Call to Order – Ces Butner
President Ces Butner called our Civic Thursday Zoom meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. noting this is the 5,329th meeting in our 111-year-old Club and invited us to recite our vision statement. Ces explained that our meeting format will be a bit different today in order to accommodate our annual Richard D. King Annual Youth Speech Contest, with the winner advancing to the next “Area Level” of the annual Rotary Speech Contest.
President-elect Dudley Thompson announced an upcoming member poll and reasons for it. Dudley recounted our own club’s past efforts on climate change and protecting the environment via expert speakers and one-off club projects. Now club leadership wishes to poll the membership in order to better focus our future on club service. Noting that Rotary International recently added a seventh pillar of strategic international impact, that of Protecting the Environment, it is a good time to poll. He asked everyone to complete the survey ASAP which will also help inform our direction on our next First Five Club Meeting on April 22, Earth Day, and any joint environmental projects we might also undertake.
Thought for the Day – Winter Williams
Winter Williams set the tone for the day’s speakers when she shared an optimistic quote by Alexander Graham Bell stating a longer version of the “when one door closes another opens” adage. This was penned by Bell in association with his intent interest toward, and engagement in, the skills of elocution and speech, apparently fueled by relatives with significant hearing loss. This interest fueled his invention of the telephone, and of course those famous first words “Mr. Watson can you hear me?” (Wow, a pocket history lesson, thanks Winter!)
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Past President Ed Jellen reported that Kim Cohn brought her daughter, Quincy, to today’s meeting as her guest. Lois Corrin also attended as the guest of C J Hirschfield.
Richard D. King Annual Speech Contest
peech Contest Committee Co-Chair Alex Kaffka began the speech contest by explaining the format consistent with Rotary content rules. He noted a number of club members were involved in making this contest happen and they would be introduced later in the program. Four student contestants from different area high Schools would each have up to five minutes to present their speech and interpretation of the 2021 Speech Contest Topic. Rotary Creates Opportunities. Then the judges, consisting of club members who were not contest committee members, would take two minutes after each speaker to evaluate the merits of the presentation. The winner will be announced at the end of all four speeches. Until then, contestant identities were kept anonymous by the assignment of Speaker A, B, C and D titles.
Leading off the presentations was Speaker A who presented a compelling case for the value of social media to make a positive impact throughout the world. By way of example, she shared her work to form a Teens for Healthcare Instagram group to expose youth to future healthcare careers via presentations from current professionals. She now has 3,000 Instagram followers throughout the world and a growing interest in the healthcare field. She explained that teamwork was vital to delivering good health care in the ER and the OR, and that teamworld is also learned through involvement with Rotary.
Speaker B spoke eloquently about Rotary’s Four-Way Test and gave examples of how following each principle had impacted her own life working with others. The examples were vivid and positive and she also pointed out what negative things could happen if these points were not followed in our relationships with others.
Speaker C emphasizes the opportunity Rotary creates in designing leaders who are on the right side of morality and why this is important, citing examples of what happens when morality in his opinion is missing on the world stage. He also described ways that his engagement in Rotary as an Interact member for four years has developed his own leadership and engagement in service to his community, and to his fellow students including his becoming Class President.
Speaker D focused on the importance of good communication, an opportunity that Rotary fosters in the world by overcoming language barriers where they exist and achieving great things collectively. She recounted her move to the US at age 10 and having to learn a new language in a new culture. She wishes to incorporate this experience into a career as a speech interpreter in healthcare and other venues so that fair and equitable treatment is given to all.
All of the presentations remained within the allotted five minutes, Ginni Ring the Contest Timer announced. She was aided in the proceedings by Jim Boessenecker serving as the Contest Teller. Later we learned about their professional qualifications to be involved with the contest, with Ginni coming from a 25-year career in youth and family advocacy, while now-retired Jim made plenty of speeches during his 25-year executive career at Chevron.
The Speech Contest added a new dimension for the first time. This year students were mentored by various Rotarians over 6 weeks of practice and training. Mentor Riza Hernandez shared the value of her experience and encouraged others to come forward.
With the judges’ important role, we learned about their qualifications. Garrett Riegg is a semi-retired former trial attorney and now a current substitute teacher. Kerry Hamill is the retired former Assistant General Manager of BART. Garrett Anderson is a pastor and also an attorney. Melvis Madunezim is a motivational speaker and an English Language Teacher. Stephanie Casenza is a public relations and fundraising professional for a well-known nonprofit.
Finally, a winner was chosen, and it was Speaker C now revealed to be Alvin Wang, a student at Mission San Jose High School. Committee Co-chair Barbara Beery announced that he will receive $100 and will advance to the next round in the Area Rotary Speech Contest. Also introduced and thanked for their participation were Mya Nguyen from Alameda High School as Speaker A; Grace Tan of Oakland Charter School as Speaker B and Peiwen Lin of American Indian Model School as Speaker D. A virtual and much-deserved round of applause was given to all!
Click here to watch the entire speech contest.
Co-chairs Alex and Barbara acknowledged and thanked all Speech Contest Committee members for their work including Debo Sarkar, Riza Hernandez, C J Hirschfield and Greg Annis.
Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:
Rotarians rang the bell in honor of the hard work other Rotarians did to make the contest a success and for the student contestants. They were Lorna Padia Markus, Debo Sarkar (ringing twice), Joe Goralka, Fred Morse and Ces Butner. Thanks for your generosity!
After giving our contest winner a last word of thanks, President Ces closed the meeting by ringing the bell and his closing adage “and that’s the way it went” plus the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self.
Happy Birthday! Celebrating between March 1 and 8 are:
2 – Daniel Cheng
- Candice Elder
3 – Linda Chew
7 – Rosemary Darden
- David Douglas
Membership Anniversaries in February
Thank you for your years of service to the Rotary Club of Oakland and the community!
- L. Mrris Johnson – 45 years
- Ken Richardson – 38 years
- Joel Parrott – 35 years
- Shannon Hackley – 33 years
- Sean Marx – 28 years
- Rick Baskin – 16 years
- John Weaver – 13 years
- Bob Breecker – 9 years
- Abel Guillen – 8 years
- Brad Gill – 6 year
- Jason Wizelman – 6 years
- Renia Webb – 5 years
- Bryan Morgan – 4 year
- Emily Morgan – 4 years
- Isaac Kos-Read – 3 years
- Jim Ippolito – 3 years
- Nicholas Williams – 3 years
- Susan Schroeder – 2 years
- Sam Miller – 1 year
- Cory Nott – 1 year
- Pauline Fox – 1 year
- Rod James – 1 year
Next Meeting, March 4 – Adam Tobin, Chabot Space & Science Center
In keeping with our focus on outer space as NASA’s Perseverance makes its landing on Mars, our speaker next week will be Adam Tobin, President of Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center. The topic is Launching the Next Generation of Scientists and Explorers. This is a thrilling time in space exploration. As humanity reaches further into space, we wonder: just how far will our kids explore? Building on its 137-year history in Oakland, Chabot Space & Science Center is launching innovative, new models for STEM education. Chabot’s bold vision sets the stage for inspiration and opportunity for ALL of Oakland's youth.