President Bob opened the meeting at noon and immediately made a first attempt at screwing up the audio/visual apparatus. In this he was successful. Nevertheless, the Pledge of Allegiance and The Rotary 4-way Test were recited without impediment. At this point Dr. Beth Russell came to the rescue and with her resourceful IT knowledge restored the slide for the lyrics for the song of the day. “School Days, School Days” was given a somewhat tentative rendition until the second verse when the members found their groove and set the crystals vibrating in the eponymous room.
Over a lunch of spicy chicken enchiladas President Bob enumerated several upcoming events including the District Conference next week, the prospective members program, board meeting next week, “MAC Tank”, and the forthcoming golf outing at “The Legends”.
Recent events included last night’s happy hour at “Vin de Set” and a reminder that a similar event is scheduled at “Urban Chestnut” next month. Plus, the Bowling League has begun its season meeting on Monday evenings. The Bowling League represents one of our oldest activities having first been formed in 1964.
Finally, an unreasonable entreaty for scribes was requested once again.
Sergeant at Arms, the always insouciant Dan Conway, welcomed visiting guests; Diane Berendzen, Matthew Maddox, Melanie McClintock and David Casteel. Our regular visiting Rotarian, Jay, was also recognized. The theme of Dan’s presentation concerned professional sports connections to St. Louis. This included a review of “The Cardinals” failure to score with a man on third and no outs, and also the recent soccer match between the U.S. national men’s team and Uruguay which ended in a 1 – 1 tie. Two of the U.S. players are St. Louisans. Josh Sargeant, a gifted 19 year old currently playing in the Bundesliga, and Tim Reem, a member of the Fulham squad playing in The Championship league in England. Both are players of great promise especially Josh. At 19 years old you can be sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about him.
Past president, Bob Sherrill introduced our speaker, Dr. Nicole Conaway. Dr. Conaway is the principal of the “Nahed Chapman New American Academy”. The academy essentially provides new immigrant children a safe place to learn English and begin to adapt to the American way of life. Dr. Conaway described the school as a “Festival of Nations”. There are 170 students at the school representing 13 countries and using 10 different languages. Currently, Honduras makes up 46% of the student body. The school seeks to provide a loving and welcoming environment. The syllabus consists of language development, reading, writing and math. The challenges facing the teachers and the students are significant. Many have come from refugee camps in Africa, Central America and The Middle East. In many cases refugee camps are the only ‘home’ they have ever known. Dr. Conaway spoke with much passion concerning the work that the school does as befits someone who has worked in this inner city environment for 25 years. With the current crisis on the southern border and the debate over internment camps she continues to challenge and attempt to educate the general public, no easy task given the current political climate. She was given a rousing round of applause at the conclusion of her presentation.
The 50:50 drawing concluded the meeting with Jim Conway holding the winning ticket but alas, in drawing the six of clubs the pot was preserved giving us hope for a winner next week.
In conclusion I am happy to say that I have completed this report without once using the word “prolixity”……………………..dang! There it is afterall. I am guided by the words of Pliny The Elder, “Castigat Ridendo Mores” a sentiment with which this scribe is pleased to concur.