Fitness for All Ages
Engineers Without Borders
Terrorism and Appeasement
The Importance of Fitness for All Ages
District Breakfast - LAX
All Officers and Committee Chairs should (must!) attend
5400 W. Century Blvd.
CATHOLIC EDUCATION in LA, at WVRC on February 19th
DAVID FRIEDMAN led the Pledge. PP STEVE SCHERER provided the Invocation. “Heavenly Father, we come to you as Rotarians and friends of Rotarians. We come to ask your help in becoming Peacemakers. So today we pray for Peace in our world, Peace in our country, Peace in our cities, Peace in our families, and Peace in our hearts. Bless this food to our use, and us to thy service.” Well done, STEVE. LENNY, whom we haven’t seen lately, came forward to lead You’re a Grand Old Flag.
We had one visiting Rotarian, Howard Pollard, who is from Playa Sunrise, and is classed as Natural Foods. NICK KAHRILAS brought his son, Cole. SUNNY of course came with LENNY, and CURT SMITH had a Special Guest, Bob Hope, a past President of Century City Club. ANN SAMSON had two guests. Eric Davidson is the Principal at University High School, and Rebecca Botko teaches there. Those at the Head Table included PP TOM LENEHEN, who reminded us that the Getty Villa is certainly worth a visit all you need is an advance reservation (310) 440-7300. PP PETER MORE spoke about the upcoming 55th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Island East Club, with which we have a Sister Relationship. The date is April 3rd. DAVID FRIEDMAN reminded us that it isn’t too late to make up for anything you forgot for Valentines Day. TOM BARRON threatened to divulge all the secrets of working under PP DON NELSON but finally decided he really didn’t have any negatives to report!.
At this point, amid some concern among the ladies, PP ERIC LOBERG came forward with an Inspirational Story. He began by noting that MARK KRAUSE had suggested he get off the gender jokes and get on with religious humor. Accordingly, a lady went to her priest one day, with the following problem. She had two female parrots, and all they would say is “Hi, I’m a hooker”. The priest thought about this for a moment, and then said, “You know, I may have a solution to your problem. I have two talking parrots, which I have taught to pray and read the Bible. Bring your parrots over to my house, and we’ll put them in with my two, Francis and Joel. My pair can teach your pair to pray and worship, and your pair are sure to stop saying that phrase.” It sounded good to her, so the next day she brought them over to the priest’s house. When she got there, she saw his two parrots inside the cage, holding rosary beads and praying. Impressed, she walked over and placed her two parrots in their cage. After a few minutes, her parrots cried out, “Hi, we’re hookers.” There was a stunned silence. Then one of the male parrots exclaimed, “Put the beads away, Frankie our prayers have been answered.”
After things quieted down, ANN’S two guests came forward. ANN first pointed out that they were both involved in the formation of our new Interact Club, which was established on 27 October 2008. There was an inquiry as to who might have attended UniHi, and PP CHRIS BRADFORD and YOE were the only two hands I remembered. Eric Davidson has been the Principal at UniHi since last March, and he is really enjoying his new school. He pointed out that UniHi was started in 1924 as James Harding High and while he didn’t mention it, the first President of WVRC, in 1929, was Angus Cavanaugh, who was the Principal at Harding at that time! They are introducing some new concepts now Academies of Engineering, Finance, and Information Technology, plus several new trade disciplines. These are smaller schools within the whole student body, and it’s an exciting venture. Mr. Davidson also noted that his own daughter was an active member of an Interact Club at Westchester High School, and she felt it was very rewarding.
The next speaker was Rebecca Botco. She has been teaching at UniHi for the last ten years, and has happily accepted the Sponsorship of our new Interact Club.
They are just getting underway, and she is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that Interact can provide. As a historic note, we used to have the Student Body President of UniHi as an Honorary Member, and we all enjoyed that. However, one semester, the new President refused to salute our flag and the whole association collapsed. While it WAS happening, they had a Student Body President named YOSH SETOGUCHI and you will recall that he later became President of WVRC! It was a lovely association perhaps we can rebuild it.
ED GAULD has sponsored SUSAN KLEIN, and he now introduced her as our newest member. Susan came to St. Albans Episcopal Church (across Hilgard from where we are meeting) on April 17th, 2005. Since then, ED noted that she has provided outstanding leadership, providing excellent sermons, extending outreach, plus overseeing the complete renovation of the interior of St. Albans. PP STEVE SCHERER commented that WVRC is committed to service, and we all welcome her aboard.
But, despair not! There WAS some Irish history provided. President SEAN spoke about the period between 1969 and 1998, which was perhaps the most violent time on the Island these were called The Troubles. While they are behind us now, we should remember that this produced the following number of deaths Protestants 1,250, Catholic 1,525, and those not from Ireland 691, for a total of 3,466, of whom 321 were female. And I now find notes relating to a Catholic Story: SEAN speaking, “On a vacation in Rome, I noticed a marble column in St. Peter’s with a golden telephone on it. I asked a passing young priest, and he told me it was a direct line to Heaven the fee was $1,000. I was amazed, but declined the offer. Thenceforth, throughout Italy I kept seeing the same golden telephone on a marble column. The price was always the same, $1,000. I stopped off enroute home in Ireland, and decided to attend Mass at a local village church. Inside, I found a golden telephone and a sign, “Direct Line To Heaven, 25 cents”. I inquired as to the reason for the far different rate, and the priest smiled, as he replied, “Ah, but you’re in Ireland now! It’s a local call”.
TOM BARRON introduced out Speaker, Kathleen Anderson, of the Catholic Education Foundation. The sole purpose of the Foundation is to help minority students with tuition. It was founded in 1987, and today, 181 out of 223 Catholic Elementary Schools receive scholarship assistance, plus 31 high schools. Their source of funds are private donations and investment income. Ms Anderson has been the Executive Director for the last five years. Before that, she was the CEO of Lockheed Martin Finance Corporation for 18 years an impressive resume, obviously.
Her opening comment was about her relief to have TOM, with his CPA background, as the Treasurer of CEF, since this was her first experience with a non-profit. She had a Power Point presentation, which is always helpful in providing facts and figures. Since its founding CEF has provided 95 million dollars for scholarship. This is a lifeline that keeps these schools open. Recent history 2007, 6 million dollars to 5,500 students, and in 2008, 7 million dollars for 6,000 students. In 2009, they will give 11.5 million dollars to 9,000 students their best year ever! And knowing they had funds available, they challenged the schools to go out and find more eligible students. Next year, they expect about an 8 million dollar program, for 7,000 students. This year they have 15,000 applications, and cannot fund them all, of course.
Ms Anderson shifted to demographics. Both public and Catholic schools anticipate continued erosion in numbers. She keeps asking how many kids, 19 and younger, are NOT in school today, but the numbers are elusive. One of the bright spots in public education are Charter Schools, which began only 15 years ago. Schools on the east coast are declining in size also. One of the problems for those Catholic schools is that there are not as many Catholics in their neighborhoods as once lived there.
She asked why parents have their kids in Catholic schools, and the answer is a surprise Safety! Their schools are fenced off, which isn’t always true of other campuses, but this does provide safety. The second most-reported reason is that the Catholic schools provide a more rigorous academic program, of course. Today, at least 30% of the students in minority areas are poor, which is defined as a family of four or more making less than $32K. But those parents, too, want their kids to be well educated. However, kids living in these congested environments simply do not have the opportunity of home assistance with their studies.
Ms Anderson provided a satirical comparison of education results. In the critical transition from 8th to 9th grade, Catholic schools achieve a 98% retention rate, while this is the largest dropout time for public schools. Particularly among the Latino community, you can get a work permit after the 8th grade and that’s what they do. Another thing of which the Catholic schools are very proud is that their graduates often come back and teach in the inner city, or work in health care, for instance. This is attributed to the strong relationship built between teachers and students, which helps to implant the idea of giving something back. The final note here is Catholic schools provide education for 1/3rd to ? the cost of public schools today. One obvious reason is Unions, which are only in public schools. Comparative costs for elementary are Catholic, $3400, Charter, $8400, and public, perhaps $12,500. The estimated cost to transfer all Catholic school students to public schools would be about 19.3 billion dollars annually. In the local LA are, the cost of transfer would be 1.2 billion dollars.
Q&A What is the difference between Catholic Schools that are called private? This applies to high schools, and those that are run by a religious order are considered to be private. Why are Catholic schools safer? Because they are self-contained, with complete fences. The big difference between visiting a Catholic school and a public school is one word Respect! It almost doesn’t exist in public schools. How many students are at Santa Monica Catholic High? About 650. Why are Catholic schools so much less expensive? Less administrative overhead, no unions, and each Principal is responsible for their own budget. How many students do you have in LA? When I started five years ago we had about 100,000. The number now is about 83,000. They are the 3rd largest school system in the state, after LA and San Diego. Thank you, Kathleen Anderson, for an excellent report.
Closing Words of Wisdom
Congress’ view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
And from that noted Irishman, P.J. O’Rourke, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”.