Rotary International Theme 2023-2024




Rotary Club of Durham

Rotary International President:

Gordon McInally

Rotary District 5160 Governor:

Clair Roberts

Durham Rotary President: Glenn Pulliam


Editor: Phil Price

Publisher:  Jen Liu





September 26, 2023


Crab Feed 2024

Will be held on
Jan. 20, 2024

2023                                       Calendar for Durham Rotary
1 2 3
No Meeting
4 5 6 7
8 9 10
Club Assembly
(Glenn Pulliam)
11 12 13 14
15 16 17
No Meeting
18 19 20 21
22 23 24
(Mike Wacker)
25 26 27 28
29 30 31
No Meeting
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7
Tipsy Tuesday at BCCC
(Glenn Pulliam)
8 9 10 11
12 13 14
(Jen Liu)
15 16 17 18
19 20 21
No Meeting
22 23 24 25
26 27 28
No Meeting
29 30    

The Meeting Opening


The meeting was called to order by Past President Larry Bradley, in Glenn Pulliam’s absence, at the Butte Creek Country Club.


Larry asked your editor to lead the pledge, which I did.  Jim Patterson then presented the invocation.  Following that Larry lead us in singing “God Bless America”


Updates on Dave Jessen:  Dave is in Enloe for the past few days as he has blood issue resulted from his chemotherapy.  He is also going through physical therapy during the day in Enloe Rehab. Center to gain strength.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.


FUTURE MEETINGS: Meetings will be at the location noted, at 6:00 pm.


October 10th:  Club Assembly at BCCC.


October 24th:  Mike Wacker at BCCC.


November 7th:  Tipsy Tuesday at BCCC


November 14th:   Jen Liu


December 5th:  Christmas Party.


December 19th:  Tom Knowles






Larry reported that President Glenn had suffered an attack of something called Transient Global Amnesia.  This is not a serious condition but is scary and can be mistaken for a stroke, so he needed to go to the hospital.  The causes are not fully known, but you recover rapidly and he has fully recovered.  He will be back at the next meeting.


The chairpersons of the Harvest Festival committees met at 5:00 pm, before the meeting.  Much was discussed about improvements for next year.  It was noted that the Harvest Festival was successful this year.  Preliminary figures show a gross of $33,740 and a net profit of $24,617


Steve Heithecker was awarded his 5th Paul Harris Fellowship.

Introduction of Visitors


John Moss introduced visitors from the Paradise Club.  They were Brian Gray (past president of the Paradise Club and this year’s winner of the District 5160 Rotarian of the Year award), Melisa Creek, Megan Buzzard and Rene McCormick.  They were promoting their Crab Feed coming up on February 5th.   Steve Plume introduced Jim and Nancy Lee (our program for the night).   Jen Liu had no one to introduce.



Each of the introductions, or lack thereof, resulted in Steve Plume contributing $5.00 and Jen Liu contributing $5.00.

Steve Plume was having his 79th birthday so he contributed $10 with a song.

Larry Bradley is having his 74th birthday.  He wasn’t going to sing to himself.  But the Club sang anyway.  He contributed $20.

Jessica Thorpe is having her anniversary.  She contributed, in absentia, $50.

Steve Heithecker was having his 22nd anniversary.  He contributed $50.

I thought that the contribution was suppose to be the number of years you had been married until it reached 50 then reduced by the number of years after 50. 

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be a Club Assembly on October 10th at the BCCC. 



Bring guests who you think you can interest in becoming a member.  Think of business owners or managers to bring.  Your dinner and your guest’s dinner will be paid for by the Club.  Also, bring a guest to one of our occasional social gatherings.

Go to the following Rotary International web site for information on membership development: .  From this website there is access to membership development and other related information.

Tonight’s Meeting Program



Steve Heithecker presented Nancy Lee who spoke about myths from the history of Chico.  She disabused us of many things we had believed about Chico. For instance the rock walls I had always been told were built by the Chinese who lived in the two Chinatowns in Chico.  That is not true.  They were built by 2 Portuguese farmers, who wanted to clear their farm land.  She was very interesting. 


The Rotary Foundation Donations

You can make a difference in this world by helping people in need. Your gift can do some great things, from supplying filters that clean people’s drinking water to empowering local entrepreneurs to grow through business development training.

The Rotary Foundation will use your gift to fund the life-changing work of Rotary members who provide sustainable solutions to their communities’ most pressing needs. But we need help from people like you who will take action and give the gift of Rotary to make these projects possible.

When every Rotarian gives every year, no challenge is too great for us to make a difference. The minimum gift to The Rotary Foundation is $25.00.   An annual $100.00 gift is a sustaining member.  Once your donations accumulate to $1,000 you become a Paul Harris Fellow.

If you have any questions ask Steve Heithecker.

It is possible to learn more about The Rotary Foundation on the Rotary web site. 

Your gift can be made online or by sending Jessica Thorpe a check made out to The Rotary Foundation to Durham Rotary, P.O. Box 383, Durham, California 95958.

Must Be Present to Win Drawing:


Jen Lui drew Daryl Polk’s name.  He was present to win.



Larry then closed the meeting.


From District 5160

Nothing this week.


From Rotary International



Classrooms wired for success

To close the digital divide in Panama, they started with the teachers

By Geoffrey Johnson

It began, in Panama, with a simple backpack drive.

The Rotary Club of Panamá Norte loaded the packs with essential supplies and distributed them to grade schools throughout the country, a classic Rotary service project repeated in communities around the world. In this case, though, it led to something extraordinary — momentous changes in Panama’s education system.

The spark that ignited it came from what the Rotary members witnessed while delivering those backpacks about 10 years ago. “One of the things that we saw was the disaster in terms of technology and in terms of the possibility of kids being able to learn with technology,” says club member Enedelsy Escobar-King. “Most of the time what we found was that all of the computers were destroyed, or they were to be discarded, or that teachers didn’t know how to use them.”

Over the next few years, club members continued to deliver backpacks but also laid the groundwork for a larger project to address the high-tech disaster they had encountered. Specifically, they turned their attention to two grade schools in Veracruz, a corregimiento (or township) about 10 miles southwest of Panama City, where the club is based.

Gwen Keraval

Working with the Rotary Club of Westchester (Los Angeles), the Panamá Norte club put together a global grant that received $72,000 from The Rotary Foundation, District 5280 (California), the club itself, and other sources. Among other things, it provided each school with 30 laptops for students; a smart, interactive whiteboard to digitize classroom presentations and tasks; and all the auxiliary hardware and furniture required for a high-tech, 21st-century classroom. To ensure the project’s success, the grant also provided for extensive training of school staff and community leaders.

The club launched the project in 2018, and the new equipment and opportunities for learning were immediately embraced by teachers and students. At the end of the 2019 school year, the project had, by all appearances, been a success. One of the schools that participated was even chosen to take part in a countrywide academic competition, a first for the school and, despite failing to win, a laudable achievement.

Yet an unexpected problem arose. “The teachers that we had trained for the interactive classrooms were rotated out,” a regular practice in Panama’s public schools, says Escobar-King. “And the teachers that were new didn’t have a clue about technology. We had to start all over again and try to train those teachers. When we got that setback, we said, well, let’s find a more permanent solution.”

For Escobar-King and the rest of Panamá Norte, class was back in session.

Escobar-King — she goes by “Nelly” — joined the Rotary Club of Panamá Norte in 2015 after a long career with UNICEF. Some projects she worked on with UNICEF were related to education, so when she retired and returned to Panama, she knew she wanted to remain involved in that area.

Enedelsy Escobar-King addresses students in the digital classroom of a participating elementary school.

Regina Fuller-White

Escobar-King was motivated, in part, by the dire state of primary education in Panama. She points to the results of the exams known as the Programme for International Student Assessment that are conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the most recent results, Panama ranked 75th in science and 76th in math among 78 countries and geographic areas and 71st (out of 77) in reading.

With that in mind, as well as the unexpected development of the teacher shakeup in Veracruz, the Rotary Club of Panamá Norte posed an important question: “How can we get teachers already trained so that no matter where they are sent, they already have the technological tools they could use?”

The answer turned out to be quite simple: Want to get teachers trained? Go to the teachers’ training school — in this case, the Normal School in Santiago, about 150 miles southwest of Panama City. “It is the main teaching college in Panama,” says Escobar-King, “and it’s going to produce the future teachers of the country. As part of the curriculum, would-be teachers have to teach in a real classroom. So we said, OK, let’s make sure they do it in interactive classrooms.”

Working with the Rotary Club of Kansas City-Plaza in Missouri, as well as other clubs in Panama, the Panamá Norte club applied for and received a global grant of more than $230,000 for what they called the Paul Harris Interactive Digital Classrooms. Six of the classrooms would be installed at the Normal School, and another classroom at each of the two nearby grade schools where the apprentice teachers would do their in-class training.

This time, the grant would again provide the high-tech equipment needed for the classrooms. But the emphasis was elsewhere. “The most important component was not just to train the teachers to use the equipment but to teach them innovative methodologies that use the technology to teach the kids in schools,” says Escobar-King. “And that’s how the principles of this particular project were developed.”

Students in the Rotary-sponsored digital classrooms showed a higher level of engagement.

Enedelsy Escobar-King

From the beginning, the project was a model of collaboration among Rotary members, the Normal School, Panama’s ministry of education (Meduca), the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and the Normal School’s parent-teacher association. Lessons learned from the Veracruz experiment were invaluable as the project in Santiago took shape.

Escobar-King also singled out the Basic Education and Literacy Rotary Action Group (whose board she serves on) and the Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers. “They are valuable Rotary resources,” says Escobar-King, “and we have a very close working relationship with them.”

For help in designing the curriculum, the Panamá Norte club turned to the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, which put them in touch with Dillian Staine, a professor at the Universidad Latina de Panamá. He designed the curriculum with both the future teachers and the teachers leading the Rotary-sponsored classes in mind, There were, however, some complaints about the rigor of the course. “It is quite an intense course,” Escobar-King acknowledges. “But we don’t want to reduce the quality of the course. We would rather help prospective teachers reach that level of learning.”

Not only will the Santiago project enhance the abilities of those teachers at the Normal School but it will have what its creators call a “multiplier effect.” According to the calculations laid out in the global grant, each teacher, once graduated and posted in a school, will have 30 students in a classroom. Over just one year, that means that as many as 2,500 students would be beneficiaries of the project.

What’s more, those newly posted teachers will have the opportunity to train other teachers at their new schools in the innovative digital teaching techniques they learned at the Normal School. And, of course, the Normal School will continue to train other upcoming teachers in the Paul Harris Classrooms, which Meduca has agreed to oversee.

At press time, Panamá Norte, working with Meduca, the Rotary Club of Las Vegas WON, and other clubs in Panama, was preparing to submit an application for another global grant. If approved, it would provide funds three times greater than those awarded to the Santiago project and allow the digital interactive classrooms to expand across Panama. “We are very committed to the project,” says Escobar-King.

Panama’s future may well depend on that.

This story originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.


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The deadline for the Rowel 6:30 am on Wednesdays.


The Editor’s photographs published in the Rowel are available, upon request, in their original file size.  Those published were substantially reduced in file size.