2017 Scholarship Recipients

Rotary Centennial Scholars and Brown Family Scholarship Winners Announced

We were pleased to recognize recipients of the 2017 Rotary Centennial and Brown Family scholarships at the July 10 and July 17 club meetings.  All recipients received a recognition plaque and told members about themselves and their plans.    This year’s Rotary Centennial scholars are: Tasia Brownell (Meredith College), Desmond Jackson (Campbell University) (unable to attend), Laura Duran Velazquez (Durham Tech), and Armani Williams (NCCU).  All are Student U students. The Brown Family scholar is Laura Salazar (UNC Chapel Hill).   Laura is an Emily K student.

Each scholarship recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship freshman year, and with continued college enrollment and academic success an additional $1,000 scholarship sophomore year.

Student U is a college-access organization founded in the proposition that all students in Durham have the ability to succeed. Student U creates a pipeline of services to support students through middle school, high school, and college.

Brown Family Scholarship recipients are members of the Emily K program.  The K to College programs of the Emily K Center develop educated student leaders who achieve in school, gain entry to and graduate from college, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty in their families.

Meg Solera and Marge Nordstrom coordinated the awarding of the scholarships that were presented on July 10 and July 17.

Pictured above are Alexandra Zagbayou, Executive Director of Student U; Holly Guss, College Adviser of Student U;  Meg Solera Committee Co-chair; Laura Duran Velazquez, Rotary Centenarian Scholar: Blanca Velazquez, Laura’s mother and Bill Ingram, President ,Durham Technical Community College.

Pictured from left to right are Holly Guss, College Adviser of Student U; Armani Williams, Rotary Centennial Scholar: Tasia Bromell, Rotary Centennial Scholar: Laura Salazar, Brown Family Scholarship; Meg Solara, Co-Chair , Scholarship Committee; Robert Polanco, Associate Directory of College Success, Emily K Center and Adam Eigenrauch,Executive Director, Emily K Center.

Scholarships Press Release – August 2016

Marge Nordstrom, and Meg Solera, our champions of student scholarships and External Communications guru, Mark Lazenby put together the press release below and sent it to local media. We hope to see it in the Herald-Sun and Durham Magazine and their online properties with the attached pictures. Congratulations to the students, their parents and their mentors at Student U and the Emily K Center.

Press Release Scholarships

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Fill the Bus 2016


It’s that time of year again. We’re in the middle of summer but teachers all over Durham are planning classroom activities and hoping that not too much has to come out of their own pockets to make sure all their students have the supplies they need to be successful in school.

The big day is Saturday, August 20 at the same location at South Square between Sam’s Club and Office Depot. Use the Sign-up Genius link to sign up to volunteer on the big day. The link will be in the side-bar on the right until the event or they have enough volunteers. Wear your sunscreen and come on out and help.

Click HERE to sign up.

The organization sponsoring this effort, Crayons2Calculators is planning their biggest drive yet. The goal for 2016 is $135,000 worth of school supplies. You can help by hosting a collection bin at your business, association or neighborhood. The C2C website is HERE.

Another closely related event is the New Teacher Giveaway the following weekend on August 27 at the C2C warehouse on Holloway Street. This means they are giving new teachers first dibs on the supplies gathered, not giving away a new teacher. Welcome to your new world! Click HERE to sign up.

To print copies of the C2C flyer pictured above to distribute to co-worker, friends, neighbors and strangers. click HERE.  It’s in pdf format that you can also forward by email.  Something else…paste the link to this post on Facebook. Let’s blow the doors off that bus!

The pictures are from last year’s Fill the Bus event.


Durham Rotary Youth Exchange – Host Families Needed

JaneneFernLighting peace candles is a wonderfully symbolic thing to do but peace itself is built from millions of personal connections. Sometimes making those connections involve sacrifices but few provide a return on investment like hosting a student from abroad. Ask any Rotarian who has hosted a student.  But bringing a stranger into you home and providing room and board can look like a major sacrifice. 

Janene Tompkins introduced our Club again to Fern Piromsantikorn from Thailand, the current visiting exchange student. Janene and her Co-Chair, Shannon Leskin and currently interviewing families to host Fern for 3 months each. Shannon developed the guidelines below. Host families do not need to be Rotary Families. Consider passing the information along to others in your network of friends and families for consideration. 

As you all know from Janene’s presentation at the club meeting Monday, we have had two families back out of hosting Fern.  Both for personal reasons and not because of the program. Janene and I have exhausted our personal contacts, so we are asking our club to reach out to our networks to find host families. The particulars are as follows:

  1. Fern is enrolled at Riverside High School. She is doing well in her academic studies.  The family should be in that district.  One note, Fern is currently in a carpool in Trinity Park and if we can find a familes in that neighborhood she can stay in the carpool. It is not necessary, just want anyone in Trinity Park to know that carpool is not an issue.
  1. We need two families. One for January until mid-March and the second mid-March until June when school is over and she goes home. The dates can be flexible and will be coordinated once we secure the two families.
  1. As you all know, Rotary is affiliated with the ESSEX Youth Exchange: www.exchangestudent.org and there is a button on the left side for “host family” information. I have copied the responsibilities from the website, but please go to the site for complete information.
  1. The host families do not have to be Rotarian’s. They do not have to have teenage children. Actually, families with smaller children can be a really rich experience and I think that Fern, in particular, would love to be around younger children.
  1. Fern is a lovely girl, and the family she is currently staying with has told me that she is quiet, loves to try new foods, and has become a part of the family. She is staying with them through Thanksgiving and the Christmas season because they really want her to experience their family traditions.

Host family responsibilities (from the ESSEX website www.exchangestudent.org, please see the site for complete details)

As a Rotary Youth Exchange host family, it is your responsibility to provide room and board for your exchange student. You are also expected to exercise general parental supervision over the student just as you would your own children, and involve him or her in daily household chores and activities.

However, most host families’ involvement with their student does not stop at room and board. The families often share their native background while also learning about their visitors’ culture. This does not mean that you have to arrange elaborate entertainment, but simply make the student a part of your family. Give him or her the opportunity to share in the same aspects of your family life that most teenage students experience in your culture.

If you have any questions or an interested family please direct them to one if us: Shannon Leskin, shannonleskin@gmail.com or Janene Tompkins, janenetompkins@gmail.com

Thank you, Shannon and Janene


Crayons2CalcThanksLots of hard work went into the Fill-the-Bus success story. The Durham Rotary Club effort was led by Marge Nordstrom and, of course, Past President and current District Governor Newman Aguiar. The note below from Executive Director Julie Morris to President Lois, sums up the impact of the program. 

Dear Lois DeLoatch

On behalf of all the teachers and students we serve, I want to extend our sincere appreciation to our supporters for the generosity and community spirit you showed by participating in the 2015 Fill That Bus drive and helping us surpass our $120K goal. We had to bring in an additional storage unit again this year to store all the donations. Please forgive the delay in getting back to you. We have had to focus on processing the supplies to get the store open for the beginning of the school year. This outpouring of support will enable C2C to expand our programs to serve more teachers and students than ever before.

We began the 2015-16 school year with a special giveaway event for first-year teachers sponsored by the Durham Rotary Clubs.  More than 140 teachers “shopped” during the two-day event and carried home $20,000 worth of supplies!  In the three additional days we were open in August another 130 teachers from the 10 schools that participate in our Monthly Shopping program received $9,500 worth of supplies. I wish you could see their excitement to find the shelves filled with brand new school supplies for their students.

It means so much to teachers to know that the Durham community is committed to supporting their work to help ALL students achieve success. We thank you for demonstrating your caring and concern in such a tangible way.

If you would like to learn more about Crayons2Calculators or come out and visit our warehouse, please contact me. I’d love to give you a firsthand look at what we do.

Warm Regards,


Julie Marshall
Executive Director


Facebook: www.facebook.com/crayons2calculators

More Scholarship Recipients

rotary 8 3 15 027scholarshipgroupwebMeg Solera and Marge Nortstrom introduced three more of our scholarship winners.  From left to right President Lois, Emmanuel Johnson from Riverside High School and his grandmother, Janet Cozart; Madison Taylor from Northern High School and her siter, Kate Littell; Whitney Lin from Jordan High School and her father, Wan M. Lin and Meg on the far right.

Congratulations and as we say this year in Rotary, “Be a gift to the world.”