILC experience made Romina a mature and better person, a blessing that she will cherish for the rest of her life.
As a parent, it's difficult to see your child slowly separate from you. Letting Romina go miles away from us at her age was not easy, but now it's definitely safe to say that it was all worth it.
-Dinah Pelaez, mom
[Fotos removed at the request of Romina]