Minutes of the Rotary Meeting
August 27, 2015
By Christopher Jones
The meeting was called to order by Robby McClure. Christopher Jones gave the invocation. Tommy Blankenship led in song with Bill Oppenheimer providing piano accompaniment. Tom Martenstein introduced guests and visitors.
Robby McClure made several announcements and recognized those Rotarians who achieved 100% attendance over the last year – and many over several years. Most notably, the following were recognized with more than 25 years: Robby McClure (26), Beth Stafford (27), Tommy Blankenship (30), and John Moses (32).
Introduced by John Dukes, Will Edmonds spoke to the club as a former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and as a French teacher at Davidson High School. Will actually first spoke to the Rotary Club over 20 years ago when he was a sophomore at the University of Mobile. He was only 21 years old and was eager to study abroad. He was directed to apply for the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship which would support 6 months of study in Belgium. He as not awarded the scholarship on his first attempt, but he learned much about himself through the application process and the rigorous interviews. He tried again and was selected as a scholar. While in Belgium, he spoke (in French, of course) to several Rotary Clubs and furthered his education and his mastery of the language.
After his time abroad, Will returned to Mobile and began working at a bank in downtown Mobile in the international department. His short tenure in the financial industry was a good learning experience, but he was soon drawn to a teaching career within the Mobile County Public School System. Following his passion for French and sharing it with others, he began teaching all levels of French to high school students. He credits Rotary for providing critical training for his job as a French teacher. He is passionate about sharing his travel experiences and sparking enthusiasm and interests among his students.
After 13 years of teaching, Will needed another spark himself. He applied for a grant through the University of Alabama Huntsville to study the resettling of Acadians from Nova Scotia to St Martinville, LA in 1755. This resettlement is the subject of Longfellow’s poem Evangeline. The project was invigorating and deepened his passion for culture and language. He continues to teach all levels of French at Davidson High School, including a course entitled “French For Travelers” that provides a hook for students new to the language. Again, Will credited his early Rotary experiences for instilling in him an international perspective that he shares with his students.
In closing, Will thanked all Rotarians for creating opportunities to build character, career and community in his life. After his presentation, Will Edmonds answered several questions from across the room. In honor of his speaking, a donation was made to a local charity.
Robby McClure adjourned the meeting.
Minutes of the Rotary Meeting