Meeting of 12/7/17: ‘Visions for Columbia High School’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
December 7, 2017

Members Attending (20): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Debbie Rodriguez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Maggie Forth, Dick Drumm, Jim Leyhane, Ray Hannan, Terry Brewer, Carol Orvis, Jim McHugh, Jeff Simons, Dean Calamaras, Julius Frankel, Becky Raymond, Kevin Leyhane.

Guests (3): Michael Harkin, Columbia High School principal; Joe Corr, North Colonie Schools superintendent; Jeremy Forth.

Announcements / Business

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 6.59.04 PMROTARACT UPDATE — Debbie Rodriguez reported that John Justino of the UAlbany School of Public Health is checking with his administration about formal requirements for creating a Rotaract chapter there. She asked the club, as the Rotaract sponsor, to cover the $50 application fee and provide up to $200 in seed money for the startup, which may or may not be needed in full. President Roberto Martinez asked for the consensus of the club and, when given it, authorized such money. Debbie said plans are for the new club to begin meeting in January.

NEW COMMITTEES — Roberto said he still is working on the makeup of new committees and will release that information once the committee leads have accepted appointment.

COFFEE SALES — A reminder that Phil Kellerman will be selling specialty coffees at next week’s meeting, with profits from the sales going to help club support of the Capital Region Nordic Alliance (CRNA) which offers adaptive sports for disabled veterans and others.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 1.54.43 PMCOMMUNITY RECOGNITION AWARDS DINNER — Murray Forth and Terry Brewer reported that we had a sellout crowd for the second such dinner, held on Tuesday at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant. About 40 awards were presented to students, alums, educators, business people, military, and first responders. Our own John Sawchuk, who will be moving out of the area in the next few weeks, was one of the honorees for his work as an educator and Rotarian, and A.J. Amato was honored for his work on reviving our Rotary Youth Exchange student initiative. The club will realize $3,000 or more from the event, with the final tally to be reported at an upcoming meeting. The full list of honorees plus photos of the event are available on our website.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 4.13.48 PMROTARY HOME COOKING — Our annual winter-spring series of  monthly theme dinners will begin on January 20, 2018, at the residence of Debbie and Peter Brown. (Theme to be announced.) We have openings on any date in February, March, April, and May. The procedure is for a member or members to host a dinner (that is their financial contribution) and accept a limited number of guests on a first-come, first-accepted at a set price, with all proceeds going to the club treasury. Anyone interested in hosting such an event is asked to contact Roberto ASAP.

OTHER CLUBS’ ACTIVITIES — The Hudson Shores club is working with the Salvation Army on its annual bell-ringing fund, collecting in Troy (shopping strip opposite Hudson Valley Community College) and notified us to be sure it was not infringing on anything we are doing in the area. … The Cohoes club will host a bowling event at the Cohoes Bowling Center on December 16 and 17 to raise money for victims of the recent devastating fire in downtown Cohoes. … The district-wide “Drop the Puck On Polio” pro hockey game and fundraiser for polio programs is set for this Saturday in Glens Falls. Details are contained in the event flyer on our website.

Screen shot 2017-12-08 at 2.26.52 PMADOPT-A-FAMILY — April Dowd reported that pledges are going well for the eight-child family we have adopted this Christmas through the Circles of Mercy family services agency. Everyone is asked to double-check the wishlist spreadsheet on the club website and bring their donations — wrapped and tagged with the recipients’ names — to next Thursday’s dinner meeting at Quigley’s. That is the deadline for all donations.

Screen shot 2017-12-08 at 2.31.52 PMHOLIDAY PARTY — Our annual dinner and silent auction of themed gift baskets (proceeds go to the club treasury) is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, December 21, at the Forth residence. Anyone wishing to attend who has not yet signed up is asked to call or contact Maggie and Murray at as soon as possible. Please be sure to let them know how many will be in your party, including guests and kids. The dinner, at $25 each, will be catered by club member Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town catering service. Maggie has asked that guests bring a small, and she stressed “small,” plate of appetizers. Everything else will be provided. Please make every effort to come up with a themed basket of some sort. The auction is a big part of the festivities. We have lots of theme ideas. Click here to begin.

NEXT MEETING — The monthly breakfast meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m. Thursday, December 21, at the Greenbush YMCA. No dinner meeting that day because of the holiday party.

PROGRAM: “Visions for Columbia High School”

Jim McHugh

Club member Jim McHugh, assistant superintendent of the East Greenbush Central School District, introduced Michael Harkin, the incoming principal at Columbia High School.

Mike spoke briefly about his background — he presently is principal of the Knickerback Middle School in Lansingburgh — and his hopes for his tenure as successor to John Sawchuk at Columbia.

Jim then spoke about advances being made in research and implementation of programs and services to better prepare EGCSD students for college and careers. They are using “Clear Gov” for surveys of grads’ activities for up to five years out, and are experiencing a strong  62% response rate.

Jim cited examples of innovative efforts to get students in danger of dropping out to buy into career path training to supplement their regular classroom work; using companies in the community such as Gray Castle and the Center for Gravity as resources for broadening the possibilities of college, work study, and emerging career fields.

He noted that prospective employers have said many students lack the “soft skills” needed to succeed in careers — inability to communicate, weak teamwork skills, lack of understanding the responsibilities of being an employee, etc. He said EGCSD is working to improve such skills as part of the regular curriculum.


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