SPOKES                                              VOL. LXXII NO. 33      February 26,2019                                  

We were greeted this morning by Rosalie Plechaty and Jim France.

President Odland opened our meeting, which was followed by our singing of “God Bless America” and Art Ayers’ invocation.


Francis Peet(Michigan Maritime Museum)-prospective member and       guest of Rosalie Plechaty

Don Dobbin- soon-to-be member and guest of Nick Tuit

Sue Duvall-guest of Scott Mark

Kevin Schooley-Superintendent of South Haven Schools and our  speaker this morning.

President Odland said that as part of our “New Member Initiative”, new members would be receiving Rotary polo shirts, and hats.

Blessings in a Backpack will be held on March 1st and 8th at Lincoln Elementary. Those helping should plan to arrive at the school by 1:15pm.

Steve Larsen continues his visit with Dr. Marty Graber in Kenya, where Marty is hoping to open the hospital in June. Steve described as “amazing” all facets of his visit, especially those things related to Marty and his medical mission, which has been such a blessing to so many!!!

Our South Haven Rotary Club takes great pride in the support provided to Marty’s mission over the years. Seven classrooms serving 300 students within the school were constructed with funds from our club! We will certainly look forward to Steve’s presentation of information and photos upon his return.

President Odland announced that he had received a “Thank You” note from South Haven High School’s Robotics Club(Team 4855-Ramageddon). The annual Robot Reveal, providing the public’s first glimpse of the 2019 robot, is to be held on Thursday, March 7th, at 6:30pm, at South Haven High School.

INDUCTION of NEW MEMBER: Don Dobbin, sponsored by Nick Tuit
Nick introduced Don, informing us that Don was born and raised in Kalamazoo and attended Western Michigan University, where he studied Print Shop Management and Industrial Engineering. WELCOME, Don!!

SONGS: If the songs sound familiar, we sang the SAME SONGS last week😊 Last week, Jim Davis was our “maestro”; this week, Bob Boerma. This morning, we were “serenaded” with “Ma, He’s Makin’ Eyes at Me”, “Give My Regards to Broadway”, and “Smile-Sing a Song”. At the end of “Smile”, Bob had us repeat the last line a capella, which actually sounded “pretty good”. Now, if we have the same songs next week, perhaps a new “twist”.

Sergeant-at-Arms Stuart Comiskey chose Jean Stein as today’s “honest and reliable” representative. She proceeded to draw the ticket belonging to Richard Swanson, who then drew card #7, so Rhonda Wendzel’s “take” was but $2 today.


Jerry Gruber announced that his granddaughter, Skylar, was celebrating a birthday today. Jerry’s oldest brother is also celebrating a birthday, his 88th.

Richard Swanson’s wife, Marilyn, is celebrating her birthday today, and Richard will be celebrating on Friday.

Tom Renner’s son, Dan, will be celebrating a birthday tomorrow.

Elaine Kitchin has a birthday today.

The singing of the traditional version of Happy Birthday followed these announcements.

Due to the anticipated length of our program, the basket was passed from table to table.

Kevin Schooley, South Haven Superintendent of Schools-District Update

Program Chair Steve Miles introduced Kevin, who has been South Haven’s Superintendent for 39 days, 9 of which have been cancellations.

Kevin began his teaching career in Bay City before coming to South Haven in 1993. He taught Special Education at the old Central High School(“The Loft”) until 1998, when he left for a position as an elementary principal in Watervliet. Since 2010, he served as Watervliet’s Superintendent of Schools. He and his wife, Lori, have 3 children- two sons who went through the South Haven School System, and a daughter who currently is a student at South Haven High School. Both sons are currently enrolled at MSU.

Highlights of Superintendent Schooley’s District Update:

*Current South Haven STUDENT COUNT is 1989 students, which reflects a loss of 280 students in the past 10 years.
*It is predicted that statewide, by 2024, an additional 100,000 students will be lost.

*DIVERSITY-an area of real pride! Pleased to see an increase in the Hispanic student population.
*CLASS SIZE-2017 data indicated 16 students per teacher; however, “teacher” reflects not only the classroom teacher, but also includes aides, para-professionals, and others who assist.
*SCHOOL of CHOICE- has pushed education, in general, into becoming a service-based industry.
*REVENUE TRENDS-In 2010, The Foundation Allowance, which funds public schools, reduced funding by $380 per student and has not kept up with inflation.Governor Snyder made a commitment to the schools that they would know, by June 1st, how much state funding would be available for the coming school year. Too many times in the past, schools would be waiting until after the school year had already begun, before definitively knowing what funding they would receive. “Out of Formula” Districts are those which generate enough revenue within their district so as not to require state aid. Covert and New Buffalo are examples of such districts.

*STUDENT WELL-BEING-(mental health issues and other barriers are inhibiting students). Many students are not having their safety and/or psychological   needs met. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in those ages 14-24. In ages 10-14, 1 in 5 have, or will have, a mental illness. 50% of those diagnosed with a mental illness drop out of school. Early intervention and collaboration are critical!

*HOMELESSNESS- Title IX, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act, defines homelessness as “living in the following places due to a lack of a fixed regular and adequate nighttime residence:
In an emergency or transitional shelter

In a motel, hotel, or campground
In a car, park, public place, bus or train station, or abandoned building
Doubled-up with relatives or friends due to loss of housing or economic hardship.”
In SOUTH HAVEN, there are currently 72 students classified as HOMELESS, an increase of 16 students from the previous year. These students have been found to be chronically absent 20% of the time.

*There is MUCH to CELEBRATE within the South Haven Public Schools: Diversity, Differentiated Learning, Advanced Programming, Fine Arts, Access to the VBISD Task Center, Lake Michigan College, Athletic Opportunity, and a Caring Staff.

Kevin addressed a few questions from the club before running out of time. The club and President Odland thanked him for a very informative presentation and, in appreciation, President Odland presented Kevin with our traditional Rotary pen.

President Odland thanked all of our guests in attendance.

NEXT WEEK: March 5, 2019
Greeters-Dan Liehr/Jerry Gruber

Program Chair-Jean Stein Program-Susan Murphey, Abbott Labs

We concluded our meeting with the Four-Way Test.

Art Ayers, Seasonal Editarian