Rotary Scholarships to focus on community service

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Rotary Student of the Month has been an ongoing program of the Soldotna Rotary Club that has been recognizing students who are going the extra mile or showing significant improvement in their schoolwork for over a decade.

The club used to invite the selected students to join them for lunch at their weekly meeting, then Soldotna Rotarian Tom Janz thought the kids might enjoy being recognized on their own turf with some of their favorite food better.

According to Mike Druce, SoHi teacher and counselor, the program has been working much better, "It's going over very well, I think the kids anticipate it now on a monthly basis. We ask the teachers to think about the students that have made significant improvements not necessarily in academics, but also in terms of attitude and the work they are doing stepping out of their ordinary role as students. As a result we have seen noticeable changes in students that have earned recognition," said Druce.

The award often comes as a surprise. Randy Leach is a junior at SoHi and a student aid, "I wasn't expecting it at all, it was a surprise and most definitely better then my regular lunch," said Leach. Other Rotary Students of the Month at SoHi were freshman Trevor Kauffman, freshman Chance Tallman, freshman Eric Fisher, junior Spencer Litzenberger and junior Tally Lewis. Monthly students are also selected for Rotary recognition and a pizza lunch at Skyview High School as well.

The Soldotna Rotary Club has also made some major changes in their scholarship program. This year the club will be awarding four $1,000 dollar scholarships to SoHi and Skyview seniors based on student community service and understanding of Rotary's motto, "Service Above Self." Most scholarships are given based on academic grade point average or economic need.

Rotary is a community and international service organization dedicated to giving back to the communities where we live and work in tangible ways, explained Soldotna Rotary Club president Ed Krohn.

The applications are now available at both schools and simply require the student to describe a personal example of community service and their understanding of "Service Above Self." The student is also asked to attach two letters of support verifying the project or service provided, but no GPA or financial information is requested. The students will be selected based on the merit of their community service. "A strong community is not made up solely of academically successful individuals. We hope to encourage students to get involved in serving others and want to support the future education of those who do," said Krohn.

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