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Rotary Happenings: Rotary hears from award winners

By Staff | Jun 10, 2015

Rotary has in its portfolio of programs designed especially for youth, programs that encourage Literacy, Learning and Leadership.

At our Rotary Club, end of May assembly meeting, the club heard from two outstanding young people who had recently participated in this type of programming sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.

First placed winner of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary 4-Way Test Essay Contest from the Sanibel School’s eighth-grade, Carson Towle attending with his father, Doug Towle; Sanibel School Assistant Principle, Nancy McDole and Language Arts Teacher, Brittney Camp took to the podium to read his essay.

The Four-Way Test is read at every Rotary meeting across the globe to reinforce the strength of such a powerful ethical guide for all of us:

Rotary’s Four-Way Test: 1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?



Middle School students at the Sanibel School were invited to participate in this essay contest by writing about a particular problem or conflict faced by teenagers, perhaps a dilemma they’ve faced personally, or an issue facing our nation or world and relate it to Rotary’s Four-Way Test.

Carson made the decision after some thought that, “What better answers all 4 of the questions of the 4-Way Test than where I am today, a country that has been built on these ideas and principles”.

Although we will not publish Carson’s entire essay here, this is an excerpt from the essay, “The US is fair to all its citizens and gives them rights that are believed everyone should possess. Also, the US builds good will by helping people in need and builds better friendships by supporting other countries around the world.

“Finally, the US is beneficial to all concerned because it helps out other countries and its citizens”.

Next to the podium was Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club Student Exchange Student from Germany, Abigail Kinzel, who arrived in the states last August and has spent five-months completing her 2014/2015 academic year at South Fort Myers High School.

Abbey wanted first to thank her host families – The Bellinos and Bill and Stephanie Rahe, along, with all of the Rotarians that have taken her on many adventures while here.

As Abbey told it, after her 11-hour trip from Germany and meeting her first host family, reality sunk in and she was a little home sick.

At first, she was quiet and a bit apprehensive about her English, but that didn’t last long.

It didn’t take her long to relax enough to enjoy the experience and after joining the volleyball team at school the ice was broken.

After her experience with the volleyball team, Abbey took a risk and joined the tennis team.

She had never played tennis before but that didn’t stop her. She had opened up considerably since arriving in the states and has made some great friends through sports.

Abbey didn’t have much trouble with her academics at school, in fact she was accepted into the National Honor Society while here but did own up to the fact, that her grades went down a little one semester because she was having a little too much fun.

Along with sports, she enjoyed many other school activities … football games, the homecoming dance, sports and proms or just hanging out with friends.

Abbey also had the chance to participate in the District Student Exchange Program get-togethers, which are designed for exchange students.

This is a time where they can talk together about their experiences with host families and school, along with meeting and enjoying each other.

District exchange students also took a trip to Disney World – where they got to mingle with and learn about fellow exchange students studying all over Florida and a few joining southern state students -about a 100 in total, a NFL Dolphins/Ravens football game, participating in the Key West/Sea Camp and attending the Rotary District 6960 Governor’s conference at South Seas.

Club Rotarians kept her pretty active while she was here taking her with family to Universal, to the beach, boating and fishing, introducing her to paddle boarding and oysters for the first time and, of course, just having fun on the beach with her best friend for Germany that was visiting Sarasota.

Abbey prepared a slide presentation of pictures for us and told us this experience has developed her self-confidence, stimulated an appreciation of the world, and has shown her what the future could hold which definitely will include travel.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7:00 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed.