Rotary Club checks reward service
Oak Park-River Forest High School student Taylor Rayburn takes part in the Pledge of Allegiance during The Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest's annual 2012 Awards Recognition Breakfast on May 23 at the Oak Park Country Club. Rayburn was a recipient of o
ROTARY AWARDS LIST
Rotary Community Service Awards:
Rotary Enrichment Award:
Ana Veronica Gonzalez
Katherine Ann Pesigan
Farr Memorial Grant winner:
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:20AM
When the Oak Park and River Forest Rotary Club handed out its annual cash awards to high school students this year, it took more than grades into account.
Club members also evaluated those special experiences that spark an excitement for learning, as well as a demonstrated commitment to helping others.
During the 2012 awards breakfast on May 23 at the Oak Park Country Club, the Rotary Club renewed its decades’ old commitment to helping enhance the lives of dedicated young people.
Five awards went to help pay for collage for graduating high school students who have shown a “demonstrated commitment to service in the past, present and future.” Other awards went to students still in high school for “enrichment” activities and service projects in other countries.
Eight young women received at least $500 to pursue enrichment activities this summer, ranging from language immersion in Spain and Japan to a service trip to Vietnam to help construct housing for English teachers.
Though not everything involved travel to distant locales and foreign languages.
Ezra Israelsohn of Oak Park, the 2012 Farr Memorial Grant winner, will travel to Wyoming to study advanced auto technology and chassis modification.
Dr. Manfred Boos, who presented the checks, said the young recipients embodied the valued of “service about self” that is the motto of the Rotary.
“It set them apart, it makes them unique,” said Boos. “They’re not caught up in the heartbeat of the times,” which he said is, unfortunately, “what’s in it for me.”
Boos lauded the choices the awardees have made and their discipline and dedication in pursuing those choices.
“Myself as an individual and the Rotary Club as a whole are proud of what they’ve accomplished, and hopefully they’ll make us proud in the future,” he said.
One of those students likely to make the Rotary proud in the future is OPRF junior Taylor Rayburn.
The River Forest 16-year-old will spend three weeks in Vietnam in July building sturdy “companion” housing.
“Most of the houses there are unstable,” she said. “During the rainy season they fall apart.”
This is Rayburn’s second summer trip abroad to help others. Last summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she traveled to South Africa on a service trip.
“I love traveling abroad and helping people,” she said.
The trips aren’t cheap, though, and the while she’s grateful for the Rotary’s assistance, the money is only a percentage of what she needs to pay for her trip.
A $3,800 scholarship helped, and the Oak Park-River Forest High School alumni Association donated $500.
Rayburn also worked part-time last summer and got money from her parents.
Rayburn said she’s as yet undecided on where she’ll go to college, but she knows what she wants to focus on, and it reflects Rotary values.
“I’m interested in social justice,” she said.