Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel 04.23.2015

April 21, 2015

Today: Sister Monique Godde, Former Exchange Student (Brown-Wescott)

Birthdays: John Fossum and Dennis Hanson (4/19)

Next Week: Jodi Greene, Deputy Under-Secretary of the Navy (Policy) (Hoschouer)

Last Week:

TORCH (Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes) needs help. 

The home-grown, nationally-recognized college prep program for low-income and underserved students is a victim of its own success. It started in 2005 to address a Latino graduation rate of 36 percent. In its first year, it served 17 students. Over time, the Latino graduation rate steadily climbed, and the program has expanded to include all minorities, low-income students or first generation college prospects. This year, TORCH is serving 513 students.

Beth Berry, founder and champion of the program, says with the increased numbers, TORCH needs help from the community to supplement the work of its staff. She is looking for mentors to help students make the transition to post-secondary education and then to meaningful employment. 

They also need meaningful internship opportunities to help them identify vocational goals. The job experience, she said, is important. Too often, students waste time and money while they search for a vocational goal. TORCH is applying for an economic development grant to partially underwrite internships.

Two TORCH students provided personal testimony to the benefits of the program. Malynn Rosas talked about enrolling in a nursing program at St. Catherine’s University only to discover it wasn’t for her. It took some time, but she is now pursuing a degree in education.

Kayla Ballstadt is a senior at the high school. A summer internship at SEEDS farm helped her zero in on a career in agriculture. She will be attending River Falls next fall.

Over half of TORCH alumni are currently enrolled in college. Eighty-nine percent of TORCH students attribute their improved academic performance to the program. Ninety-two percent want to continue on to college after high school graduation.

For more on TORCH, go to:


Matt Hillmann and his wife, Mary, have three children. Jackson is 15 and was just named captain of the Speech Team. Daughter Grace is 14, and performing in the Northfield Arts Guild production of “Oliver.” Peter is at Sibley School and participating in the “Prairie Fire” theater production. 

Matt has spent 20 years in education. He has taught keyboarding to fourth graders, been a principal and college instructor. He is now director of Administrative Services for Northfield Public Schools,

Guests: Kayla Ballstadt, and Malynn Rosa (Rich), Jessica Woitalla, Daniel Robeiro, New Generations Exchange student, Riana Dilley and Muse Mwisawa, head teacher at Zunauka schools, a collaborative partner with Project Zawadi (Dilley); Adrian Thomas (Conway); and Paul Heppner (Collman). 

Scholarship Enhancement: John Ehresmann

— Tim Madigan, program director, would like to use the week before Memorial Day to talk about people who have inspired us. If you would like to pay tribute to someone who made a difference in your life and has passed on, talk to Tim. He is looking for three or four Rotarians to share their stories.

— The Faribault Rotary Club has donated $250 to the Northfield Skate Board Park, Charlie Cogan reported. That contribution will receive a district match of equal value. 

— President Rich reminded us to look for our quarterly dues statements in our e-mail “In” box. This is the first effort at billing us electronically.

— On Thursday, May 14, we will be meeting at the Weitz Center at Carleton College. The church is not available that day.

2015-16 Outbound Exchange Students

Beimers, Henry – Norway

Beimers, William – Brazil

Carlson, Samuel -Argentina

Estrada, Gabriella – France

Hahn, Erin – Thailand

Hodel, Christoph – Indonesia

Kelley, Caitlin – Chile

Lunderby, Jack – Brazil

Mandsager, Erik – Zimbabwe

Martinez, Odalys – Japan

Muir, Mason – Taiwan

Olson, Josiah – Colombia

Regnier, Eli – Brazil

Rodriguez-Vazquez,Leslie – Brazil

Scheffert, Jenna – Italy

Seitz, Zoe – Denmark

Washburn Chapman, AhnaCole – South Africa

Woitalla, Jessica – Brazil.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on YouTube

Coming Up

May 7 — Paul Krause, Classification (Sinning)

May 14 — Fred Rogers, Carleton’s Master Plan (Madigan)

May 21 — Tribute to Those Who Inspired Us (Madigan)

May 28 — Michael Maas, RSVP Retired Volunteers (Blaha)