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Service, Education, Adventure

Rotary packs parachutes.

The Mount Vernon Rotary Club recognized the recipients of the club's 2002-03 awards and scholarships during their 26th installation of officers dinner held last week.

"Rotarians pack parachutes for people," said Mount Vernon Rotary Club president, Elmer Holst. "Though a boutique club, by working with local institutions, District 7610 and Rotary International, members of our community have opportunities to take risks and to grow," said Holst.

The evening proved that point.

Mount Vernon High School Interact students, Jenna Rea, Esther Cha, Hunter Owen and Molly Mockovak received Rotary Youth Leadership Award. This international program recognizes and develops qualities of leadership and good citizenship in young people in their communities. Leadership training is part of the award.

Last month, the MVHS students joined 40 others at a two-day leadership camp in Charlottesville. "We started out all handcuffed together," said Rea. The group quickly learned that twisting and turning without a cooperative plan did not bring results. The ice broken, all proceeded to discussions of leadership lead by an astronaut, a FBI agent as well as a copyright attorney and experiments with team building.

"I realized I know how better to present myself and my ideas when I was taking my IB orals — my knees are not shaking now," said Cha.

INTERACTERS Jenna Rea and Christine Rea were recognized for their participation in the District 7610 Speech Contest. Jenna went on to compete at the area level against four speakers from other schools in front of 70 Rotarians at the Arlington Rotary Club meeting at Washington Golf and Country Club. She placed second.

Mount Vernon resident Martha Munters received the Whitton Scholarship, a $1,000 endowed scholarship awarded for a student in Scotland, Ireland or the British Isles under the auspices of the George Mason University Center for Global Education. Munters, who has maintained a 3.5 average, will study history at Cambridge as part of the Summer International Program.

Six years ago, Munters returned to GMU with the goal of a master’s in nursing. One elective in art ended a 30-year career as an operating nurse. "I fell in love with art history," said Munters, who is working on her master’s degree in that field and plans to eventually teach at the college level.

Munters finds the apathy and disinterest of the young in education disturbing. "I have been encouraged and challenged all the way by GMU," said Munters. "My family is delighted but my mother, a traditional housewife who unexpectedly had to support herself, is the most proud."

This summer she will study medieval manuscript illumination with a former curator of the British Museum, devotion and images in the medieval church and British medieval women.

MOUNT VERNON ESTATE assistant director of marketing, Emily Kangas, was named a member of the 2003-04 Group Student Exchange team to Glasgow, Scotland. Teams of young professionals, 25-40, visit with a paired Rotary district in a different country. This September, she will shadow her counterparts in museum management while staying with local Rotarians and speaking to their clubs about the United States.

While Mount Vernon has hosted teams from India, Columbia, Finland and Russia, this is only the second time in 25 years that a nominee from the club has been selected for the team.

"Change here, miracles there," summarized club Polio Eradication Chair Mike Jones as he held the familiar blue cup that sat on Rotarians' dressers during this year to remind members that each 19 cents meant another child was free of polio.

Citing the hard work of his two children in sorting and counting, he presented a check for $655.55 to Steve Greshman, assistant district governor. This brings the club campaign total to nearly $3,000, the District donation to approximately $250,000 and the Rotary International total to more than $88 million.

ROTARIANS HAVE also provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries, allowing reach into areas where government is not always welcome.

The goal of the program, begun in the 1980s, is the certification of a polio-free world by 2005, Rotary's centenary year.

Newly installed 2003-04 president, Jo Butler, closed the meeting with an invitation to guests to visit and to join Rotary. "Our theme for next year is 'Lend a Hand.' Goodness knows what we will find to do," she said.