At its Feb. 11 meeting, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education took the occasion to honor the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North for its 25-year partnership with Adams Elementary School.
The program started in 1989 when Ken Compton, a Rotarian, and his wife, Ellie, a teacher at Adams, suggested a program for Rotary volunteers to help tutor students who needed extra help with reading, math, language and other subjects.
In 1990, the Comptons turned the program over to Dennis Waid and third-grade teacher Kathy Escobar, who recently retired. Ashley Claussen has replaced Escobar as the Adams liaison, and Tom Jacobs has taken over liaison for the Rotary Club.
Over the years, the program has grown from tutoring to contributing computers, supporting a square at I Madonnari at the Mission, purchasing library books and arranging a Rotary matching grant for the purchase of playground equipment. The club is responsible for donating or arranging the donation of more than 1,400 of the 16,000 books in the school library.
Over the 25-year period, RCSBN has donated $65,000 to Adams for playground equipment, books and supplies for the school garden. One to four Rotarians have assisted in the classrooms each year, and the club pitches in each year to serve meals on Back-to-School Night and to paint and weed on the annual school maintenance day.
School board president Kate Parker congratulated the club for its long service, and Adams Principal Amy Alzina presented flowers to the members present.
Board communications coordinator Barbara Keyani said in an email on Feb. 12: "It was a treat, and an honor, to have 'Rotary Team Adams' at last night's meeting. Rotary is an inspiration because you all give so generously of your time and resources to tomorrow's citizens. There is nothing more gratifying than making a difference in the lives of children and the good work that the Rotary does reflects that philosophy. Adams is fortunate to have the Rotarians supporting the school."
— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.