Meeting of June 2, 2011


President Terry Brewer presents a Rotary pin to our newest club member, Darko Sedlar, during his induction at Thursday’s meeting. Darko’s involvement with Rotary began when he was an exchange student from his native Croatia in 2000. He went on to graduate from Columbia High School and LeMoyne College, and now teaches in the South Colonie School District.

And, Terry presented a certificate of appreciation to member Mark Hoyt for his ongoing work on behalf of the club’s student and exchange student efforts. Mark also was our speaker for the meeting, presenting a slideshow and talk on his tour of China.

Attending (17): Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Murray Forth, April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Deb Brown, Len Leonidas, Dick Drumm, Russ Edberg, Bill Kneissl, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Darko Sedlar, Charlie Foote, Mark Hoyt, Ron Annis, Rommel Tolentino.

Guests (3): ADG John Musco, Gift of Life board member Joyce Musco — both of the Lansingburgh Rotary Club; Kayden Leonidas.

Program: A Teacher’s Tour of China

Mark Hoyt presented a slideshow-illustrated talk on his experience with a group of 27 U.S. teachers of Chinese during a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of China.

The seven-week language immersion adventure included teachers from New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with most of the time spent in the city of Changchun (shown in red on map) in the province of Jilin (orange), bordering North Korea. However, during the course of the program, the group also visited schools and universities, attended a local wedding, bussed their way to the Great Wall, and experienced the Chinese rail system.

Mark noted that they frequently were met with surprise from Chinese people who found it unusual for “white Americans” to speak Chinese, especially in the city of Harbin, China’s 10th largest city. They usually have experience only with Russians speaking Chinese since their province is near the border with Russia and over the centuries there has been much cross-cultural interaction.

Mark said there are about 70 students taking Chinese language courses in the Schodack school system. He is hoping to make a similar trip to Taiwan under State Department auspices since teachers are allowed up to two such programs during their careers.


• Darko Sedlar (shown above) was inducted by President Terry Brewer as our newest club member.

• John and Joyce Musco of the Lansingburgh club attended the dinner meeting. John is the assistant district governor responsible for SRC and other clubs in the coming Rotary year. Joyce recently was named to the District 7190 Gift of Life board and made an appeal for the club’s continued support, including in the June 23 GOL golf tournament. They also distributed photos John took of a GOL-sponsored juvenile surgical procedure at Albany Medical Center.

• Mark Hoyt reported that we will have an exchange student from Denmark attending Maple Hill High School in the fall, sponsored by SRC. In addition, two Maple Hill students will be on outgoing exchange trips — Nick Hearn to Argentina this summer and Hana Wojnovich to France in the fall. He noted he has one host family lined up for the Denmark student, but needs at least two more.

• Charlie Foote briefly reported on his fundraising motorcycle ride to the Rotary International Convention in New Orleans. The group of 65 bikers raised $50,000 to put toward the eradication of polio.

• Terry reminded members that we are looking for members to host informal summer meetings. The first of those will be June 23 at the Forth residence. He also said we are looking into social events for the summer, such as a tour of the Harvest Spirits Distillery at Golden Harvest Farms in Valatie and a Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game at Bruno Stadium.

• Murray Forth reported that we received a letter of thanks from the Miracle League for sponsoring a banner at the field.

• April Dowd reported that she had elicited information from the two Joplin, MO, Rotary clubs about their needs, and Bill has posted it on the website. In addition, Charlie Foote provided a letter from the Medical Supplies Network Inc. of Tulsa, OK, that is coordinating shipment of supplies to the tornado-ravaged Joplin area. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to that entity, made payable to MSNI and sent to 1123 South Erie, Tulsa, OK 74112-5307.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 9. Speaker: Anne M. Cargile of the Rotary Foundation .

[Go here for the Events Calendar.]


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