Club News

Kaitlin Jeuch – Our Maple Point Middle School 2021 February Student-of-the-Month

Lou Hatfield, Student-of-the-Month Chair presented Kaitlin Jeuch with the Club's Maple Point Middle School Student-of-the-Month Certificate of Recognition and a $100 scholarship award for February 2021.

Kaitlin Jeuch

Kaitlin thanked the Club; "I am honored to have received this Student of the Month Award from the Shady Brook Rotary Club. I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I like math and science. I find them interesting and I like how there is a right answer while also being open ended sometimes. My hobbies include art and looking into psychology; they both really interest me. I do art both traditionally and digitally. It gives me a nice escape into my own reality. I can control where everything is, even how deep the shadows can be. It’s amazing! I’m interested in psychology because I like the concept of the human brain and therapy. I like how diagnosing mental illnesses works and how it is so much more complex than people think. I like taking time to look into symptoms and behaviors and being able to pinpoint an abstract topic into a category and how that process helps people. I don’t have an exact college plan, but I do know I want to be a therapist or guidance counselor."

Kaitin with parents Joanne and Dan Jeuch

Kaelynn Snyder – Our January Maple Point Middle School Student-of-the-Month

The Club was delighted to honor Kaelynn Snyder with its January 2021 Maple Point Middle School Student-of-the-Month Award.

Presenting a Certificate of Recognition and a check is Lou Hatfield

Kaelynn thanked the Club for the certificate and $100 scholarship check.  “During my 4 years at Maple Point Middle School, I have dabbled in a few extracurricular activities such as art, debate club, and S.T.E.M.  The ways I have been involved in art is through art club and a few pieces of my art through my art classes have made it to district art shows.  Also, another form of art that I have participated in is through music.  In music, I played bass for 3 years, and flute for nearly 5 years.

While debate club was still an option in 5-6 grade for Maple Point Middle School where I was a member.  In addition, I was also involved with S.T.E.M.  S.T.E.M is the curriculum that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In efforts, just last year, I was recognized by AAUW Makefield Area Branch.  AAUW is an association where women and men advocate for equality for women and girls, and girls who excel in math and science are recognized annually for their amazing efforts in their academics. 

My aspirations for life consist of pursuing my dream of taking on the occupation of a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Physician, going on a cross-country road trip to explore our Nation’s treasures, and living life to the fullest at all times. 

To wrap it all up, if I could give any advice to a student who is in a rough patch with their academics, remember to breathe and take a second look, the most obvious solutions are usually the ones that fly right over your head.

Kaelynn with her proud mom, Laurenand grandparents, Walt and Ruth Blichasz

 

William Dick School’s Principal Amy Williams Joined Us Today

For twelve years our Rotary Club has been a supporter of Philadelphia’s inner-city William Dick School.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic while we have been able to provide needed supplies, our members have been unable to have any on-site direct interface with the school, its faculty or students.  Therefore, we were delighted to have the school’s principal, Amy Williams join our meeting this morning to provide an update on the school. 

By way of background, Amy has spent 32 years working in the School District of Philadelphia, specifically in the North Philadelphia community where William Dick School is located.  Her undergraduate work was completed at Lebanon Valley College.  After leaving LVC Amy attended St. Joseph's University where she earned her masters of education and certifications including:  reading specialist, K-12 principal and later her Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility. 

Amy's teaching experience includes 11 years at the elementary school level as well as a couple of summers teaching adjudicated teenage boys.  She became principal of William Dick School in July of 1999 and has remained there for her principalship.  Amy is also an adjunct professor at Rosemont College where she teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Courses taught include:  Effective Teaching Strategies, Literacy and Society, Classroom Management, and Literacy in the Content Areas.

Over the years, Amy has taken inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s quote, "It always seems impossible until it's done."

The William Dick School’s student enrollment this year is 430 students and is situated in an area where 96% of the families are eligible for food stamps.  As with the rest of the Philadelphia schools, all classes are being held virtually.  Any while each student has been given a laptop and provided with Internet access, challenges abound.  For some it is background noises in the home during class time, others forget to keep their laptops charged, others, particularly the younger children, often have trouble logging on and their parents are unable or unavailable to assist them. These tend to be issues which are far less prevalent in the wealthier suburbs, to the detriment of the students of poorer, inner-city schools..

White the Philadelphia school district does provide technical assistance the locations are not in near proximity to the community from which the students come. 

While Amy’s staff is permitted to teach their classes from home or in school, most have opted to broadcast their classes from the school.

Another challenge has been the inability to distribute free breakfasts and lunches which was a daily ritual when the school was open for in-person learning.  However, the ShopRite gift certificates we have provided have been of invaluable assistance in providing food to some of the most needy families.

The attendance statistics have, not surprisingly, slipped from around 92% when students were attending in-school to around 87% to 88% since having to go virtual.  It also tends to be the highest for the 7th and 8th graders as they are better prepared and able to address some of the connectivity issues described above.

On January19th, there is a principals’ meeting with the superintendent at which time they will be receiving an update on when and how in-person learning will be resumed.  Amy anticipates that the youngest student will be returning to the classrooms first and that the school may not fully reopen to all students until the fall.

While there is a real concern that all students whose schooling has been affected by the 2020-2021 school year virtual classes, the so-called “slow learners” and those afflicted by autism and other diseases may be the most vulnerable.

Amy also expressed her opinion that based on how schools have operated since last March, education, we most of us have know int is likely to change forever.

The school has initiated a number of outreach programs, including having two teachers, one dressed in a school mascot panther costume, visit the homes of students with a 95% attendance ratee.

Periodically, school supplies for the students is provided in the lobby of the school for pick-up.

Mention was made of the many dollars and in-kind donations the Club has provided … and recognition to the Tollgate Elementary School in Pennington and former Grey Nun Academy in Yardley for their incredibly generous donation so the Club which were, in turn, provided to the Williams Dick School  

During her presentation, Amy referred to a PowerPoint presentation sharing some of the support the Club has provided over the years, which we were, regrettably, unable to have her share, but which can be viewed at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/17UL_uGqi1VhsaafzuJNtFKtv1Dd8W8s-gZ-Re7akkeo/edit#slide=id.g35f391192_00

Amy’s bottom line is that the Rotary Club of Shady Brook has become part of the William Dick School’s culture … and when the school district can not provide some necessities, the question is sometimes arises, “Can the Rotary help?”

Shady Brook Rotarian Dr. Augie Adrid Honored as a Paul Harris Fellow

Rotary Club of Shady Brook president Bob Morris was honored to present fellow club member Dr. August (Augie) Adrid with a certificate and pin recognizing him as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.  In order to qualify as a Paul Harris Fellow, a Rotarian is recognized when they have donated $1,000 or more at one time or over a period of years to the Rotary Foundation, Polio Plus, or other approved Foundation grants.

(l to r:  Club President Bob Morris and Dr. Augie Adrid)

The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty; preventing disease, providing clean water, supporting education, growing local economies, saving mothers and children and promoting peace.  For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio, $50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness and $500 can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.  Some of the Foundation’s monies are used as grants for local Rotary clubs.  In the case of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook, its grant monies have been used to help it continue its 12-year support of Philadelphia’s William Dick School.

Through its Polio Plus initiative, Rotary, as a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, has played a major role in reducing worldwide polio cases by 99.9 percent since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.  Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease.  Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.  Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free.  If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

When he received his Paul Harris recognition, Dr. Adrid said, “I am deeply honored to be a member of an organization that sponsors so many worthwhile projects, locally and internationally.  Rotary’s international outreach has been of special importance to me given the fact I was born outside the United States of America.

Dr. Adrid, a founding member and former president of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook, played the leading role in the Club’s first International project; providing clean water for the village of Big Rock in the province of Abucay Bataan in the Philippines, not coincidentally the country where Augie was born.

The village’s only water supply for 600 plus residents was from a stream which was used for bathing, washing clothes and drinking.  Shady Brook Rotary, in partnership with a local Rotary Club in the Philippines hired a contractor to dig a deep well and provide a storage tank so clean water would always be available.

On February 28, 2012, Dr. Augie Adrid, attended the ceremony dedicating the well to the village.  Dr. Adrid’s brother Rene who lives in the area, was instrumental in the completion of the project.

Pictured at the ceremony are Dr. Adrid and Ana Santiago the Mayor of the province.

Dr. Adrid remains active in many of the Rotary Club of Shady Brook’s service projects and initiatives.  In addition to chairing the Club’s Maple Point Middle School (Langhorne) Student-ot-the-Month recognition program and its annual Neshaminy High School Scholarship award program, he has been active in helping to provide support for our area’s local veterans, fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and its annual Light the Night walk, feeding residents at AstraZeneca’s Hope Lodge, raising funds to support Bucks County’s A Woman’s Place domestic shelter, charity golf outings and even helping with the club’s semi-annual Adopt-A-Highway road clean-up efforts.  His life before and since joining Rotary has always exemplified Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self”.

Record Fall Fundraising Effort for Veterans

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19pandemic and their impact on our normal fall fundraising campaigns to provide holiday meals for veterans who have fallen on dififcult economic times and their families, our Club raised a record $3,850.00 this year!

These monies allowed us to provide meals more than twenty veterans and also a refirgerator for another retired serviceoman … through VFW Post 6393 in Yardley, American Legion Post 317 in Yardley, American Legion Post 148 in Langhorne and Salute2Service in Bristol

Among some of the recipients were:

  1. Wife of a 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran, Veteran hospitalized.

 

  1. Disabled retired Army Vietnam Veteran, lives with 2 dependent adults.

 

  1. Disabled Vietnam Veteran, retired Phila. Police, mostly immobile.

 

  1. Disabled Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, cancer survivor.

 

  1. Disabled Vietnam Veteran, blind – Macular degeneration.

 

  1. Disabled Vietnam Veteran, liver transplant recipient.

 

  1. Disabled VFW Auxiliary member, 4th stage kidney disease.

 

  1. Vietnam Veteran, unemployed, living with 3 dependent adult family members.

 

  1. Disabled, Army retired Iraq, Afghanistan Veteran.

 

  1. Disabled Iraq Veteran, sole adult raising 3 elementary, middle school children.

 

  1. Disable Vietnam Veteran, housebound.

 

We were only able to accomplish this through the generous donations of dozens of individuals and organizaitons who responded to our online, personally-distributed and other outreaches … people who represent the best in America and of Americans!

 

 

Joanne Bogrett, Chief Development Officer for the United Way of Bucks County

Joanne Bogrett, the United Way of Bucks ounty's Chief Development Officer joined our weekly meting this morning via Zoom.

Joanne has been described by former cients as being known for lasting connections both personally and professionally, She is an innovative fundraiser and team builder. Her deeply rooted ethical values are complemented with a desire to connect fledgling programs and the individuals and institutions who fund them. Influential, comfortable, and action-oriented in public speaking, she shares a similar personal story to the many under served. Her accountable accomplishments include fundraising over $25 million, embracing smaller projects for Veteran's, and hosting large scaled televised events. She is passionate about sustainability, continuity and compassion.

Over the years, Joanne has worked with many veterans’ organizations, service clubs including Rotary Clubs, prison inmates and those in need in Harlem.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, Joanne has taken only one day off, and not even seen some of her adult children.

The stated mission of the United Way of Bucks County, as with other United Way organizations across the country,

creates opportunities for quality education, financial stability, and good health to ensure real, lasting change for individuals and our communities.

Their members believe that "we are all connected and that we all have a stake in making Bucks County a healthy and prosperous community.  We know that when we work together to advance the common good, we create a better life for all.

To advance the greater good, we focus on three key issues:  access to a quality education, a stable income, and good health – the building blocks of a great life.

All of our work is done in collaboration with diverse partners. Depending on the issue and how the community chooses to address it, United Way of Bucks County works with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community, and others"

In this year which has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the Bucks County United Way’s efforts have been focused on addressing the growing epidemic of food insecurity.  This is a tragic phenomenon which knows affecting people across all current and prior economic, social, gender or geographic boundaries. 

Yesterday, Joanne was participating in handing our turkeys, vegetables, fruits and other food stuffs in Solebury.  Some of these foods have been acquired at deeply discounted prices from, or sometimes donated by from local farms.

Other food distributions have been made using drive-thru locations, including St. Mary Medical Center, Quakertown and Bucks County Community College’s campus in Bristol.

We were surprised to hear that there are [particularly elderly] people within our communities who are petrified to even go grocery shopping.

Joanne shared how some of this work has been the “single greatest humbling experience” of her live.

100% of all funds which have been raised their COVID-19 related efforts have and continue to go directly into the programs, with no administrative deductions.

They organization has opened a Help Center at 194 Commerce Circle in Bristol, in conjunction with St. Mary Medical Center, the Opportunity Center of Bucks County and a local bank.  Among some of the items they try to stock for those in need are:

  • Bedding
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Weighted blankets
  • Shower organization racks
  • Curtains & Blinds (measure windows before visiting)
  • Area rugs
  • Toothbrushes
  • Body wash
  • Sanitary products

Although the vaccines are becoming available, for most people it could be months before they can get inoculated.  Further, many people are facing evictions as the programs and government financing programs which have prevented them have or will soon expire without new state and federal governmental assistance.

Other programs the Bucks United Way has been committed to are:

  • Collaborating with Philabundance and other county food banks.
  • A one-time emergency help program for people who have fallen behind on utility bills.
  • Providing cars for some eleven people who needed them to commute to first, second or third jobs and to be able to travel to make chemo treatment appointments.
  • Counselling people to help them before they find themselves living out of their cars.
  • Providing backpacks and other supplies for school children.
  • Providing backdrops for students forced to live in shelters to remove such stigmas when doing on-line learning.

Joanne mentioned that just last evening she received a call about a teen with cystic fibrosis and whose family couldn’t leave the house … who needed an iPad for his remote schooling.  By 8:00 this morning as our meeting was starting, the United Way had secured the iPad for the young man.

Many of us were amazed by both the needs in our county and also the efforts on the part of the United Way and many of the other agencies with which it collaborates in addressing those challenges.

The Club thanked Joanne for her time and information.

 

Helping American Legion Posts 317 (Yardley) and 148 (Langhorne) and Salute2Service Feed Veterans and Their Families in Need

This afternoon, the Rotary Club of Shady Brook was pleaed to be able to present checks of $400.00 to three of the areas most recognized organizations whose missions are to help and support our local veterans who have served ou rnation in uniform.

These checks were presetned to Tom Smith, Commander of the Knowles-Doyle Americal Legion Post 317 located in Yardley,

(l to r)  Club President Bob Morris and Commander Tom Smith

Robert Osterhout, Commander of the Jesse W. Soby American Letion Post 148 from Langhorne,

(l to r)  Club President Bob Morris and Commander Robert Osterhout

and Rdoney Wyatt, founder of Bristol-based Service2Salute

(l to r)  Club President Bob Morris and Rodney Wyatt

These organizaitons will be using the funds to provide holiday meals for veterans who have honorably served our nation and yet face challenging financial times, compounded by the ancillary economic and social complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and their families

Also participating in the presentaiton were Irv Perlstein and DIck Newbert.

(l to r)  Ted Smith, Dick Newbert, Rodney Wyatt, Robert Osterhout and Irv Perlstein

Helping the Guardians of the National Cemetery Help Needy Veterans

With the deepest thanks to many generous donors, the Club was able to present Bob Craven, president of the Guardians

of the National Cemetery in Washington Crossing, PA

with a check for $400.00 to allow them to provide holiday meals to needy veterans.

(l to r)  Irv Perlstein, Bob Craven, Dick Newbert and Alan Agree)

****************************

 

Sadly, the COVIDD-19 pandemic has precluded the nation’s National Cemeteries from continuing with their annual Wreaths Across America

programs of placing wreaths on every fallen veteran’s grave, a ceremony in which many of our members have participated in the past.  However, a scaled-down observance was evident with a giant wreath being placed before each section of graves,

while scaaattered wreaths placed by the families of loved ones interred at the cemetery were in evidence.  

Donation to VFW Post 6393 in Yardley, PA to Provide Holiday Meals for Needy Veterans

The Club was honored to be able to present Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6393 in Yardley with a donation of $1,100.00 to provide holiday meals for veterans who have fallen on difficult or challenging economic times and their families.

(l to r)  Alan Agree, Club President Bob Morris, VFW Post 6393 Commander Russ Davidson, Irv Perlstein and Augie Adird – Dick Newbert behind the camera

This donation is in addition to several recent gift certificates for meals which could be redeemed at ShopRite in Lower Makefield which were donated to the Post just prior to Thanksgiving.

Bob Morris presents the actual check to Russ Davidson

 

 

Rob McGee – Neshaminy School District Superintendent

Neshaminy School District's Superintendent Rob McGee joined our meeting this morning.

He began briefly touching on the challenges today’s educators are facing in trying to bridge and shrink the widening educational gap in America.  Race, culture, ethnicity, language, and economic status continue to be powerful predictors of school failure. Whether the measure is grades, test scores, attendance, discipline referrals, drop-out or graduation rates, those students who differ most from mainstream White, middle/upper class, English speaking America, are also most vulnerable to being mis-served by our nation’s schools.

Rob then discussed in much greater detail the challenges which the Neshaminy School district has faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  When it first hit last spring and schools were faced with having to change almost overnight from an in-school norm to remote learning neither teachers or students were prepared. However, between the last school year and the opening of the 2020-21 school year many lessons had been learned.

The Neshaminy staff began reporting back on August 31st to prepare for having to better prepare for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching. They were assisted by four instructor helpers, positions gratefully approved by the Neshaminy school board.

They were being helped to develop three teaching/learning models:

  1. In-Person/In-Class model – complicated by the fact many classes are catering to both students in the classroom and others at home at the same time.
  2. Asynchronous model – in which students learn on their own time.
  3. Synchronous model – where students are linked via Zoom or other similar application to the classroom in real time.

The first day of school was on September 8th when some of the most “vulnerable” were brought in for in-person learning while the rest of the students began with synchronous on-line learning.

On September 14th, students were brought in for in-person classes, two grades at a time and only 50% of each per day, until all grade levels were involved.  Studies were conducted during these days to evaluate social distancing on buses, and in classrooms, hallways, and even bathrooms.

On October 5th a full-blown educational hybrid model was implemented in which students could opt for all remote learning of one in which they would be in school two days a week and live-streaming their classes for three days each week.

The original November 2nd date for migrating to a normal in-school model had to be revisited both because it was a day before the election and the surge of COVID cases … ultimately resulting in stay-at-home restrictions.  A new date of November 30th (now, just this past Monday) was then adopted with students being offered one of three new, parental choice options.

  1. Four days or in-school classes and one day of synchronous learning at home.
  2. Five days a week of Asynchronous learning at home.
  3. Five days a week of Synchronous learning at home.

Initially, only 20% have opted for other than in-class learning, a figure slowly decreasing.

One thing which appears to be evident is that the hybrid models are less effective than traditional in-person/in-class models.

Preliminary planning in underway to address providing summer classes and other ways to assist students who may fall behind where they should be due to the new learning environment.

If there are cases of COVID within the district … whether students, teachers or other staff … decisions on closing schools will be made on a school-by-school basis

During the subsequent question and answer period, two members inquired about potential volunteer opportunities to provide on-line tutoring of students.  Rob explained that there was a rigorous process for being vetted before they could go on an on-call list of tutors.

When asked about the students’ acceptance and usage of masks, particularly in the younger grades, Rob mentioned that throughout the system, properly worn masking by students was not a problem … and, in fact, just this morning he watched more than 1,000 high school students all arriving with their masks.  There are occasionally brief “mask breaks” for students.

When queried about mental health issues resulting from the at-home and hybrid educational models, he was sympathetic to the suffering many students have experienced from a lack of social intercourse with their peers.  However, the school system does have a number of counsellors, social workers and other resources available when needed.

For the one-in-three children who were eligible for free meals (an annual family income of less than $60,000), “grab-and-go” meals were made available … a program expanded to all students.

When asked, Rob explained that every student has been equipped with a Chromebook, iPad or other laptop and that in pockets of the district where high-speed connectivity was poor, Comcast and Verizon stepped-up to ensure all student’s homes had such available connectivity.

Challenges created by the new hybrid models of education facing seniors going on to college next academic year are as yet still an unknown.  Such an evaluations will begin to be made after the college acceptance date of April 1, 2021.

However, Rob believes that the pandemic has created a new paradigm in which both teachers and students are likely going to be living with increased levels of mixed in-school and on-line learning.

Some concerns have become apparent when the results of some at-home tests displayed evidence of undo parental influence.

One result of the hybrid learning models COVID-19 has necessitated is that many students seem to have a much greater appreciation of the importance of learning.

Tas to the long-term impact and effects of the learning models presently being used is still unknown and may not be able to be fully understood for several years to come.