The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD. President Roger Kozak opened the meeting. Fr. David Hussey provided the invocation. The guests introduced were three high school students who told us a little about their involvement in school and about their plans for the future.
Rotarian Barry Vickrey introduced Professor X. T. Wang as the speaker for the day. Professor Wang is a full professor in the Psychology Department at USD. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and his M.A. in Physical Psychology from New Mexico State University as well as an M.S. from Jinan University Medical School in Guanzhou, China. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Peking University and a Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.
Dr. Wang is also the founder of the Village Star Program, which is supported, in part, by the Vermillion Rotary Club. The purpose of the Village Star Program is to help an elementary and a middle school in rural China. The program originated when Dr. Wang was conducting a cross-cultural study of students in rural China and students in the U.S.
The local elementary school building was not safe anymore and local officials were thinking of closing the school. This would have meant that the students would have had to travel many miles to the nearest school, which was impractical.
Dr. Wang gathered funds from friends and acquaintances to help the school continue. These funds, as well as some assistance from our Rotary Club helped persuade local officials to continue the school. The two schools serve 10 villages with 150 students in five grades. The government does not pay local teachers. They receive salaries when and if the local communities can afford to do so.
The area suffers from underdevelopment because it is isolated geographically and because of prolonged drought.
Dr. Wang started the Village Star Program in 2004 when he visited the area and set up accounts to support the program. The small amount of money by our standards subsidizes the schools. It also provides cash awards for two top students from each school.
It helps to provide incentives for the students to study hard and continue with their education. The teachers are also given a small honorarium. Most of the students stay in the area but a few go on to high school and college.
Dr. Wang then answered questions from the audience.
4-H' to host craft day
The Jolly Junior and Juniorettes 4-H club met Mon. Jan. 8, at the Extension office. The planned tour of the Austin-Whitemore House was postponed. Vice President Marley Hanson called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Roll call topic was what our club can do to promote 4-H. Secretary's and treasurer's reports were read and old business was discussed.
Then we talked about new business. Our club is hosting a project day, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.We will be doing two ceramic craft items and are inviting other 4-H'ers to participate. Interested people can join us at the Extension office.
The next meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 12 at the Town Square Apartments at 7 p.m. We will have a talent show for the residents and craft valentines for them. Members should also bring three yards of ribbon to decorate the teacher appreciation bouquets to be handed out in May. The business meeting was adjourned.
Sarah Rosacker did a demonstration on how to make bread using a bread machine. Ashley Sorensen demonstrated how to make origami ornaments for a Christmas tree using old Christmas cards. Sarah Rosacker also did a judging school on altering a recipe to make it more nutritious.
We took pictures of us holding items we had brought for the Senior Citizens Center Friday door prizes. Sarah and Kris Rosacker brought Kudos bars and pop for our snacks.
Nesselhuf speaks at business meeting
Catholic Daughters of the Americas met Jan. 20 at St. Agnes School auditorium for a potluck dinner and business meeting.
�Hats off to Catholic Education� set the stage to honor Catholic Education Week. Members wore hats and told why the hat they wore was an important part of their lives.
Dottie Kerkman was taken in as a new member of the court.
Contest entries for the education contest are due Feb. 15.
The annual Mardi Gras dance will be held at St. Agnes School Auditorium on Feb. 17. The public is invited to attend.
State Sen. Ben Nesselhuf was the featured speaker informing members of issues discussed at the legislative session in Pierre at the state Capitol.
The next meeting will be held Feb. 27 at the St. Agnes School. Members are encouraged to bring items for the abused.