Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, June 10, 2021


Join Our Thursday Zoom Meeting
Find it here.
Meeting ID: 836 2096 1395
Passcode: 164383
Here is the timeline for our regular Zoom calls. On some days there will be slight variations, but not for coming on to the call.  
11:30 -11:45 — Zoom Managers log in and get set up.
11:45 - Noon — Club Members and Guests are invited to join and go into a break out room for casual conversations.
12:10 — ALL Zoom callers are invited back together to begin the meeting. Generally, the meeting will begin with an Invocation, the 4-Way Test, introduction of guests and then introduction of our speaker. Speaker and Questions/ Discussion.
12:40 — (approximate) Birthdays, Announcements, Happy News and more.
1:00 — Meeting is dismissed until next week.
     Matt Hillmann
Northfield Public Schools Superintendent of Schools Matt Hillmann will share reflections on the 2020-21 school year and forecast how public education will change as a result.


Benjamin Hauser and Dave Wolf 6.6; Sarah Nathan 6.8.

James Low-2, 6.10.2019.


Our Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) is dedicated to making climate change a strategic priority and to raising awareness, providing education and encouraging individuals and businesses to act in the interest of our planet. 
Our Climate Action Statement - Read our climate action statement here.
For additional information about our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team chair, Alan Anderson, at 507-371-4673 or


Thanks to last week's Cogwheel Reporter, Scott Richardson.


Neinia Abdulai.


Rahmah Abdulai.


Rachel McIver-Morey welcomed us back to United Methodist Church for our first in-person meeting since March of 2020. She noted UMC is a “green church” with new composting protocol. She directed diners to deposit food waste and napkins in the designated containers. President Dilley instructed in-person members to leave their Rotary badges in a designated box to facilitate attendance tracking and to enable contact tracing in the event anyone comes down with COVID after a meeting.

Carl Caskey shared a thank you note from Nicole Theberath, this year’s recipient of our $3,000 scholarship award. She will join us June 24 to read her Four-Way Test essay. She will be attending Stanford University, where she plans to major in chemistry and German. 

Jim Pokorney thanked members who have been delivering Meals-On-Wheels. He also alerted members to volunteer opportunities with the library’s Book Bike and Laura Baker Association’s staff celebration at the Great Day Farm. Check your emails for signup.

Chris Weber from our Global Grant Scholar team reported that Maggie Miland, a Northfield product and one-time exchange student, is applying for the Peace Fellowship. Northfield Rotary is forwarding her application to the district for its sponsorship. 

President-elect Todd Thompson reminded us of the club social Thursday, June 17, 4:30 p.m. at the Estenson Event Center. You will need to RSVP. 

President Dilley thanked our tech team — Todd Thompson, John Sinning, Richard Maus, Brad Frago, Rachel McIver-Morey and Bruce Morlan — for making our hybrid meeting possible. She said hybrid will be the new norm going forward.

Jan Stevens announced that the Vintage Band Festival is back. There will be a one-day event Saturday, July 31. If you or your business would like to sponsor a band, contact Jan. 


Bruce Morlan paid up for happy news shared during remote meetings. Thank you Bruce. You are a man of your word. 

Kristi Purcell is excited for her son Franklin’s graduation from kindergarten and for him losing his first tooth.

Janine Atchison celebrated her grandson winning first prize in an ideas contest. The University of Wisconsin engineering student is using his windfall to buy a food truck as a first step in an entrepreneurial venture. 

Matt Hillmann is happy about his oldest son, Jackson, graduating from the University of Minnesota in four years and landing a job with Optum as a technology development analyst. One down and two to go for Matt and Mary, his wife.  

Amy Goerwitz is entertaining ideas for what to do with a grill and $200 worth of meat she won in a drawing at the Home and Garden Show. Her husband is a vegetarian and the meat won’t be consumed in their household. Give Amy a call if you have a good idea.


     Rahmah Abdulai
Rahmah Abdulai, High School Senior and 2021 Recipient of the Northfield Human Rights Award. Hosted by Matt Hillmann.

Rahmah Abdulai walked on egg shells most of her Northfield High School career. As a person of color with an immigrant background, she can confirm that racism lives in Northfield. She’s experienced being “the other” in a predominantly white community. And at times it has not felt safe. She’s endured the pointed use of the “N” word, “snarky” comments and provocative questions from fellow students. Superintendent Matt Hillmann, her host for the day, calls her contribution to NHS student life nothing short of courageous. 

Rahmah has been a leader of the Black Student Union (BSU) for the last three years. She was drawn to the group because it provided common space for students of color to gather. She assumed a leadership role as a sophomore, and the group became active with weekly student panels that addressed racism in the here and now. A “Cultural Night” two years ago, which featured several of our exchange students, was a highlight for her.

Following the murder of George Floyd other school affinity groups reached out to the Black Student Union to collaborate on education and anti-racism events. Rahmah said it felt forced at first, but she has grown to appreciate the gesture. 

Rahmah also participated in Rotary’s Camp RYLA in 2019 and found it a valuable experience. She learned not everything needs to be a competition and that the most effective leader is often leading from behind.

Rahmah will be attending Macalester College next year. Supt. Hillmann predicts big things for her.


June 17 Northfield Rotary Club Picnic, 4:30-7:00 p.m. (no lunch meeting).
WHERE: Rick Estenson’s at 10541 Ibson Avenue, Northfield.
WHO: Club members and spouse or significant other.
CATERER: Kahlo’s (see Survey Monkey for meal selections)
PLUS: Beverages that you choose to bring.
June 24 Our President Vicki Dilley will be passing the baton to President Elect, Todd Thompson. Some reminiscing, some fun and anticipation of another great year will be the conversation between these two friends. Todd's presidential year will begin on July 1st ... certain to be a fun time! Special guest, Nicole Theberath, NHS '21, winner of the 2021 Rotary Scholarship will read her essay on the 4 Way Test. We look forward to her joining us along with her family.

Vicki's Vision

   Vicki Dilley, President

Dear Rotarians and Friends of Rotarians,
Last Thursday was a landmark day. My record shows that the last time we met in person (outside of the Fall social on Rick's lawn) was on March 12th, 2020.  Almost 16 months later we finally have an opportunity to meet in person. We launched our new hybrid model with 9 members joining us via zoom, 47 in person. The ones on zoom feedback to me was they wished they could have asked a question of the speaker ... technology allows for this, I just overlooked asking for questions. I will try to remember this going forward. The hybrid model allows us to connect with the club on Thursdays when we are out of town, tied up doing something, not feeling well and maybe there is a snow storm outside! We should not fear change, the pandemic taught us to keep moving on and make course corrections when needed. We have learned a lot.
Rahmah Abdulai was an amazing speaker last week, only just graduated from High School and has been leading a Black Student Union at NHS. Her understanding of why fellow classmates would react negatively toward the BSU members or the group comes from three possible explanations ... Fear of change, ignorance or unwillingness to learn. I can't imagine myself having the courage to do what she did when I was her age.   As Matt Hillmann said ... keep your eyes on Rahmah, she is going places and is going to be a great influencer in the world. 
Two of the influences Rahmah spoke about that Rotary has connection to are RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award).  I have never been to RYLA, only heard from students who have returned from this District event how impactful the experience was. I do hope that in the future we can sponsor even more young leaders from the NHS to attend this life changing weekend. 
The other influencer was her connection to the Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) students, particularly Itty from Indonesia.  Rahmah showed a video of Itty dancing,  but the music did not come through.  I wanted to give you that opportunity to enjoy both the dance and the music ... here you go.  
Our RYE students make a significant impact on their peers at school, on their families, on the community and, of course, on us Rotarians. I have felt the void with their absence this year and grieved with the sudden departure of the five inbound students, Diogo, Mark, Sophie, Ara and Oliver. We will not be receiving students this Fall either, Rotary International has put a pause on the program for another year. Our best hope is to see wide eyed, nervous, eager-to-learn students in August of 2022. We will savor that moment and soon start preparing for their arrival. I know Jesse Steed and his team are eager as well.  
Life is often about change, we have proven we are capable. We continue to inform ourselves and learn, combating the ignorance and unwillingness to learn that Rahmah spoke of. We will continue to walk alongside the Rahmah's of the world and for that we will have done good. Thank you for walking with me..
Have a great day, 

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.