Meeting Clipboard 5/4/23

Southern Rensselaer Rotary Club


May 4, 2023

MEMBERS ATTENDING ( 11 ): Dick Drumm, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth,  Pat Bailey, Ray Hannan, Terry Brewer and Phil Kellerman. 

By Zoom: 

GUESTS (2) Michael Bennett, Joe Corr

President Elect Peter Brown called the meeting to order.

Theme for the Year: “Growing Fellowship and Service Locally and Globally.” 

Hybrid Meeting:  Please let Kevin Leyhane, Jim Leyhane or Roberto Martinez know if you plan to join the weekly meeting via Zoom.

Proxy Votes:  If unable to attend please submit your proxy votes to President Kevin Leyhane or any board member who will be attending the meeting. Proxy votes can also be submitted using the Remind App. Text to the number 81010.


Website updates: We are still updating club information on MYRotary (International), Club Runner (District),  A Zoon meeting with 3 Rotary District officials; Sue Austin, Denise DiNoto and Marissa and club members; Peter Brown, Roberto M., Jim L. and Pat B. went well and several problems were resolved. Jim stated it was a very helpful session.

Albany Water Project Video Presentation: No change

 Exchange Program: No updates but things are progressing

Gift of Life: The District Rotary is once again offering the barrow of booze raffle. See Jim Leyhane for tickets. Tickets are $20 for one and two for $30. The drawing will be held live on Facebook on May 26th. Proceeds will go to the Gift of Life. Jim reported the deadline is next week. 

Gift of Life 25th Annual Golf Tournament: Will be held Thursday, September 14, 2023.  The brochure and link to register can be found on a post on our website.

Student Scholarship Update:  Per Terry Brewer, Columbia High School has selected a student. Maple Hill and Rensselaer will send in their nominations. The student recipients, one parent and a school administrator are invited to attend the Club meeting on June 8th. He repeated that things are moving forward.

Music in the Park:  There are four Movie Nights in the Park scheduled to be held on Fridays. We are approved by the town to do both the Music in the Park and the Movie Nite. We will be selling popcorn and soda and possibly penny candy. Signup sheets are being circulated. We all need to participate. Please check the schedule for spots still open. 

Dues: A reminder from our Treasurer, Murray Forth, that our yearly membership dues of $175.00 should be paid by June 1st or you can opt to make two payments of $87.50 each.

Summer Program: Schedule is now updated and available and will be posted and updated to calendar on our website. Slater visit was discussed as an outing for this summer. Kids would be welcome date is tentative August 10, 2023. 

New Member: Top Form is now a corporate member. 

Presidential Changeover: Will be held on July 6, 2023 at Peter and Debbie Browns house. 

Officers for the coming year: Peter invited all to volunteerNew jobs include Public Relations as well as President Elect.  Next week we will vote on this next week.. 

Next Meeting: Thursday, May 11, 2023 dinner at 6:00 pm at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant, Route 4, North Greenbush. Also, you can join the by Zoom using the link on the websites calendar page. 

Speaker: Mike Bennett Superintendent 

Terry introduced Mike Bennett and explained about the shooting at Columbia H.S. 19 years ago.  He spoke about the recovery efforts after the event on Feb. 9, 2004.  Also that John Romano, the shooter, has been released from prison. The incident took just 8 minutes, but everything changed!

Mike explained he is now Superintendent at Greenville CSD . Before that he was at several other schools as both teacher and principal. 

How do you recover from such an occurrence? 

It started as a normal day at Columbia High School, but during the 5th period he heard a noise and another one and he and John Sawchuck went out into the hall. John approached the shooter and tried to grab him, the gun discharged and Mike was shot in the leg. John had disarmed the shooter.  Police arrived quickly and two nurses on staff treated Mike’s before he was transported to the hospital. 

After treatment Mike was not able to return home due to media attention. His photo on the stretcher was on all the news stations constantly, life had change forever.. School resumed the next day for staff and students, but he was advised not to return to school right away and especially not until after the Grand Jury met.  Going forward; sounds like doors slamming and other loud noises had an effect on him and he had difficulty retuning to the school. Then 2014 Sandy Hook happened and it also had repercussions. 2018 another school shooting happened. Each event took a toll. Also Mike had become an interim building supervisor and then Principal. With time kids began to become involved asking for changes.  Mike has also written an article about the experience. 

NASSP (National Association of School Principals) invited him to become involved. People involved in school shootings all around the country and 13 originally met outside Washington DC. He was in a room of people that understood the experience, but he was the only one who was shot! 

Mike decided he needed to be part of an advocacy group as well as helping to support to others.  He has had an annual trip to DC to promote and plan and the reception has been good. They have developed a program of Best Practices for school shootings including a Guide to Recovery. He spoke about what is in the guide. Section 1 is about securing support and responding to officers, Section II includes reopening the school, Section III is dealing with the kids and staff and attending student’s ongoing needs, Section IV is Holding Commemorations and annual Remembrances, and Section V is listening to students.  The guide includes testimonials from others who have experienced this or something similar.  He explained how he hopes to continue to address the problem. 

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Terry also spoke about his experiences and perspective. 

Mike and Terry responded to questions.   

Menu next week: Antipasto Salad, Chicken Limon (Lemon) and Baked Ziti

Adjourned 7:45

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