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Friday, May 15, 2015

An Unforgettable Moment

All throughout, our lives we experience beautiful moments that are burned into our memories. One of those moments, we will never forget. My unforgettable moment was May 14, 2015, my first Penn dinner. At the start of my day all I could think about was this dinner. (Not because I was hungry or anything). I was just really excited about the experience. I didn't know what to expect from it. Unlike the interview I didn't ask anyone what to expect from the dinner. One thing I can say though, is that it exceeded any notion I may have had.

Some people believe that the best part of travel is reaching your destination but I believe that the best part is everything you see and do along the way. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jun Chen, on the way to Kuleto's. We talked about a variety of topics from exams to the dinner speech she was going to give. Jun was very nervous about her speech but I did my best to try to reassure her.
Her moment.
After, we got off of the BART train and we made our way to the restaurant. As we walked all I could do was look up at the buildings on Powell Street. I'm from San Francisco and I don't ever recall going up, down, or anywhere near Powell. I'm proud to say that my first visit to Powell Street was with a group of wonderful young scholars.

Then, we finally arrived at what appeared to be our destination. I walked anxiously through the restaurant trailing slowly behind Don. We reached a narrow staircase that led to a large intimate room with four round tables each set with a name card. Each table sat a total of seven people. I was very eager to see who l would be sitting at a table with.

Next, Don began to point out where each of us were going to be sitting. He looked at my mom and I prior to a gesture to a table about two feet from the entrance of the intimate room. I walked nervously to my seat looking at every name card. The name card on my right said Ben Alisuang. I saw a man approaching me, reaching out to shake my hand. We shook hands and he took the seat to my right. Ben started to tell me that he was an alum of Penn. I asked him when he graduated and he told me he graduated in 2009. He told me that he went to Tennyson high school in Hayward, California. When he said that I was able to identify with him because I had lived in Hayward for some time.

I was taken totally by surprise when he said that due to the fact that he came from Hayward. Yet, that just goes to show you that no matter where you come from you can do anything with hard work. Ben became a teacher with the Teach for America association. With that program he was able to go to New York and even Africa.
Wally Gordon (far right), Ben Alisuang (right), Me

The next person I met that night was Wally Gordon he happened to be sitting on the right of Ben. He is a major sponsor to the ILC. He told me that he was an architect and he worked on the  remodeling of De Anza High School. Along side him was Scott Berge, he also worked on De Anza. Next, to Scott was his wife Michelle (Berge). Beside her was John Hillyer my chaperon. John is a teacher at De Anza who has been a Penn chaperon for a couple of years.
My mother Millard Clay on the left and John Hillyer on the right.
He told us about the sites my cohort would go see and the food we would try. Just from everything he said I was becoming more and more thrilled to go. I still can't believe that I am having a chance to pursue this wonderful opportunity.

I just want to say that my first dinner was so amazing and all of the experiences I am taking in wouldn't be possible without the ILC, most importantly the sponsors, contributors, or donators. Thank you all for helping me reach a major milestone in my young life.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible for me.
I am grateful.

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