Today’s students today have a greater capacity for learning and applying what they know to real world issues than ever before, according to Lexington/Richland District Five school superintendent Dr. Stephen W. Hefner. But public education’s challenges include solving a persistent teacher shortage and helping families with social/emotional issues that cause stress, anxiety and depression. Hefner (seen speaking to Capital Rotarians as club member Bryan Goodyear looks on) led Richland District Two for 16 years before joining District Five in 2011. During his career he’s seen school responsibilities expand in (1) serving needs of special education students; (2) fielding, equipping and coaching over 150 athletic teams; (3) offering full-day and four-year-old kindergarten; (4) building and maintaining facilities; (5) providing nursing services for a daily average of more than 600 students; (6) meeting breakfast, lunch and afterschool nutritional needs; (7) communicating with a diverse population where English is a second language for nearly 800 students; (8) technology becoming essential for teaching, learning and assessment; (9) ensuring safety with school resource officers and 360 practice drills scheduled yearly; and (10) dealing with a “generational change” in employee and family attitudes that focus primarily on lifestyle.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary has recognized three members for contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Honorees include (from left) Mike Montgomery, a Paul Harris Fellow plus-six donor, representing an initial $1,000 donation, plus six additional gifts of $1,000 each; Hal Peacock, a plus-two Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by two more for $1,000 each; club president Blake DuBose; and Tommy Gibbons, a plus-three Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by three at $1,000 each.
Capital Rotary Club members adopted two local families for the holiday season in partnership with the 2017 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Each family had a single mother and six children. Youngsters ranged in age from two to 17 years old. The Christmas wish lists included clothing, toys, personal care items, small household appliances, groceries and furniture. The club’s goal was to raise a total of $1,000 in order to purchase each family’s gifts. The club offered to match donations made by members. Presents were purchased, gift-wrapped and delivered to a warehouse for distribution. Capital Rotarians who led their club’s participation included Neda Beal, Carol Caulk, Felicia Maloney, E.J. Newby (at left in photo with Sandy, a Families Helping Families volunteer) and Qing Wang.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has made donations for two humanitarian causes – one to eradicate polio, the other to provide disaster relief in the U.S. and overseas.
The club raised $882 that will be matched with District Designated Funds to become a donation of $1,764 for the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio. Ending polio has been a mission of Rotary International since 1985. Rotarians have contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
Capital Rotary’s contribution – and the resulting match from District 7770 in eastern South Carolina – was made to celebrate World Polio Day/Week. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The local club’s disaster relief donation totaled $8,000 earmarked for rebuilding lives and communities following hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, plus the September earthquakes in Mexico. “We are coordinating through Rotary for the best way to distribute our funds to make a difference,” said Capital president Blake DuBose.
“Our board voted for this donation because we remember when Columbia was impacted by a 1,000-year flood in 2015 and an outpouring of support came from all parts of the country,” DuBose added. “The greater Columbia area was the beneficiary of an incredible amount of giving then, so we’re doing what we can in the same spirit now.”
Capital Rotary members Carol Caulk and John Guignard have tips for Arden Elementary School third-graders on how to use the new paperback dictionaries they received as part of the club’s participation in The Dictionary Project. The project – begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 – aims to help students become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learner. Capital Rotary donated dictionaries to some 850 students in 12 Richland County District One schools for 2017. Over the past 13 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to more than 13,000 students in the Columbia area. A number of Rotary clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s major goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
Matthew Pollard (center), a member of Capital Rotary’s programs committee, welcomes South Carolina Education Lottery chief operating officer Tony Cooper (left) and assistant controller Brian Ford to the club’s Sept. 6 meeting. Cooper told Rotarians the lottery is not gambling but rather “public gaming for the public good” because proceeds fund higher education scholarships, K-12 school programs, and community resources including libraries and ETV. Since the lottery started selling tickets in January 2002 it has resulted in education appropriations of more than $4.6 billion to counties all across the state. Cooper has overseen day-to-day lottery operations since start-up. Previously he was executive director of the District of Columbia Lottery & Charitable Games Board and was president of the Powerball Game Group.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose (right) congratulates club members Katherine Anderson and Paul Gillam for their latest donations to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable corporation that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Anderson and Gillam have earned designation as Paul Harris Fellow plus-one contributors (signifying a $1,000 initial donation, plus an additional gift of $1,000). Gillam has been a Rotarian for more than 10 years, while Anderson joined the club in 2009.
In the middle of an emergency appeal facing critical blood shortages, Capital Rotary’s summer blood drive collected 65 units to benefit up to 195 people. Rotarians (from left) John Guignard, Chris Ray, Blake DuBose and Bryan Goodyear await their turn to participate in the service project that’s supported the American Red Cross with 516 blood donations – potentially saving 1,548 patients’ lives – over the past seven years. “Thanks to our volunteers and donors, we lived up to Rotary International’s 2017-18 motto of ‘Making a Difference’,” said DuBose, president of the Columbia-area club.
Capital Rotary president Tommy Gibbons awards the 2017 Rotarian of the Year plaque to treasurer Craig Lemrow (left) in recognition of his dedication and loyal devotion to the ideals of “Service Above Self.” A former Rotarian in Lexington, Lemrow joined the Capital club in 2014. He’s previously been recognized for multiple contributions to The Rotary Foundation, an international charitable fund that supports programs for world understanding and peace.
Capital Rotary Club members and their spouses enjoyed a spring social at Spirit Communications Park in mid-May. The occasion was a match-up between the Columbia Fireflies – a minor league baseball affiliate of the New York Mets – and their Pittsburgh Pirates-affiliated counterparts—the West Virginia Power. An added attraction was the presence of former college football star and ex-NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, currently on the Fireflies roster while pursuing a pro baseball career. The happy fans shown are (from front to back) Rotarians Bob Davis; Allison Atkins; Craig Lemrow; Chris Ray and his wife, Joie; Pete Pillow and his wife, Anne; and Blake DuBose, the Capital club’s president-elect.