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Archived Story

A real eye opener

Published 4:46pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Niles High School senior Ramea Starling was exposed to a side of her community she had never seen before while attending a program with the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club.

She learned the people in her own backyard could be very generous.

“The biggest benefit is knowing what people are doing right now for the community and how much they care,” she said. “It really is amazing.”

Starling was one of seven students from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan high schools who completed the program through their respective school last month. One morning each week, students attended a Rotary Club meeting where they learned about the club and the value of social networking.

Area schools have been sending students to the Rotary Club for several years, but this is the first year the program was opened to a wider variety of students — not just the top academic achievers.

Brandywine Supt. John Jarpe likes the new format.

“The kids all seemed interested in what people had to say at the meetings. They learned something about what a service club does and saw some worthwhile programs,” he said. “I also think it injected a new spark into the Rotary members. They were more engaged with the students.”

The experience has inspired Buchanan senior Dakota Lowrance to start an after-school Rotary program at Buchanan. He is still working out the details, but is hopeful it will come to life some day.

“I love giving back to the community and volunteering,” he said. “One person really can make a difference because when you help someone it has a domino effect. All of a sudden they want to give back too.”

Josh Boger, a senior at Brandywine, believes all students would benefit from the program.

“People don’t realize how much is going on behind the curtain,” Boger said. “There are a lot of people out there that have a say in the community that are doing good for the community.”

The program will continue throughout the school year with a new group of students attending Rotary Club every month.

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