September 24, 2013 Recap

Photos from the meeting are online at this link.

Lots of wonderful guests, as always. Jackie re-introduced Tricia Holt-Bowlby, Fresno Philharmonic, CJ Cooper, Claudia Habib and Nene Casares (all in line for membership – hooray!); Nancy introduced her staff member Kristen McKelvey again, and promoted the Focus Forward Fundraiser at Arte on Thursday, Sept. 26; Sally introduced Joanne Price and Joanell Stevens; three wonderful young women from Talbot’s Fig Garden didn’t remember who invited them, but came to visit and we are delighted; Sandy noted Eric’s guest Dr. Robert Ware was back (also in line for membership!).

Our delightful Tehipite Middle School Students of the Month for the Character Trait of Caring were Azucena Ramirez and Vanessa Lopez, who led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and were introduced by Principal and Rotarian Yvonne,

Jerry’s Paul Harris quote for the day was: “Education is the finest weapon God has put in the hands of mankind. Education strengthens individuals to think clearly when facing adversity and consider solutions that benefit not the individual, but the collective whole of society.”

Laurel announced that 230 students turned out for the informational meeting to form the ONLY Cultural Arts Interact Club in the World! Interviews for officers are scheduled for this Wednesday. Thank YOU, Laurel. This is truly exciting. The kids are looking at involvement with Zoo Boo, with a water project in the Philippines, and in addition, Central Unified students will be performing in Storyland Theater on Nov 2. She also handed out great information on Central Unified’s Visual and Performing Arts Education for 2013-2014. Great great stuff!

Laurel also announced she had neared her sponsorship goal of $300 for the Alzheimer’s Event, and several members contributed to meet and exceed the goal. Thanks to all who supported this worthy cause!

Sally announced that she will attend the Honor Flight Program and handed out calendars for the remainder of 2013 meetings. She then introduced guest speaker, John Alkire, CEO of the Big Fresno Fair. John gave an exciting and truly informative talk on the Fair, noting it is still the largest public gathering between Sacramento and Los Angeles County; that the grounds are in use continually, with 3-4 events every weekend, totally some 210-220 events annually; that they are celebrating 130 years this year; that their mission is Celebrate – Educate – Have Fun!! The Fair generates some $68.5 million in new revenue to the County; they hire 1,040 people to run it; and they contribute $2 million to the local tax base. Along with a lot of other great stats, John announced they are forming a wonderful History Museum, much of which has been furnished through the generosity of the Caglia Family. Sally noted that after the first of the year, we will have a meeting there and tour the museum.

It is such a pleasure and honor to serve the community together in the ONLY Cultural Arts Rotary Club in the World! – Jackie Ryle

Storyland and Jazz a Success!

After several years’ hiatus putting on the event (thanks to North Fresno Rotary for taking the baton), Storyland & Jazz came home to CARC August 17, 2013. It was a rousing success.

Raising a net of more than $25,000, jazz musicians headlined by Karen Marguth, the After Dinner Mints, and Rumba 32 entertained the crowd during the evening. Guests were greeted by the college group The Jazz Extension, bid on silent auction items ranging from a Captain’s desk to art to jewelry, and enjoyed food from more than 15 local restaurants.

Club members spent hours and days preparing the park for the guests, helping clean up Storyland, adding flowers and landscaping elements, and painting the dragon and other characters enjoyed by all. We thank sponsors Dan Martin, Ann and Nat Dellavalle, and Granville Homes for their support. WATCH FOR AUGUST 2014 DATE COMING SOON!

Elizabeth Leon Receives A.J. Parker Memorial Award

Elizabeth began to study music in 5th grade at KIPP Academy. To challenge herself, she taught other struggling students and learned to play various woodwind and percussion instruments. She earned multiple summer music camp scholarships and a one-year scholarship to study with Dr. Riggs at Fresno State, where she learned the oboe.

Growing up working in the fields with her parents, until the age of 12 she lived in a two bedroom apartment with 20 people. She also faced the hardship of a tractor driving over her legs at age nine while working in the olive groves, but continued to attend school on crutches.

Her long-time teacher, Dr. Christine Montanez, describes Elizabeth’s initiative as “extraordinary” and notes her “hunger, humility and hard work coupled with her keen intelligence have elevated her to one of the finest students at ACEL.”

As a freshman at Big Picture High School, she found ways to attend music, anthropology, and archeology classes at City College. In April 2013, the Northern California Boys and Girls Club region recognized her as Youth of the Year.

Elizabeth is at University High School for her 2013-14 senior year and studying clarinet with Dr. Montanez’s own mentor while on the Fresno State campus. Elizabeth intends to attend and graduate from an Ivy League school as an engineer and also play clarinet at Carnegie Hall. Now she has her own clarinet for the journey.

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