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Acting President's Message
It was great to have the opportunity to sit in for Peter while he and the Canterbury Team are busy in the Philippines…. Sue told us the Facebook report is that they eye tested more than 1000 people on Friday alone. No doubt there will be many more heartwarming stories about this two week mission and we wish them all good health and safe travels. We also wish the same to Gerry and Kate who will be with family in the US for the next five weeks.
Despite the absence of our Philippines team (twenty this year including the La Trobe University Orthoptics students and others), we still had more than 30 at our meeting and they saw another great night which lived up to the very high standard set by Bill Granger with Program and Peter May who is considerably more switched on and better organized than his predecessor.
Michael Chong with Marcus Godinho
Michael Chong opened proceedings with an excellent report to the Club on our comprehensive list of Community projects. Ever the master of understatement, Michael pointed out that our Club fights well above our weight with the incredible number of involvements from the very special schools, mentoring, the Salvos, Boroondara Cares, etc. The biggest challenge is often fitting other desired projects into our Budget… for example, FareShare providing 10,000 meals for the homeless and needy every week. How fortunate are we to have Michael’s leadership here and the support of his excellent Committee?
The remarkable Bill Granger then conducted his own alternative to the old fashioned Sergeants session by emptying out the table platypuses into one huge jar and took even more money from us for the privilege of guessing the total amount of coins. Russell Hoath very dodgily guessed the correct amount of $245 to the dollar and won a bottle of wine. The Club donated the proceeds to YGAP 5 Cent Campaign which was gratefully received by Anthony Edwards, a particularly impressive young man from that organization.
Our Guest Speaker was Dr. Kevin Donnelly, a very accomplished speaker and writer who taught in both the public and private school system for many years, including 18 years at Camberwell Grammar. He is also co-chair of the current Federal Government Review of the Australian Curriculum. On top of all that, he is also clearly a ripper of a bloke.
Kevin’s topic addressed a particularly important and relevant subject… depression and ways that it can be tackled. His book on this subject is entitled “Taming the Black Dog” and the time limits on his presentation only allowed him to discuss and explore some basic themes. Kevin himself has lived and experience much of what life can throw at us. He had a tough childhood from his early days in Broadmeadows but in many ways these were simpler and less complicated times as his friends included boys and girls from numerous backgrounds and in those days no one cared where you came from… you were just kids. His view is certainly that the equivalent generation today don’t have the same resilience and ability to overcome adversity. Today there are tragically more than 2,000 young people who take their lives each year, a situation worsened by the tragic impact of drugs - particularly Ice. He made some observations about the “celebrity culture” and the influence of social media, including such things as Instagrams and sexting… a far step from his childhood where the School Reader captured kids imaginations with stories like Simpson and his Donkey. The Iliad, the Odyssey and Shakespearian plays also played a part in developing imagination and dreams at that time. Then, we were all captivated by myths and legends. Young people need mentors and role models… Star Wars is a modern version of the myths and legends which have many messages on Good and Evil, Father and Son, etc. Sounds nostalgic but very thought provoking for our audience who responded strongly to Kevin’s message.
Kevin shared with us his own personal family tragedy with the loss of his son from a senseless drunk driving accident and the impact that has had on their lives…. again his message was the handling of adversity but one can only imagine the devastation that tragic event would bring about. He shared a very moving story of the way his son’s friends rallied and supported the family.
These days, Kevin lives in Surrey Hills (for thirty years) and we pointed out to him that we are in fact his local Rotary Club and sincerely hope he comes again as our guest.
Next week, our speaker will be talking about the English language and the way it is being used by the current school students she is trying to educate…. more in this Bulletin.
Hope to see you all here next Monday night…. until then, have a fantastic week.
Acting President John McCaskill