Friday, July 3, 2009

Columbia and New York City so far

This past day, as well as this past week has been one big rush of excitement. Today was fun; the Brown kids paid a visit to the lovely New York City, where the first toured Columbia University and met up with us as the dock departing to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

After waiting quite a while to progress further in the line, and for the Brown students, everyone boarded a ship going to the Ellis Island. Our time spent on the ferry was quite a while, and it's taken an effect on me. As of right now, I still feel as if I were on that boat, swaying back and forth from the Atlantic Ocean waves. 

Then, we finally arrived to the Ellis Island. This wasn't my first time going to the historic site, but this trip definitely added to my current knowledge of the location .In the center of the first floor, there was a huge screen displaying a map of the United States. On the bottom laid a touch-screen panel, where visitors can choose a certain race and identify the amount of that specific ethnicity in each country. Here, I looked up the number of Filipinos living in the United States, and discovered that Filipinos are highly populated in three states: California, with a population of a little over nine-hundred thousand -- the state I assumed had the highest amount -- Hawaii as the second most populated, and Illinois as the third. 

Once our visit was over, we headed to visit a few other sites, such as the bull in Wall Street and Ground Zero. After, we said our goodbyes to our fellow Brown companions as they boarded a train returning to Providence.

After this, I bumped into some of my floormates and decided to hang out with them. So far, I've met many people in the program who have broadened the types of people I currently know. Before this program, I didn't ever think I would befriend anyone from places such as Texas, England, or even Turkey. Aside from this, I've met a few local New York City residents who have enlightened my knowledge of the life of an average New Yorker. These are people who I would have never met if it weren't for this program. I know that through the course of the remaining two weeks I will get to learn even more about my freidns' cultures, and even those of ones I have yet to meet!


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Thanks Gabriel for your thoughtful words and impressions. I would really value knowing how our students at Pinole Valley High School would fare in this environment. How have you been impacted? When you listen to the International students, what do you take from their discussions? Do you believe that these students in this program are more motivated? Speak with them and ask them why they decided to attend the Columbia Summer Studies Program for High School students? How did they come to select this program?

What do they experience at their high school? Do the students challenge them or do they have to also deal with a lot of distractions as we face in our district? I need to hear and learn what goes on with you and the others.

Are you happy that you are Columbia? What do you think of the Ivy League Connection now? Are you glad that you applied? Let us know, we are trying to document the experience.

New York City is a place that has a lot of distractions. Columbia University is a small blip on the radar, but for us it is very important and we are trying to have more students attend this great university. I also hope that you take the time to visit the alumni office, yes the alumni office, not the Admissions office, and find out why Columbia grads love the school so much. Why do they stay in contact? Also how strong is the network of Filipino graduates from Columbia. Try to find out if they have a Filipino organization on campus. Now is the time to gather information and bring it back to us.

We want to make the Ivy League Connection as strong as possible and we can only do that if we have people provide us relevant information that can be used in the district. Your being there provides us a resource that will be valuable for the next set of students who will venture to Columbia next year.

Finally, have a great day in New York City. I can probably say that all of you will have a lot of choices to have fun on our Day of Independence.

Take care.

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

Don Gosney said...


When you were studying that map and learned of the three main concentrations of Filipinos, did you stop to wonder WHY there are such large concentrations of Filipinos in those areas?

You’re probably aware that Filipinos were used widely by the US Navy and locations where Naval bases were situated often attracted Filipinos to migrate with their families.

Here in the Bay Are with our naval bases (Mare Island and Alameda in particular), San Diego and Hawaii all make sense. Last I saw, though, we don’t have too many naval bases in Illinois so the large concentration of Filipinos there should really pique your curiosity.

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