Program Report: Park and Rec – Tom Dawson and Jason Jones

I don’t know if it was done on purpose but the previous week’s presentation from Rotarian Ashleigh Bachert about the Durham Sports Commission that she heads, but this week’s presentation from two of the assistant Directors of Durham’s Parks and Recreation department seemed to be the other side of the same coin.

Whereas a good deal of the focus of the Sports Commission is bringing events to the community along with dollars and hotel room nights, the Parks and Recreation Department focuses on Durham citizens. There is considerable overlap however in both the areas of facilities and in programming.

Our speakers, introduced by Danielle Kaspar (pinch hitting for Michael Kriston,) represented the two main arms of the department touching the public directly. The first to speak was Tom Dawson, a landscape architect by training, responsible for Parks and Planning. Jason Jones is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and responsible for the programs organized for all those facilities. They compose half of the leadership team of the department that is directed by Rhonda Parker and includes Joy Guy, who handles Administration.

Listening to these guys was a bit humbling for me, a guy who has been around a long time here in Durham and a has been jock. I learned a lot. The first surprise was the scope of activities and facilities. 69 Parks? Who knew? 57 Playgrounds, 5 pools on over 2000 acres.

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New Member: King Kenny

King Kenney is Marketing Director at Duke Performances and Executive Director atSuperLit. King is a reputable insider with a unique understanding of how to inspire action.

As a copywriter and journalist, King regularly delivers engaging content to target audiences of diverse sorts. As a Founder and Director, he has a demonstrated history of empowering
communities with the message needed to seek cures for various ills that cause cyclical poverty.

King’s Sponsor is Sara Stephens. Welcome, King!

New Member: Bob Wiley

Bob Wiley is a Seattle area native. He attended Prep School, College and Business School in the Boston area.

He worked in consulting and in the investment business in Boston and New York.

Bob’s father (89 years old) has been a Rotarian for almost 50 years. In 1999, Bob joined Seattle # 4, established in 1910. At that time, it was the largest Club in the world with over 700
Members.

Bob enjoys music and the arts, hiking, sailing, and he is also a history buff.

He knows the difference active Rotarians can make in a community and from he sees after visitingwith us for several Meetings, this Club is clearly doing that. Bob stated that “he feels like he’s in the right room.”

Bob’s Sponsor is Bob Gutman. Welcome, Bob!

George Brantley DeLoatche – May He Rest In Peace

Delivering a Rotary Minute in September 2012

It is with great sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of long-time Fellow Rotarian, and friend to many, George Brantley DeLoatche. Brantley passed away this morning. He was 99 years old.

Brantley’s tenure as a Durham Rotarian for 73 years is a record that may never be broken. He was a regular presence at weekly meetings, offering a genuine welcome to newly inducted club members and a warm smile for his old friends and tablemates. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and a follower of the Four Way Test.

In the weeks before his death, Brantley decided to create a named Scholarship with The Rotary Club of Durham and made a generous gift of $10,000 to launch this Fund. Thus, The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship will be given, starting this year, to one of our area high school scholarship awardees. It is hoped that additional memorial gifts will enable this Fund to grow to a level that supports an annual scholarship in memory of this fine man and his contributions to the community.

Rotarians who wish to make memorial gifts may do so by sending a check payable to The Rotary Foundation, with the notation: The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship, to: Barry Curtis, 3813 Regent Road, Durham, North Carolina 27707.

Pictured here is Brantley, along with Fellow Rotarians, Lucia Powe and Roxanne Hall Little, at our June 25, 2018 Rotary Meeting.   Brantley had just celebrated his 99th birthday on June 21st.

A Memorial Service for Brantley will be held on Saturday, March 2, at Yates Baptist Church at 11:00 AM, in Durham.  Yates Baptist is on Chapel Hill Road near the Blvd.

A full obituary was published in the Herald-Sun on Friday March 1 in the Durham Herald-Sun and can be seen here.

Past President, Seth Jernigan, introduced Dr. Pascal Mubenga, Superintendent of the Durham Public Schools (DPS) as our speaker. Dr. Mubenga, a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, introduced Chip Sudderth, Chief Communications Officer – DPS and Mary Griffith, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement – DPS as his guests.  His presentation occurred almost a year to the day since his first talk to us.

Dr. Mubenga started his tenure with DPS about 14 months ago with a 90 day listening tour. He then worked with a team of 52 people that included Educators, Stakeholders and Students over a period of 6 months to develop a Strategic Plan. The plan sets priorities, goals, detailed strategies for reaching those goals and measurements to track progress along the way. The plan can be found on the DPS website under the tab “About DPS.” The plan deserves a look, not only for the impressive detail of each facet but also for the skill sets of the many people who contributed to the plan.

Already, there have been noticeable improvements. Dr. Mubenga pointed out that when he arrived DPS had 18 schools out of the 53 in the system that were defined as “low performing.” In the past year the number of “low performing” schools has been cut to 13 and he expects that they will cut that number in half next year.

He pointed out that 82% of DPS students are of minorities. Looking at achievement growth through ethnic/racial divisions, he has seen that all groups grew last year except students of Asian background, whose achievement levels stayed the same. He found that White Students achieved above State norms while African – American and Latino students achieved below State norms. He noted that the overall graduation rate for DPS is 81% but for White students it is 91%. He concludes that there is a need to focus on minorities while improving education for all. Dr. Mubenga stated, “We have high expectations. Minority students can learn. We have to believe in them. I’ve seen it!”

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http://durhamrotaryclub.org/2019/02/9608/

New Member: Hilary French

Rotary often runs in families, so we are proud the have inducted Hilary French, the daughter of Rotarian Barker French who sponsored her. Hilary was inducted by Past President and member of the Membership Committee, Kay Gresham. Please introduce yourself and welcome her to the club.

Here is a little bit of information about Hilary:

“I currently work at KONTEK Systems as the Managing Director.  I have spent most of my career in HR, both as a consultant and in-house HR.  Jim and I moved to Durham from Philadelphia in 2016 after raising our two daughters there.  When not at work, I enjoy the many restaurants in Durham, working in my garden, and traveling to new places.”