Rotary Club of Kernersville
By Ben McDonald
Since its inception, The Rotary Organization has been a strong supporter of education in the communities we are a part of across the globe. The Rotary Club of Kernersville is no exception. Kernersville Rotarians strongly believe in education, and as members of this community we feel a sense of responsibility and privilege to assist wherever we can. There are many educational programs that the Rotary Club of Kernersville sponsors or volunteers for that mentor our youth to help them perform well in school and in life. Kernersville Rotarians strive to be a part of students’ lives from elementary school through graduation and even beyond with multiple touch-points along the way. We want them to see Rotary as an organization that is involved in the community and supports their educational goals.
We start in elementary school with our Study Buddy Program. This is a partnership with a local elementary school. We have been providing study buddies every year since the program began almost 30 years ago. Multiple Rotarians volunteer more than 30 minutes a week to an assigned student with whom they meet each week throughout the year. They help their study buddy with things like reading, math, homework, or simply being another consistent supportive adult figure in their lives who can mentor them and help guide them academically, as well as provide social and emotional support.
Rotary provides incentives for good behavior, honor roll, perfect attendance, as well as provides resources to support PTA events. The goal of the program is to help the students start the year off in a positive direction so they can build on a strong educational foundation.
Over the years, the Rotary Club of Kernersville, through its Interact Clubs, has formed partnerships with local high school students to foster its mission of “Service Above Self.” Rotary Club members have worked with students at East Forsyth High School on service projects such as raising funds to help eradicate Polio, community support projects with Saint Paul’s Methodist Church, organizing a fundraiser for THAKO Orphanage in Haiti, supporting Rotary Club of Kernersville’s annual Pancake Dinner fundraiser, sending Christmas cards, and spending time with residents of an assisted living facility. They have also worked with students at Glenn High School in raising funds to support an artesian well project in Africa, bringing holiday cheer to local residents of an assisted living facility, and promoting reading to local elementary school students. The goal of the Rotary’s Interact Club is to work with students by providing them with the tools and skills that help foster important social and selfless interactions by guiding them on how to make a difference in the lives of others, while also helping them learn how to organize and coordinate these types of projects in the future.
Rotary Club of Kernersville supports students and teachers of the month during the school year as well. One boy, one girl, and one teacher are selected from East Forsyth and Glenn High School each month during the school year. These students are juniors or seniors and are outstanding students and members of the community. The principals also select one teacher that they feel demonstrates exemplary leadership and support to their students. Both the teachers and students are then recognized at one of Rotary’s weekly meetings and are presented with a certificate of recognition from the club.
Each year The Rotary Club of Kernersville holds a Scholastic Banquet for the top ten juniors and seniors from both East Forsyth and Glenn High Schools. Those students and their parents are invited while the students are recognized for their achievements. The seniors from each school also select a teacher who has meant the most to them during their high school career and that teacher is then recognized as well. The Superintendent of the Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools also speaks at this event recognizing the accomplishments of our top ranked students as they prepare for the next phase of their lives.
Furthermore, each year, the Rotary Club of Kernersville provides select high school graduates with financial assistance in pursuit of an Associate’s Degree from Forsyth Technical Community College. Two deserving graduates are awarded a $4,000 scholarship. Over the last several years these scholarships have helped students pursue degrees in Political Science, Business Administration, Electrician Certification, as well as a host of other degrees offered at Forsyth Tech.
As you can see from the points mentioned above, the Rotary Club of Kernersville is committed to helping our students throughout the phases of their educational careers. Our goal is to help our local students keep the focus on their education, as well as teaching them how to give back to others along the way. Rotary’s hope is by doing this, these students can help carry on Rotary’s legacy of “Service Above Self.”
For more information on the Rotary Club of Kernersville, visit: www.KernersvilleRotary.org.