Thursday, August 2, 2012

From the Parents of Leonard Eisen

A Parent’s Words of Appreciation for the Ivy League Connection

When our son, Lenny, first began speaking about the Ivy League Connection, it was very difficult to believe that the program he described actually existed. We had lived through all the financial difficulties of our school district since Lenny’s older sister, Sierra, started kindergarten in 1995 when we lived in Richmond. We saw essential programs get cut and class sizes increase. When school-funding bond issues were on the ballot, they could and would be defeated even with a super-majority of 65% because of the two thirds majority required to pass. How could such a program as ILC actually exist for West Contra Costa high school students?

My wife, Melissa, and I are strong believers in public school. We believe that social and ethnic diversity is at the top of the list of characteristics that make a school system a quality learning environment. That’s why we both chose to live in the Bay Area. So, as programs in schools were cut, we’d supplement our kids’ education as well as we could.

I don’t think I was convinced that ILC actually existed even after Lenny was accepted and I started reading emails from Don Gosney. I still wondered how such a program as ILC could actually exist for our students?

I now know it’s thanks to the awesome, tireless efforts of Charles Ramsey and Madeline Kronenberg and the sponsors that they have been able to enlist in this terrific program. I also want to express my deepest gratitude to Don Gosney and Cheryl Lilhanand. If it weren’t for Don and Cheryl, I might have had concerns about sending Lenny to New York City, without us, for a month. I grew up and went to college in New York City. I even drove a cab there. I know how easy it is to get into serious trouble in New York. I’m a pretty strict and very observant parent. I felt totally at ease all month because Cheryl was Lenny’s chaperone.

The Ivy League Connection is the most amazing program. Imagine flying to New York on Monday, touring and meeting with admissions officials and alumni at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, then visiting Sarah Lawrence College on Wednesday, Vassar College on Thursday, Yale on Friday, touring New York City as a group on Saturday, and then moving into the dorms on Sunday at Columbia University for three weeks of classes in Constitutional Law!

And, of course, there were all the cultural, culinary and entertainment extras! And all of this paid in full by the very generous sponsors!!!

Lenny, Melissa and I are forever grateful to the Ivy League Connection and it’s wonderful sponsors, who made this life-changing experience possible. Thank you!!!

Wayne Eisen

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