Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | December 20.2018

December 19, 2018

Today’s Program | Thursday, December 20, 2018

Today:  Holiday Cheer meeting

Next Week: No lunch meeting – Happy Holidays!

Birthdays: Blake Abdella (12/21), William Carlson (12/23), Jacob Conway (12/28), Vicki Dilley (12/21), Neil Lutsky (12/27)

Statement of Purpose: Northfield Rotary Club is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through service and shared experience. We invite people from all corners of the community to join us as we partner with others to support youth, build sustainable infrastructure and preserve our planet.

Inbound Exchange Student Updates: Yuyu has enjoyed helping at the Key, Simone’s favorite part of Winter Walk was ducking into stores to get warm, Elise called Winter Walk ‘cold, fun and joyful’, Itty went to the Neuger party and then the Guild and ended the evening at B&L pizza, Tuomas had a hockey game and couldn’t go to Winter Walk, Pedro only stayed for 20 minutes because it was too cold–but he is looking forward to a white Christmas.


  • The Rotary board news: they are looking at all of the Big Idea options and hope to have something to report after the January board meeting. David Stanford has officially taken Virginia Kaczmarek’s place in the treasurer position. David Wolf, our longtime treasurer who stepped down last year, is helping with the transition. The board also voted to contribute $150 to the development of a District 5960 website to deter human trafficking. 
  • Our club will support a softball tournament over President’s weekend in February at the Dundas Dome. If all goes well it will become an annual event and be a source of revenue. And it provides another great volunteer opportunity for our members! Put it on your calendar for Monday February 18th.
  • David Wolf gave a Paul Harris presentation recognizing Richard DeBeau and Andrei Sivanich, and an anonymous donor who is a plus 5.
  • Rich Lorang reminded everyone to enter to win the CRWP canoe full of brew for $50
  • See David Koenig if you’d like to help with the 4-Way Taste
  • Anika Rychner needs volunteers for January 3rd in the afternoon to move things out of the CAC food shelf for a renovation project
  • Rotary District 5960 Mid-Term will be Saturday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamline University. It’s a chance to dive deeper into the question of “What is Rotary?” and learn how other clubs are turning the Rotary spirit into action. Our RCAT team will also have a presence there. The event is free. You can sign up by going to the District 5960 website. 

Happy News

  • Andrei Sivanich says the Laura Baker Gala exceeded last year by over $7000. He thanks all of the Rotarians who attended, volunteered and donated
  • Jan Stevens has a new two-week old grandson named Desmond—her first!
  • Janine Atchison says her son got a new vehicle after his car crash and Is doing great – she thanks everyone for their concern
  • Jean Wakely thanked all of the ladies who came to the Fairfield for happy hour – it might become a quarterly event

Scholarship Enhancement: Jacob Conway

Last Week:

Matt Hillmann grew up in upstate New York. He got a history degree from St. Johns in New York City and student taught in the New York City pubic schools. He met his wife Mary in Southeast Minnesota. They have three children—a college sophomore who plays in the Univeristy of Minnesota marching band, and two kids at Northfield High School. Matt has worked for the school district since 2009, enjoying his current role of Superintendent for the last three years. Every day in his job he says three things: my goodness this is a privilege, why did I take this job, and you just can’t make this stuff up. He introduced Barb Wornson, Director of Northfield’s Arcadia charter school—which Matt calls an outstanding school with a great approach.

Barb Wornson was born in Mason City, Iowa in 1947. Her roots in education began early—her father was a science teacher and her mother was a music teacher. They bought an Eisenhower house, which was a good deal through the GI bill. It was a great place to grow up: with the nearby woods and a gravel pit to explore, she spent a lot of time outside.  In 1954, her twin brothers were born. Barb’s brother developed a brain tumor and was brain damaged. He had severe learning disabilities, was blind in one eye, struggled in school and had no special education available to him. Billy died at age 13 in 1967 and it was a severe loss for Barb and her family. Barb’s sister also fractured her back and had to wear a plaster cast for her prom and graduation.

Barb had an unplanned pregnancy while she was at college in 1968. She says in those days a single mother had four options–keep the baby, get an abortion in Mexico or a back alley, marry the father, or give it up for adoption. She chose the latter and it was a closed adoption so that the mother and baby have no contact. Her daughter was born prematurely and she always wondered if she survived. Barb struggled with shame, but she went back to school, applied herself, took control of life and got her special education teaching certificate. In 1971 she took her first teaching job in a school resource room which cared for anyone and everyone who had a problem. In those days parents had to pay  for a child with special needs to be educated, so Barb got involved in legislation to find solutions to the issue.

She went back to the University of Iowa to get her masters degree, and then on to the University of Kansas to work as a part-time instructor and doctoral student. She worked at the Menninger clinic in Topeka for 11 years. During that time she got married and had her son John, and hoped to finish writing her dissertation while she was on maternity leave. Her marriage didn’t last but they stayed good friends. Barb studied architecture at KU and did an internship at SMSQ in Northfield, where she learned that architecture wasn’t her thing. She married again and worked in the community, having two more sons, Nick and David. She met David Bly at UCC who suggested that she work part time at the Alternative Learning Center. She did that from 2003-05 and loved it—helping to develop a teen parenting program to assist pregnant teens in making choices and found the work very fulfilling.

One day she got a call from a private detective and discovered that her daughter was looking for her. They met in 1998 on the day of her son John’s graduation party. MaryBeth had been told her birth mother was a beautiful college woman who gave her adoptive family a wonderful gift. Barb now has three grandkids from her daughter Marybeth.

In 2005, Barb moved on to administration. She worked at the Zumbro Area Learning Center, and then worked as the ED of Sobriety HS in St Paul. In 2011 she parted amicably from her husband, and finally finished her dissertation in 2012. She also worked at the Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins and at two other schools. In 2016 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which is now in remission. She came to Northfield to retire and do cancer treatment, but found herself wallowing and bored. She went to sidewalk poetry event and Bonnie Jean Flom suggested that she consider Arcadia who needed a charter school director.

Barb loves Arcadia—it was started in 2003, and her youngest son graduated from high school there. It began as Artech, named for the focus on arts and technology. They later changed the name for students who didn’t fit those categories. The name was a student’s idea. Arcadia has students in grades 6-12, with 20 students per grade. It is project based but also has core courses. Once a quarter, students choose a project, it gets approved, they follow a rubric and a theme. Students learn research and presentation skills, use creativity and do service learning. The learning process is innovative and collaborative. They are divided into four advisories, with mixed grades, and they get to do fun things together. She invites us to visit Arcadia anytime!

Coming Up:

Jan 3 — Yuyu Ose, Exchange Student from Japan (Ischler)

Jan 10 — Larry Vorwerk, Classification (Krause)

Jan 17 — Sitty Fitriany, Exchange Student from India (Galdeen)