By Kev Kurdoghlian
San Marino Tribune
As the school year draws to a close, Rotary Club of San Marino is providing its annual $500 mini-grants to teachers in San Marino’s schools.
This year, Mini-Grant Co-Chair Calvin Lo said, each of the 25 selected teachers will receive $1,000 to put toward “innovation and creativity in the classroom.”
“With that, teachers can do more,” said Lo, who was joined by co-chair and San Marino High School Principal Mary Johnson.
Several examples of projects sponsored by Rotary’s mini-grant program were displayed during the noon lunch meeting of Rotarians at San Marino Community Church.
San Marino High School AP Calculus teacher Jamie Linton thanked Rotary for its support of the ‘Blankets for Babies’ project, which uses sewing machines purchased by funds donated by Rotary.
“At the end of my AP Calculus class, what we do instead of trying to learn more math the last two-and-a-half weeks after the AP exam is sew blankets that we donate to a hospital,” said Linton, who has sponsored this program for 7 years.
“[My students] learn how to design and fabricate baby quilts [and] each group writes a letter to either the baby or the parents who are going to be receiving the quilt,” she added, noting that the quilts are sent to the NICU at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
Linton is also the advisor to the SMHS Girls Who Code club, which is the local chapter of a national nonprofit of the same name.
SMHS students and members of the club Tiffany Ho and Tiffany Shi were on hand to demonstrate some of the hard ware that Rotary mini-grant money helped to purchase.
“The point of Girls Who Code is to take all of these projects and find real-life applications and introduce us to technology that we’re using in the future,” said Tiffany Shi. “We also really want to work to create an inclusive atmosphere for everybody—girls and boys, too—where everyone feels comfortable to code.”
Huntington Middle School World History teacher Hannah Fong said that Rotary’s support of teachers has had long-term benefits, noting that one of Rotary’s youngest members, Scott Kwong, was a former student who remembered Fong’s Rotary-supported projects.
“Rotary has been very generous to me year after year to fund my projects. I love to put art into my projects so I thank you very much for your generosity,” said Fong, noting that she used her mini-grant dollars to purchase materials for her students to build foam board shields.
Southwestern Academy Dean of Students Russ Osmonson shared a video that included several projects that have benefited from Rotary mini-grants, including an iPad to record basketball games, an art history board game, a subscription to education software for English as a Second Language students and more.
He added that many of the supported projects had a “learning by doing” philosophy, such as a rocket lab for Lauren Brunjes’s physics class.
In all, Rotary presented 25 mini-grants to teachers from all San Marino schools.
Former Mayor Eugene Sun traded in his Red Badge for a new Blue Badge, which signifies his full membership as a Rotarian. Former Mayor Dennis Kneier and Rotarian Bill Payne sponsored Sun.
Husband and wife Teddy and Nicole Basseri were inducted as members. The longtime residents of San Marino are the owners of a drycleaning service in Sherman Oaks. Former Mayor Emile Bayle was their sponsor.
On behalf of San Marino High School, SMHS Principal Mary Johnson received a $3,000 program grant to fund CPR training for San Marino High School students.
Johnson said she was thrilled about the donation and explained that the need arose when the state legislature mandated that all California high school students receive CPR training by the 2018-19 school year.
She thanked San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda, noting that the San Marino Fire Department will provide students with training.
Rotary Students of the Month
Rotarians honored San Marino High School seniors Jill Lin and Alejandra Larriva-Latt as Rotary Students of the Month for the months of March and May, respectively.
In the fall, Jill will attend the University of Southern California, where she will study International Relations.
Alejandra will attend Yale, where she will study Political Science.