Meeting Clipboard 6/9/22: Scholarship Night, Part 1

SRC scholarship winners pose with Rotarians, family, and school officials.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Debbie Rodriguez, Becky Raymond, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Andy Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Murray Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jeff Simon. By proxy: Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd.

GUESTS (8): Michael Harkin, Brenna Sambrook, Kelly Sambrook, Brian Sambrook, Megan Sambrook, Hillary Brochu, Ethan Wilkinson, Cathy Wilkinson.

President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order at Moscatiello’s Restaurant and noted the presence of a quorum.

ROTARY INTRO — For the benefit of our visitors, Jim Leyhane gave an introduction to Rotary from the local to international prospectives. Rotary is the largest non-governmental service club in the world and is represented in more countries than in the United Nations, with 1.4 million members.

SCHOLARSHIP HONOREES — Two of the three $1,000 SRC Scholarship awardees for this year joined us for dinner, with school and family guests. The students were nominated by their school administrators for exemplifying the principles of Rotary in their service to their schools and communities.

BRENNA SAMBROOK / Columbia High School

 CHS Principal Michael Harkin introduced Brenna, who has earned the Gold Award, highest honor from the Girl Scouts of America. She implemented strategies to prevent the spread of invasive species in the East Greenbush Town Park. She built foot brushes and developed signage for placement on waterproof signs that were installed at trail entrances in the park. Brenna also designed an educational website explaining the dangers of invasive species that is featured on the town’s Parks & Recreation page. She created a QRL code that was incorporated into the signage that allows hikers to use their mobile devices to connect to the website.

Brenna  is a member of Students for Environmental Action, Future Business Leaders of America, and
Key Club. She is an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. She will be attending SUNY New Paltz to focus on environmental studies.

ETHAN WILKINSON / Maple Hill High School

Assistant Principal Hillary Brochu introduced Ethan. He has participated in community service activities
through the Kiwanis Club and his church. He has focused on collections for refugees coming to the Capital Region by raising  $2,000 and a truckload of goods for the Tulip Project and RISSE of Albany. He has participated in ALS walks, raised funds for domestic violence programs and placed flags on
veteran’s gravesites.

Ethan also is a student member of the interview committee to determine the best candidates to join the Maple Hill Community. He is treasurer of both the Key Club and SADD. He will be attending the University at Albany where he plans to major in atmospheric and environmental sciences.

ADDITIONAL MEETING NOTES — Rotarian Jeff Simon, superintendent of the East Greenbush Central School District, spoke about the Times Union’s 2022 “Best of the Capital Region” poll in which East Greenbush was voted “Best School District.”

Jeff spoke about the challenges of returning students to school after the worst of the pandemic and
different programs that were implemented to assist them, such as after-school tutoring and transportation.  They also implemented some mental health support programs and worked to increase the resources.

The district had the second highest graduation rates in the region at  98%. He attributes the success
to a very supportive community, teachers, school board, and nurses. The environment was service oriented and they never had to close the school. COVID grants were used to hire more teachers and support staff. Non-traditional programs, which included trap shooting and archery, were added.

NEXT MEETING — Thursday, June 16, dinner at 6:15 p.m. (5:30 social period), at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant, Route 4, North Greenbush. Speaker: Scharlette Wilkins, assistant services director of
Unity House’s Domestic Violence Programs.

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