Tuesday, October 13 , 2015, 7:38 am | Fair 74º

Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North Celebrates 25-Year Partnership with Adams Elementary

By Terry Straehley for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North |

Club members, principals, teachers and other guests with a focus on education gathered on April 2 to celebrate 25 years of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s partnership with Adams Elementary School.

The annual meeting at the school highlighted the many programs and personalities featured over the 25-year span of RCSBN’s volunteer efforts at Adams.

2014 Rotary President Stanley Weinstein kicked off the meeting inviting Lucille Ramirez, representing Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, to lead in the invocation. Afterward, two Adams students, Natalie and Karina Castillo, teamed up to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Castillo children and their parents also received the “Adams Family” Award initiated and presented by RCSBN member Tom Jacobs. The award celebrates the volunteer efforts of supportive families whose efforts to give back to the Adams community mirror and support the work of Rotary volunteers.

Dennis Waid, a club member and longtime Adams volunteer, then introduced the many special guests who have been instrumental in the club's partnership with Adams School for the past 25 years. Special guests included Kate Parker, president of the Santa Barbara school board; Lucille Ramirez, County of SB Partners in Education Board; Jo Ann Caines, principal of La Cumbre Junior High and former Adams principal; Kathy Escobar, retired Adams teacher and Rotarian; and Larry Bender, Rotarian from District 5280 in Los Angeles.

All of the special guests took a moment to reflect on the 25-year partnership between Adams School and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North and to offer thanks to RCSBN for its efforts in supporting Adams School.

Community Service chairman Tom Jacobs then took over and highlighted the many avenues of service provided to Adams school over the past 25 years. In the classroom contributions include tutoring, supporting the Computers for Kids Program, and holding an annual Rotary themed essay contest. RCSBN has extended its support to the Library by supplying books for the Rewards Program, donating a book each week to celebrate Club program speaker topics, and sponsoring yearly library purchases from Club donations. RSBN’s efforts at Adams inspired Los Angeles area clubs in Rotary District 5280 to donate 1,000 books to the Library.

RCSBN was also active on the school grounds, planting trees in honor of Arbor Day, creating planter boxes for a garden area, and funding a large play structure with a Rotary Grant. In addition, Club members regularly pitch in on School Beautification Days and other school festivals. Outside the school the club annually sponsors an Adams Chalk Art Square for I Madonnari Festival. Over the 25 years of partnership the club has provided over $65,000 in cash grants to the school.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Adams Principal Amy Alzina presented a strategic plan integrating technology in the Common Core State Standards. She demonstrated how the school’s new 3-D printers and modeling of mathematical concepts have made learning more concrete. The new technological tools supported by the club have enabled students to work to
their maximum potential, nurturing both college and workplace skills.

Alzina stressed that beyond technology, Adams believes in reaching children through cultivating caring relationships, relationships built around trust and developed through work and play. Fostering an environment of success and service is how Adams is creating a winning environment for every student, and in numerous ways for over 25 years, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North has been partnering with the school to realize that goal.

— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.

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