–submitted by Ellie Schatz, Rotary Scholar Mentor Committee Chair
Most members of the club are well aware that we have 80 scholarship recipients attending college with our support. But where are they; what are they doing? On January 9, we found out. About 40 scholars and mentors spent an hour learning about each other and sharing their stories. Kyle Gallagher Schmitz graduated in December and has new wheels to show for it, according to mentor Bob Shumaker. From our mixer questionnaires we learned that only Kyle has a motorcycle, only Dick Lovell eats oatmeal for breakfast and Brian Basken eggs!
(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Dick Lovell, Danielle Greenfield, Leslie Villarreal, Sharyl Kato, Lin Rohr and Ana Selenske)
The question of how mentors might better help their scholars resulted in the only moment of silence during the whole hour. But when reworded to ask what has a mentor done that you consider awesome, the scholars all seemed anxious to share: Sharyl Kato has been there for Leslie Villarreal day and night. Being that they are neighbors (how did that happen?) Ismat Bhuiyan and Deb Raupp take walks together regularly. Khadim Niang is proud of Tom Popp’s work in Malawi, and Sharyn Alden is proud of Emma Crawford’s trip to help provide dental care in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Raven Wood likes shopping with Melanie Ramey and Jazzmin Franks thanks Mike and Pat Wilson for finding her a job in the administration office at Madison College.
(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Patrick Mather, Ana Selenske, Sergio Becerra-Ramirez, Lily Gonzalez, Jazzmin Franks, Khadim Niang and Kyle Gallagher Schmitz)
We had fun trying to figure out who had traveled the furthest in 2012 and who was born the furthest away from Madison. Ismat thought she might have the record with both her birth and her recent trip back to Bangladesh. Several people thought Mike Wilson, our kiwi, might have it. With no geography expert in the room, neither could claim the prize. Pa Done Yang, born in Thailand, kept her claims for distance silent. She told me she hasn’t been back and instead is seeking scholarships to go to China to find her Hmong people’s roots. Internet research shows Christchurch is about 600 miles further than Dhaka, and although Christchurch has it over Bangkok by a hair, it had to be some distance to the refugee camp. Hats off to all three!
(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Juan Becerra, Karl Gutknecht, Kalia Winkle, Pa Done Yang, Julius Starlin and Mike Wilson)
Sergio Becerra-Ramirez thought it unusual that he and Juan Becerra were unrelated and shared a last name. Pa Done Yang and Chie Yang, also unrelated, said that’s not unusual — Yang is a common name in their culture. What they do share is a mentor — me, and I share the common-name syndrome with them, given my maiden name — Smith! The bottom line: our Foundation scholarship money is being well invested in supporting these scholars. And, the mentors agree that their time is just as well invested. It was indeed Mixer Magic to spend time together with all these scholars and mentors.
(Pictured in 4 photos above from left: Ismat Bhuiyan, Deb Raupp, Ellie Schatz, Chie Yang, Mary Rouse, Lily Gonzalez, Jazzmin Franks, Club President Wes Sparkman with Ellie Schatz)