Cogwheel Archive

Northfield Rotary Cogwheel | Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

Today’s Program: Global Clean & Safe Water, Rotary Action in Africa – Pat Johns (Dean Johnson)


IMG_2421Pat balancing water

Drink from a mud hole

Happy Birthday: Kurt Ruefenacht (10/30)

Next Week: Rural Enterprise Center (Reggie)

Last Meeting:

TORCH (Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes) has made a huge difference in the lives of Northfield’s Latino students.

The grant-funded program’s goal is to increase high school graduation and post-secondary participation rates among Latino students and first generation college students. Since its inception in 2004, the graduation rate for Latino students has climbed from 36 to 90 percent, and 70 TORCH students have received high school diplomas.

Beth Berry, the TORCH coordinator at the high school; Susan Sanderson, the coordinator at the middle school; Marnie Thompson, assistant principal at NHS; and Zach Pruitt, coordinator of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, shared this success story with us last week.

TORCH does several things to accomplish its goals. It pushes students out of basic classes into more advanced college preparatory classes. It helps students visit college campuses more often. It encourages enrichment camps, especially during the summer and on college campuses, and it invites parent participation, employing home visits when necessary. TORCH also arranges course work in high school that will provide free credits toward a college degree. All of the TORCH students involved in summer programs have gone on to college.

There are 103 middle school and 101 high school students currently involved with the program. Program challenges include attracting more Caucasian students, poverty and cultural issues, finding mentors and tutors for the students and the high cost of post-secondary education.

Guests: When you really think about it, aren’t we all guests, just passing through on borrowed time and on borrowed real estate? The real question is who is the host. That’s what we should be asking ourselves, especially when the scribe missed last week’s meeting and is making this up as he goes.

Scholarship Enhancement: Matt Hillman


Rick Estenson reminded us that the President’s Council, is still looking for a couple of “big ideas.” Proposals are invited for two major Rotary initiatives, one local and one international. We are encouraged to be creative and think big. The local project could be in the $30,000 to $300,000 range; the international project, $50,000 to $500,000. The deadline is October 31, but the committee won’t be meeting until November 15 and any late submissions would be accepted.

Outbound student blogs. Keep in touch.

Coming Up

Nov. 12 – Something special from Mike Flynn

Welcome New Member

Matt Hillman, Northfield Public Schools