Like many organizations, the Fairfax Rotary’s day to day operations changed this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. But one of their goals did not: supporting the City of Fairfax school community. For many years, Fairfax Rotary has provided dictionaries to all third graders, constitutions for eighth grade students, sponsored a high school speech contest and provided scholarships to graduating seniors from Fairfax High School. Each year, the Rotary honors two teachers as their Teacher of the Year – one for elementary and one for secondary teachers – with a certificate and a $1000 prize for each. Every June, the Rotary Educational Foundation provides Fairfax High School graduating seniors with scholarships in various categories, this year alone they will provide over $20,000 in scholarships.
But with COVID-19, the Rotary knew they had to do more.
“We understood there was an immediate and ongoing need to help students and their families who were going hungry due to the school closures and economic insecurity,” said Fairfax Rotary President Barry Gordon. “With the Setty Family Foundation, the Fairfax Rotary Educational Foundation has donated almost $9000 to A Place to Eat, a local non-profit supplementing food to City of Fairfax School families.”
A Place to Eat, a division of A Place to Stand, has organized monthly deliveries for students and their families from the City Schools. The deliveries include shelf stable food donated from the community. With the Rotary’s donation, A Place to Eat will be able to cover and entire monthly delivery for all of the 260 families and 460 children.
The Fairfax Rotary did not stop there.
In the fall of 2020, the Rotarians launched “Student of the Quarter” where they recognize a Fairfax High School student for their outstanding work throughout the community helping others. In October, the Rotary welcomed City of Fairfax student representatives Aashray Manchanda and Darwin Otchere to their weekly meeting. Aashray, the student representative to the City School Board, discussed his non-profit he started using his 3D printer to create face shields for first responders. Darwin, the FHS student representative to the Superintendent Advisory Team, talked about his 300+ service hours tutoring students in his community. The students were presented with a certificate and answered questions from Rotary members about college plan and their current course load.
The Student of the Quarter project exemplifies the mission of the Rotary says Barry Gordon, “These students are the hidden gems of the community.”
City of Fairfax Schools Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Pajardo, herself a Fairfax Rotary member, welcomes the partnership and support. “To have successful schools, you need strong support from the community. The Fairfax Rotary has been one of our school district’s most consistent and most ardent supporters. I am grateful for their dedication and focus to help our city school families.”