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EOYDC/SOUTHWEST 2010 COLLEGE TOUR
By Brent Bell, EOYDC
All I can say is wow, I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity not only to go to New York but also probably do more stuff than New York’s own residents will even be able to do in their whole lives. I can still remember the day that I received a phone call telling me that I was going on a college tour to New York City. A place that I would never think I would have the chance to go to in my whole life. After I hung up the phone it seems like my life skipped to my alarm clock waking me up at 4:30am to catch a 7 o’clock Southwest Airline plane flight to New York. And just as quick it took me to pack, the captain had was on the intercom to say that we were landing at La Guardia airport in New York City. In the process, I overcame my fear of flying and heights with the help of my EOYDC friends. The super shuttle ride to the hotel was like I was in a space ship that took me to a new place. I have never in my life seen so many buildings lined up in way that was unreal. Each street was like a never ending passageway that would lead to the New York dream of fame and fortune. I was filled with excitement and happiness that I was getting ready to take this city over. To make the night even better we had dinner with Brittany Harris one of my favorite directors of the EOYDC Summer Cultural Enrichment Program who I haven’t seen in years. She graduated from Brown University and now lives and works in New York. The only bad thing about New York was that I had to share a bed but I didn’t care because this trip was too big to get mad over a little problem like this.
Just as soon as my head hit the pillow I had to wake up around 6:30 because we were going to be in the studio audience on Good Morning America. It was really cool to see how precise and efficient the camera teams and producers had to work to get the perfect shot. By the way, cooking superstar Rachael Ray was a guest on the show. I couldn’t remember what she cooked because I still couldn’t believe that I was in the same room as Rachael Ray, the person my mom would try to duplicate her recipes but would fall short when compared to Rachael’s expertise. After the show we were given a quick tour of the Good Morning America studios that showed us the first floor where most of the filming took place.
When we left it was a quick walk to United Nations, US mission. This was the brainchild of United Nations Ambassador, Susan Rice. On the way there it was interesting to see how different the east coast life was from the west. Everything on the east coast seemed fast paced and quick and everybody was in such a hurry it often meant jay-walking. The US mission was awesome because I always wanted to learn more about the diplomatic situations in Africa and what my country was trying to do about it. After the well informed briefing by Scott Turner ,we were off to NYU for a tour by one of EOYDC’s alumni. We met with Lanikque Howard, one of my former summer youth leaders. While she is a student at UC Berkeley, she was participating in a semester at New York. She showed us around the campus and even to her dorm room. She gaves us helpful tips on college and encouraged us to try semester away programs if we don’t relocate out of California.This is probably one of my favorite colleges of all because it’s in the middle of a city that I absolutely love. I hope to apply to NYU when the time comes. After the tour we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge which even right now I still can’t believe that I did and we even took the same type of picture that the youth leaders before me had taken we they came to NY. After getting a quick dessert at the best cheesecake place in America, “Juniors”, we took the subway to meet up with NYU Professor, Pedro Noguera. I think we had the best debate on education and the achievement gap. It turns out that he used to work with my favorite high school history teacher in Berkeley, its so cool how small this world is. We then called it day after we shopped around in the surrounding stores for a while.
Another coffee filled morning was required to keep up with this New York lifestyle. We walked to the NBA headquarters where we met a marketing team for the NBA. We actually saw an un-edited version of a Gatorade commercial and saw how T, Shay and Megan fixed it. My friends and I then ran over to see the next live taping of the BET’s 106 & Park which was amazing. We didn’t see any famous celebrities there but it was cool just to feel the atmosphere of one of the loudest audiences on TV.
On Friday we went to Colombia University, one of the most respected colleges in America. Every detail of the college was perfect and we even saw the girl’s basketball team. On our way to Malcolm and Betty Shabazz’s education center in Harlem we stopped and got one of the best milkshakes ever. The center was very educational. I never learned so many things about Malcolm X and I even saw the spot where he was shot, it was almost breath taking. The rest of the day we shopped and continued to enjoy our stay on the probably the best trip of our lives. On our last full day in NY we met with musician,Wyclef Jean in a western union and even got a quick picture with him. Our group then made a stop at the Schomburg museum and Langston Hughes auditorium but sadly only the gift shop was only open due to repairs. We did not let that slow us down as we saw the statue of liberty which was so beautiful in person. Lastly, we ran to Times Square to have a dinner and talk about how much fun we had during this amazing experience. This was probably the best trip I will ever take in my lifetime. I’m sure that no matter how many times I come to NY it will never be as fun, educational or inspiring as the EOYDC one.
I want to thank Ms. Regina for making friends with the Southwest Airlines people so they would sponsor our tour. Thank you Southwest Airlines, you changed my life.