News

3 students win prizes in Harrisburg Rotary’s Four-Way Essay Contest

Three Harrisburg School District ninth grade students competed for prizes in the Rotary Club of Harrisburg's annual Four-Way Test Essay Contest.

The students each selected a topic of their choice and applied the Rotary Four-Way Test, which is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings.

Winners of the contest, who read their speeches during the club’s March 27, 2017 meeting:

  • Alassia Brown won the $300 first price for her speech on “How can a young girl avoid becoming a statistic in a poverty-stricken neighborhood.’’ Alassia attends the Harrisburg High School, John Harris Campus.
  • Christina Ledesma won the $200 second prize for her speech on fighting racism and prejudice – including such feelings she may have. Christina attends SciTech High School.
  • Adelyn Toleldo won the $100 third prize for her speech describing how she had a tough talk with a classmate who was “slacking off’’ and letting her school work slide. Adelyn attends SciTech High School.

Seventeen students from the district competed this year, said Samuel L. Levine, president-elect of the Harrisburg Rotary and chair of the Four-Way Test Essay Committee.

Students were required to submit their essays, no more than 1500 words, through their English departments and the English teachers screened the submissions prior to forwarding the finalists to our club. A committee reviewed the essays and selected the winners.

The Rotary Four-Way Test:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?

3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Harrisburg Senators GM gets us ready for spring!

rsz j stephen feinour randy whitaker bob hostetter for website

You may think Harrisburg Senators General Manager Randy Whitaker’s job is all about the sport of baseball, but he readily admits his role is really about the off-field entertainment happening during the games.

Starting his 10th year as the Senator’s GM, Whitaker spoke at the March 20, 2017, Rotary Club of Harrisburg lunch at the Harrisburg Hilton and estimated about 90 percent of people coming to the game are there for the overall experience – and many leave not even knowing who won!

But as long as they exit with a smile on their face and having enjoyed themselves, then Whitaker has done his job.

For those unfamiliar with Senators baseball, promotions abound, such as Wet Nose Wednesdays (dogs welcome to attend the game), Thirsty Thursday beer specials and Fireworks Fridays and more (go here to view all the game promotions:  http://www.milb.com/tickets/singlegame.jsp?sid=t547)

The Senators also do a lot for charity. Whitaker estimated over the past six years they’ve raised $500,000 in either cash or in-kind promotional services – and he said many charities say the recognition they receive when highlighted at a game is better than money.

“We’re a small business with a big profile,’’ Whitaker says, adding that the team only has a full-time staff of 19, which balloons to 200 during the season. The small staff means Whitaker does a bit of everything -- –om directing traffic before and after games with a Star Wars light saber to helping hang banners in the outfield.

Whitaker, who previously worked in television sales, says the GM job “has been an awesome dream that’s come true.’’

And in true Senators style, Whitaker ended his talk with a quick trivia quiz and, of course, tossed T-shirts with opening game tickets to the winners.

Opening day, by the way, is April 6  -- Go Senators!

Learning to celebrate our differences

Beauty happens when everyone is allowed to make a contribution and have a voice was the underlying message of Marvin Worthy’s Marvin Worthy and Rotarian Brad Gebhartmoving talk on diversity during the Jan. 30 meeting of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg.

Worthy, through his Worthy Consulting and Training LLC, works with companies and organizations to promote inclusion and promote policies that promote diversity.

He told of growing up poor in Union, S.C. in the 1960s, but said at the time he didn’t realize they didn’t have much because of the love and support all around him. However, his family’s move to North Philadelphia and later his experiences at different schools drove home the loneliness and isolation of being an outsider. Worth, who is African-American, recalled being told by a college professor on his first day that he was wasting his time in the class and wouldn’t be able to do the work – all before he even received the syllabus.

Throughout his high school and college years, Worthy told of how he worked to create a welcoming and respectful atmosphere for fellow students – a calling that became his career.

Worthy encouraged Rotarians to “intentionally grow your space’’ and make the effort work with people of different backgrounds, saying it takes a high level of courage to seek out situations that may at first be uncomfortable. He also asked if we can really deliver good services if we only surround ourselves with those who only look like us.

Pictured from left to right is Marvin Worthy and Brad Gebhart, acting president for the day.

To learn more, go to http://www.worthyconsulting.org/

The impact of autism on families

The impact of autism on families

One in 58 children have autism and the number of cases – and need for support services – continues to grow said Mike Jarman during Harrisburg Rotary President J. Stephen Feinour and Mike Jarman.his talk at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg.

Jarman initially was working as an attorney as he and his wife struggled to find good programs and help for their two autistic sons, who are now adults. As a parent of two daughters as well, a challenging situation was made worse when his boys were young in the late 90s because there weren’t too many options, he said.

He discovered the Vista program that used proven techniques to help children with autism and began teaching classes out of his home for his kids and two other children. Interest in the program grew and in 2002 Jarman and a group of parents founded The Vista School in Hershey. He and the other founders were literally going into debt to fund the school until in 2002 it received private school status from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Today, Jarman is the chief strategic officer and general counsel for Vista, which is serving more than 100 children and more than 20 adults – all at no cost to parents. In the coming year, the school is looking to open a class serving infants up to 3 years of age.

Pictured from left to right:  Mike Jarman and Steve, Feinour, President.

For more information about the school, including how to make a donation or become a corporate sponsor, go to www.thevistaschool.org