Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Off to Manhattan and the Farthest Reaches of the World



It was cold and it was breezy in front of El Cerrito HS when the Columbia cohort showed up starting at about 3:30 in the morning.

They all verified that they had brought their government issued photo IDs and their medical insurance cards; their luggage was weighed and luggage tags affixed.

All that was waiting for them now was the pop quiz they were given to verify that they had read the required reading prior to getting on the plane.

Each of the ILCers from the two courses to be studied—Intro to Business and Economics and Constitutional Law—were asked questions to show that they understood the material. While their answers may not have shot out of their mouths, they said what was necessary to convince us that they were ready.  [In all fairness it was so cold that their mouths may have been frozen shut.]

Last minute blogging instructions were given before heading off to have the group photo taken.

While waiting for the airport shuttle, most of the parents slipped away to return to their beds before the blankets got cold (a very good idea).


When the shuttle arrived—early—the cohort seemed to have trouble understanding that it was now time to take their seats so their journey could begin.  After some gentle prodding they took their required positions, the shuttle doors slid closed and by 4:51 AM the next thing we knew all that was left was a glimpse of the shuttle’s taillights as it headed down the street.

They’ve worked hard to get to this point and they’re ready to show the world that students from the WCCUSD are as good as anyone else.

Before diving into their studies at Columbia, however, they’re first headed off to Georgetown to see where ILC alums Bryan Moran and Oyin Ajayi will be starting their collegiate years.  Then it’s off to UPenn where ILC Superstar alum Dyana So will show off the schools she owns.  And while in New York City, the cohort will visit NYU.  When they return home they’ll be filled with information they can share with their peers that can’t be found on the Internet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Cornell Cohort Heads East and South



They were instructed to be in front of El Cerrito HS at 3:50 to receive last minute instructions for their departure to Cornell.  To a one, though, they all arrived early.  If they’ve learned nothing else from their association with the ILC they’ve learned the value of being on time.

The six members of the Cornell cohort are heading east but they’re detouring south before landing in Ithaca, NY.  They’re first going to Atlanta where they’ll tour Emory University.  From there they head to Washington, DC to visit Georgetown and then to Philadelphia to say hello to Ben Franklin while touring UPenn.

Finally, they’ll head north to Ithaca where they’ll embark on their adventures at Cornell.

This is the first of the six ILC cohorts for 2015 and, as can be seen from the photos, they’re ready.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chicago Departs



It was dark and it was chilly, as you would expect at 3:00 AM here in the Bay Area.  It was only 56º this morning but it felt cooler.  Dark is dark so there’s no equivocation on that one.

Shortly before the designated arrival time for the Chicago cohort a couple of our brave souls arrived to pick up their loaner items—in particular, their laptops, 
As is the custom, luggage was weighed, luggage tags affixed, itineraries distributed, important but dull and repetitive admonishments were dished out by yours truly and the group photos were duly taken.

The airport shuttle arrived plenty early and people were pleased to see that it was roomy enough for everyone.  This was an unusual shuttle in that it was large enough to seat 14 and tall enough for people to stand inside.  There was also plenty of room for luggage.

Someone commented that it looked like a party bus and we chuckled a bit.  When the doors opened, though, and we saw the neon blue running lights, we were convinced that this truly was a party bu 
At the appointed time the cohort hugged their parents, the cohort boarded their bus and off they went.  Within seconds the parents were back in their cars headed back to what they hoped would be their still warm beds.  As soon as I hit the PUBLISH button, I’ll head back to mine.

Monday, June 30, 2014

UPenn & Vanderbilt: Departure Day


It was dark outside and although the thermometer said it was 55º it still felt warm—possibly a precursor of the temps we might find once the sun crept over the horizon.  In any case, it was good weather for Departure Day.

Today we saw our Penn and Vanderbilt cohorts meet at the same time as they picked up their itineraries, received some last minute instructions and advice from Wise Don and posed for the group photos that come part and parcel with these gatherings. 
For lack of anything better to do while waiting for the ILCers and their chaperones to arrive, the mental wagering began as I bet on which ILCer would be the first to arrive.  Today it was Shanti Shrestha from the Vanderbilt cohort who arrived a full hour early.  I wondered to myself whether she read the emails right or whether she might have misunderstood what time she was supposed to be there.  There’s early and there’s REAL early.

In any case, she was there and she was ready to go.

As long as she was there, I figured I could put her to work assembling the luggage tags I had prepared for the cohorts.  Even though she destroyed one of the tags for her chaperone, she did a wonderful job.  If she ever applies for such a job when she’s ready to enter the job market, I’ll write that letter of recommendation that will seal the deal. 
As we approached the specified time to be at El Cerrito HS, the individual members of both cohorts started drifting in.  Some looked wide awake and ready to go while others looked like they had gotten out of bed only moments before and mentally wanted to crawl back under the covers to enjoy the comfort of their own beds.  I don’t blame them and as soon as I post this blog I’ll be doing the same.

The airport shuttle—a big white tourist bus—arrived right before 5:00 AM, the luggage was loaded and the ILCers bade their parents farewell.  As the shuttle’s taillights faded in the distance, those that were left behind realized that if we hurried we could catch a few more zzz’s before having to wake and ready ourselves for the day in front of us.  Sounds like a heck of a plan to me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Departure Day--Take Two



Yesterday it was Columbia and Cornell and today it was the Brown-I cohort that were sent east to shine as they represent the ILC, the District and their communities.  We expect nothing short of excellence from all five members of this cohort.

With Kevin Mahoney and Jack Giddings ready to learn about the world of macroeconomics, Jing-Yi Chung, Brandon Chow and Arnold Dimas are to set to expand their knowledge of DNA based biotechnology.  Underwater Basketweaving this is not.

Unlike yesterday where the wind made the mild temps seem like Antarctic Katabatic winds, this morning was technically cooler (51º) but it felt warmer.  Still, for two days in a row I sported a jacket over my aloha shirt (shorts and sandals were still mandatory).

Between the ILC cohorts, their chaperones and family members yesterday, we had about 25-30 people milling about in front of El Cerrito HS.  Today, we had but one cohort and the number of friends and family was significantly fewer in number.  And even though we met later in the morning today, this group seemed either half asleep or just plain docile.  They were quiet and verbally unresponsive (probably thinking about what they would out in their blogs).
As is the usual custom, we weighed their luggage, affixed luggage tags, gave them a pep talk and—the group photo.  Unlike every other time I assemble an ILC group for a photo, this time there were no parents crowding around with the mobile phones snapping away.  Like their children, I think they were equally sleepy and ready to slip back into their nice warm beds.
Right on time, the shuttle van arrived and, with a little prodding, the ILCers moseyed over to the van to give the driver their luggage.  With a little more prodding they were made to understand that until they actually got in the van, it could not leave.
We finally reached a point where the luggage was stowed, the ILCers were seated in the van and the doors were securely closed.  We waved our goodbyes and quickly returned to the warmth of our cars where we knew they would take us back to a comfortably warm bed.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Columbia’s Departure Day


There’s a game we play—actually it’s just me that plays this game—where we/I try to guess who the most responsible person might be.  That is, who can I count on to show up first (chaperones can’t play—although they ought to be included)?

For this, our first Departure Day of the season, it was Carla Martinez.  Carla who?  Carla’s with the Cornell cohort.  Today we pulled double duty and shipped off the Columbia cohort at the same time as the Cornell cohort.  Even though Carla is a Cornellian, she takes the top prize for both cohorts.

Everyone showed up on time—sort of—and we got on with the business of checking IDs and med cards (just to be sure they didn’t leave them on the kitchen table), weighing the luggage, affixing luggage tags, giving a pep talk and then taking the obligatory group photos.

And all through it all we shivered—a lot.
Justin wanted to know if I could PhotoShop out the shivering
We’ve had Departure Days where perspiration ran down my face at 4 AM and then we had one time where I had to set up canopies because it rained on us.  But this is the first time I ever wore a jacket.

It’s not that it was all that cold—just 55º—but there was enough of a wind that it seemed to slice right through us.

Some of our cohort members had pre-reading to do before they departed and, as might be expected, heavy reading didn’t sit well with being out of school.  As an incentive, I warned them that they would be given a quiz before boarding.  Cornell’s Hotel Management aced their quiz, Cornell’s Freedom & Justice did okay, Columbia’s Con-Law struggled and Columbia’s Econ cohort blew us away with their knowledge of the material.  They all did well enough to warrant a ride to the airport.
Another game that is played is the weighing of the luggage.  Everyone seems to have their own scales at home so we have a little guessing game about how heavy the bags are when weighed with something other than a truck scale.  The all time record for the lightest bag stands at 16.3 pounds but today we had a record on the other end of the scale with Kendal bringing a 57 pound bag (the goal is 42 pounds).  Feverishly working with her parents to shuffle her ‘stuff’ she got it down to 52 pounds but that was still a far cry from being acceptable.  Considering that this would have been a $50 overweight surcharge for each leg of the flight, she still needed to get things down.  Even worse than paying several hundred dollars for being too heavy, the Columbia cohort was going to take a couple of trains where their weight restrictions will not even allow a bag weighing more than 50 pounds.

Coming to the rescue was Justin who offered Kendal space in his bag so she could still bring what she needed.  Kudos to Justin for stepping up.

Because we had two cohorts traveling to the airport together, we wanted to avoid the mishap of last year where one of the bags was left at the wrong terminal.  This year we tied brightly colored ribbons on the bags so they were color coded.

Once we had concluded the business at hand, we loaded up the bus with a gazillion pounds of luggage and the two cohorts boarded the roasty toasty bus.  As the parents and I stood on the curb waiting for the bus to depart, every last one of us had thoughts about how warm our own cars would be.

At 3:52 AM the bus headed to SFO and at 3:52 and a couple of seconds we were all enjoying the warmth of our own cars.  All is well with the world.

Cornell’s Departure Day



There’s a game we play—actually it’s just me that plays this game—where we/I try to guess who the most responsible person might be.  That is, who can I count on to show up first (chaperones can’t play—although they ought to be included)?

For this, our first Departure Day of the season, it was Carla Martinez.  Today we pulled double duty and shipped off the Columbia cohort at the same time as the Cornell cohort.  Even though Carla is a Cornellian, she takes the top prize for both cohorts.

Everyone showed up on time—sort of—and we got on with the business of checking IDs and med cards (just to be sure they didn’t leave them on the kitchen table), weighing the luggage, affixing luggage tags, giving a pep talk and then taking the obligatory group photos.

And all through it all we shivered—a lot.
We’ve had Departure Days where perspiration ran down my face at 4 AM and then we had one time where I had to set up canopies because it rained on us.  But this is the first time I ever wore a jacket.

It’s not that it was all that cold—just 55º—but there was enough of a wind that it seemed to slice right through us.

Some of our cohort members had pre-reading to do before they departed and, as might be expected, heavy reading didn’t sit well with being out of school.  As an incentive, I warned them that they would be given a quiz before boarding.  Cornell’s Hotel Management aced their quiz, Cornell’s Freedom & Justice did okay, Columbia’s Con-Law struggled and Columbia’s Econ cohort blew us away with their knowledge of the material.  They all did well enough to warrant a ride to the airport.

Another game that is played is the weighing of the luggage.  Everyone seems to have their own scales at home so we have a little guessing game about how heavy the bags are when weighed with something other than a truck scale.  The all time record for the lightest bag stands at 16.3 pounds but today we had a record on the other end of the scale with Kendal bringing a 57 pound bag (the goal is 42 pounds).  Feverishly working with her parents to shuffle her ‘stuff’ she got it down to 52 pounds but that was still a far cry from being acceptable.  Considering that this would have been a $50 overweight surcharge for each leg of the flight, she still needed to get things down.  Even worse than paying several hundred dollars for being too heavy, the Columbia cohort was going to take a couple of trains where their weight restrictions will not even allow a bag weighing more than 50 pounds.

Coming to the rescue was Justin who offered Kendal space in his bag so she could still bring what she needed.  Kudos to Justin for stepping up.
Because we had two cohorts traveling to the airport together, we wanted to avoid the mishap of last year where one of the bags was left at the wrong terminal.  This year we tied brightly colored ribbons on the bags so they were color coded.

Once we had concluded the business at hand, we loaded up the bus with a gazillion pounds of luggage and the two cohorts boarded the roasty toasty bus.  As the parents and I stood on the curb waiting for the bus to depart, every last one of us had thoughts about how warm our own cars would be.

At 3:52 AM the bus headed to SFO and at 3:52 and a couple of seconds we were all enjoying the warmth of our own cars.  All is well with the world.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Long Time ILC Supporter Passes

Judge Henry Ramsey, Jr. was a long time supporter of The Ivy League Connection and served as a panelist to select many of the ILC scholarship recipients.


Aside from being a fervent advocate for The Ivy League Connection, he was also the father of ILC Co-Founder and administrator Charles Ramsey.

On Friday March 14th, 2014, Judge Ramsey succumbed to a stroke suffered several days prior.

Judge Ramsey will be severely missed.
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Below is an obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle of March 16th:
Henry Ramsey Jr., a distinguished legal scholar who served as an Alameda County judge, member of the Berkeley City Council and dean of Howard University‘s law school, died Friday at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley. He was 80.

Mr. Ramsey suffered a stroke last Sunday at his Berkeley home, family members said.

Mr. Ramsey believed that “justice should be a reality for everybody,” said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who served as co-counsel with Mr. Ramsey on a number of cases “when we represented those who couldn’t get representation, like the Black Panthers. Henry was so dedicated and so forceful. He was just a joy to work with.”

Mr. Ramsey pulled no punches, Brown said. “He caused everyone to be conscious of their own conduct. He was such a scholar that he would let you know when you used a verb instead of an adjective. And somebody coming from Rocky Mount, N.C., you wouldn’t think he would be so equipped,” said Brown, laughing.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte called Mr. Ramsey a “warrior for justice and fairness and equality in our court system. I want him to be remembered as a mentor, as a wonderful role model, as a courageous judge who made courageous and fair decisions.”

Civil rights attorney John Burris said Mr. Ramsey was a noted philanthropist who took time to help seniors and youths.

“He was a person who gave of himself to the community at large,” Burris said.

His son Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa Unified School District board, said he took his father’s advice to heart. “My dad always said, ‘You’ll be measured as a man not by what you did for yourself but what you do for others.’ “

Another son, Ismail “Izzy” Ramsey, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney, said his father strove to help those in need. “In addition to being a great father, he was committed to helping others get equality and justice,” he said.

Mr. Ramsey celebrated his 80th birthday in January at a party at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley that included many well-wishers and friends, including state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Mr. Ramsey graduated from UC Riverside in 1960 with a degree in philosophy and earned his law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He then served as a Contra Costa County prosecutor - helping to integrate the office - and as a trial lawyer in private practice.

He was a member of the faculty at Boalt Hall from 1971 to 1980. During his tenure there, he served on the Berkeley City Council from 1973 to 1977.

He served as an Alameda County Superior Court judge from 1981 to 1990 before serving as dean of the Howard University School of Law for the next five years.

Besides his sons Charles and Ismail Ramsey, Mr. Ramsey is survived by four other children and his wife, Eleanor. His first wife, Evelyn, died in 2010.
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And from the March 14 edition of The Contra Costa Times...
Henry Ramsey Jr., a politician, lawyer, judge, professor and law school dean, died Friday at Alta Bates Medical Center after suffering a massive stroke five days earlier at his Berkeley home, his son Charles Ramsey said. He was 80.


“He was a man who came west from the segregated South and built a life based on community services and tried to make the world a better place for as many people as possible,” said Charles Ramsey.

Henry Ramsey was born in Florence, S.C., and came of age in a segregated Deep South.

Before the 1965 Civil Rights March in Selma, Ala., Ramsey was jailed with a group of 60 others after they tried to demonstrate in one of Selma’s white neighborhoods, according to a 1997 profile in the Contra Costa Times.

Ramsey came west to settle into his life and career.

He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from UC Riverside and his law degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law. He was a member of the law faculty at Boalt Hall from 1971 to 1980 and served on the Berkeley City Council from 1973 to 1977.

Later, Ramsey became a Superior Court of California judge and then dean of Howard University School of Law from 1991 until 1996, according to his online biography.
Henry Ramsey Jr., a politician, lawyer, judge, professor and law school dean, has died after suffering a massive stroke at his Berkeley home. He was 80 years old. 
Friends remember Ramsey for his quick wit, towering height and presence, and his dapper style, which typically included a dark suit and bow tie.

“Henry was always dapper, always entertaining and always inspiring,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who studied under Ramsey at UC Berkeley’s Law School in 1979-80. “He made learning fun.”

Jim McMillan, a former Richmond councilman and Ramsey’s friend for more than 50 years, said he was fiercely principled and always passionate about civil rights.
Henry Ramsey Jr., who later became an Alameda County judge, prepares to leave on the march from Selma, Ala., in 1965. 
“He wasn’t that suave when I first met him,” McMillan chuckled. “He walked around with an Afro and old army combat jacket and combat boots back then.”

McMillan said Ramsey was the lead attorney for a group of African-American Richmond police officers who successfully sued the city for discrimination in the early 1980s.

“The officers really celebrated him, really revered him,” McMillan said.

Ramsey was in good health before his stroke, his son said. His 80th birthday party was held at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland and included guests such as state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Ramsey and his wife had recently returned from a vacation in Cambodia.

Charles Ramsey said his father was one of two African-Americans, along with Eugene Swann, to integrate the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in the 1960s.

Ramsey leaves a lasting legacy in the East Bay. Charles is a longtime member of the West Contra Costa School Board. The Henry Ramsey Jr. Law Academy at De Anza High School bears his name.

“Henry was someone who really lived in many worlds: academic, foundation, political, legal. This was a man who impacted many worlds,” Gioia said. “The common theme is he cared about people who were most in need of a voice.”


Tutorial Sessions 1 & 2


On Saturday March 15th the ILC held the first two of their four tutorial sessions where 18 of our 36 ILCers learned something about how to blog, take photos, post their photos and numerous details about being a part of the ILC.  They also learned more about what to expect in coming months.

If you scroll down below this blog you can read some of their first blogs. 

But first, we thought we would post a few photos from the day.