Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Richmond High School vs. Summer@Brown

The fact that we will be leaving Brown this Saturday sounds so scary. In these past weeks that I have been here, I have grew accustom to the dorm life. I really do enjoy the freedom that I have here as well as being in an environment with students my age who are more or less as motivated as I am. This is a whole different environment that I was never really indulged into at my high school. The difference between being here and being at Richmond High is definitely beyond what words can express.

At Richmond High, it seems that a majority of the students are attending school out of force, not willingly. And if they do attend, they are likely to cause disruption. Many of the students lack a will to succeed and the drive to get to college. Some lost all hopes to even graduate. Not only that but there are those students who thinks that education is a joke and so they take away from other people's education. It seems like there is a small number of students who actually want to learn and go to college. The rest are just there creating obstacles for the highly motivated students.

Summer@Brown is the complete opposite. Not only is it way different from school where we have the freedom to do whatever we want, but the students here are different as well. I am surrounded by intelligent students who are highly motivated and most likely, goal-oriented. These students KNOW what they are doing. This is how I wish my school was like. It is amazing to me that all the students attend class on time, some even way early, and prepared for the lesson for the day. While I sit in class, I see everyone jotting down notes and this is something that surprised me. In my high school, you rarely see people taking notes. Also, everyone is respectful of one another and they are mature. Maturity is not something you see very often at Richmond High. It is like a word that does not even exist in the system.

I admit, like I mentioned various times before, that sometimes I feel like I was not prepared well to merge in with these students. Most of these students come from really great high schools from public schools to boarding schools. They possess extreme knowledge that I cannot even began to imagine. However, I keep in mind Dean Robin Rose's words that we were selected because they found something special in each and every one of us. Therefore, I MUST be doing something right. I may not have the best education, but I have struggled to strive for the best. Being in the bottom for so long have motivated me to aim high. I know it will take a lot of extra work but I believe that if I stay focus, there are no boundaries to what I can achieve.

Lastly, I really want to thank everyone who have made this opportunity possible for me. I want to thank the ILC and everyone involved. Without you all, this would not have been possible. Never in my dreams, would I have imagine to even step foot on an Ivy League campus but because of you all, I have. It has been a challenge for me to be so far away from home where the culture and environment is different, but now I know that there is something beyond the Bay Area. I do not always have to stick within the circumscribe boundary that have been drawn for me. Through the ILC, I am able to step out of my comfort zone and experience things I have never experienced before. Thank you. I surely am going to bring this back to the students at my school and encourage them to join the ILC. It truly is an eye-opening experience.


Madeline Kronenberg said...


I am delighted to hear that your "eyes are open" -- you were picked because you were someone who would go and see -- truly see what the world has to offer. And now, you have seen, and are ready to make your own choices to make sure you are competitive with all those other students from different backgrounds.

Please give a thought as to how your actions this year can help make some changes at Richmond High. You can share with your friends that it is OK to come prepared, ready to work, ready to learn and ready to move on to college.

Richmond High School is not under-performing because it has less money -- it underperforms because of the behaviors you described in most of the students. Students who are unmotivated to make the efforts that are required for academic success. At the very least, you can model strong, positive student behavior. And, it is my hope, that you will explain to your friends and peers how self-defeating their attitudes and behaviors are for them.

Their failure to prepare and study and expect more of themselves only hurts them. Not everyone will be part of the ILC -- but all students can benefit from your experience and sharing the behaviors they need to practice for success.

Enjoy your last few days at Brown.

Don Gosney said...


It’s a shame that we actually require young people to attend high school. Sometimes it seems as though we ought to return to the days of yesteryear where we had trade schools where we would teach young people skills that they could employ after trade school and earn a living with.

Unfortunately, even with an education as a tradesman, there are few jobs left in the US for uneducated day laborers.

Even building tradesmen like electricians, plumbers, ironworkers, carpenters and steamfitters need a higher education to apply their trade in the complex world we live in today. Is any employer going to trust a $100,000 welding machine to someone who can’t figure out his own paycheck? Who’s going to let someone who can’t figure out how to change the oil in his own car operate a $4 million crane? Is any contractor going to let a carpenter loose on a project if they don’t know how many eights are in an inch?

Instead we use our high schools as a warehouse for teenagers to keep them off of the streets. There’s little to motivate most of these kids to get them to want to attend classes, to pay attention or to crack the books as learn anything other than how to text, make babies and sell dope.

Even when we have intelligent and motivated students, how can we expect them to learn when the system is ill-prepared to offer them an education, the system is busy warehousing the majority of the students and have neither the time nor the resources to address students who attend school to learn.

Perhaps what Dr, Rose saw in you as she selected you had less to do with what you actually knew and more to do with your capacity and willingness to learn more. Assuming this is a correct assumption, what do you think we ought to do about it? Should we prove her wrong or perhaps you should become the poster child for what can be.

Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Keep up the good work Meuy! You have grown so much with the ILC. I know that you will do great things in the future. Your posts are becoming stronger and you are finding your own voice.

Yes, Richmond is a tough town. Just last night seven people got shot on the streets and two of them died. This is tragic, but this does not have to be the story of our children and it is not definitely the story of the ILC. Now is the time to redouble your efforts and go back and work with Sue Kim to find a school that is a "fit" for you. I hope that the time that you have spent on the East Coast for the past two summers has made a difference in your life.

Enjoy the College Fair tomorrow, get relevant information, truly look at the colleges that make sense and come back to Richmond with a healthy attitude and a thirst to bring to Richmond High School a college going culture.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District