Narooma Rotary Beacon 4 February 2021

Ange’s Chat

Narooma Rotary Tertiary scholars with their Club counsellors: Lynda Ord, left, Tahlia Arnold, Lynn Hastings, Elise Dixon (2021), Rory Spurgeon (2020) and Bob Aston.

What a delightful Youth Night we had last week, our first formal meeting for 2021. It was a celebration of our youth from Narooma High and their educational endeavours.

Our Tertiary Scholars were our guest speakers and included Elise Dixon (2021), Rory Spurgeon (2020), and Tahlia Arnold. We also heard from one current and one former Scholar who couldn’t make it – Cassidy Kerr (2019) and Carl McEvoy (2015) – who emailed us with an update. More details from our scholars are in the Week that Was.

I was also very impressed to hear from Narooma High Principal Fiona Jackson and the two School Captains Abbey Dawson and Patrick Sly. Fiona gave us a riveting glimpse into the challenging events of 2020 starting with bushfires and then Covid.  Both had a huge impact on the entire school community. Fiona guided students and teachers through it all with the physical, mental and emotional health and safety of them and their families paramount. With Covid came the need to provide school education online which was a mammoth task. She praised her executive, superb staff and students who worked together to adapt to this change.

Abbey and Patrick impressed us with their wonderful student initiatives such as a Diversity Program to address issues such as racism, sexuality and body image at the school. Patrick also mentioned their move to encourage more students to understand Aboriginal culture and for everyone to accept and appreciate each other’s differences. Another key focus of the leadership group is on building greater team spirit across the school.

They were all so inspiring. Makes me realise how appropriate Narooma High’s motto is – ‘Together we soar’.

THIS WEEK Thursday 4 February

This Thursday we’re at the Golfie again.

5pm: our Board will meet to discuss important proposals regarding future Club meetings and the Rotary Van. Vice President Bob Aston will chair this meeting.

6pm: Dinner meeting with guest speaker our very own PE Andrew Lawson who will talk about his life to date. Should be quite fascinating. Please let Secretary Rod know if you will be there and if you are bringing guests.

The Week that Was

Our Scholars star at Youth night

Last Thursday our annual Youth night was unlike previous years being almost completely focussed on our Tertiary Scholars. That was because none of our other Rotary youth programmes ran last year because of Covid.

Bob Aston gave us an excellent summary of the status of our Rotary Tertiary Scholarship scheme which started with a $108,000 bequest from the late Alexander Birch in 1989/1990 to help Narooma High students pursue tertiary studies. This year’s scholar is the 31st student assisted by this scholarship, assistance that has totalled $267,000 so far. Bob pointed out the scheme’s days are numbered because we are now eating well into the capital. He estimates we have enough funds for probably another four scholarships.

Our latest Tertiary Scholarship winner is Elise Dixon with her counsellor Lynn Hastings.

We met our 2021 Rotary Tertiary Scholar Elise Dixon. Elise will study for a Bachelor of Medical Science at the Australian National University (ANU). She thanked the Club for this “amazing opportunity”. Elise’s counsellor (club contact) is Lynn Hastings.

Our 2020 Scholar Rory Spurgeon also joined us. Rory is doing a Bachelor of Science Honours degree at ANU. He said the first four weeks of uni were wonderful but then the lockdown hit and he spent two months back in Narooma. Last year was all done on line, except for Chemistry practicals.  He is doing a major in Physics but is enjoying Chemistry so much he may do a Chemistry major.  His other subjects are Maths and Computer Science.  His results were again excellent.  Rory has secured a job as coordinator of his college (Fenner Hall) sports.

Our 2019 Scholar Cassidy Kerr was unable to join us but her counsellor Rod Walker read a short note from her. Cassidy is doing a double degree in Law and Psychology at the University of Wollongong.  She was very pleased with her results last semester, her best to date, achieving two Distinctions and two Credits despite the challenges of online learning. She thanked the Club for its ongoing support.

Tahlia Arnold also joined us and was introduced by her Counsellor, Lynda Ord. Tahlia was awarded a partial scholarship in 2018 and 2019 for her Bachelor of Arts studies majoring in psychology, so impressed was the scholarship panel with her attitude and commitment. She has now completed her degree.

Carl McEvoy, our 2015 Scholarship winner, had hoped to join us but couldn’t because of work commitments but sent a lovely email to President Ange who had been his counsellor. Carl completed a Bachelor of Communications (Media, Arts & Production) at UTS. Carl was employed last year on TV productions Big Brother and The Farmer wants a Wife, but Covid forced the shows to close. Through lockdown he and mates put together a film called ‘Unexpected Guests’ showing at some mini film festivals. Carl is currently employed on another reality show called ‘Australia’s Ninja Warrior’. He is also awaiting the result of an international script writing competition where he advanced to the semi-finals from a field of 2000 competitors.

More on Narooma High Principal Fiona Jackson and the Captains…

Fiona emphasised that communications was key to getting through 2020, particularly through the bushfires, with good information based on experience crucial. The school maintained close contact with bushfire affected families and organised counselling when needed. A lot of procedures Narooma High implemented under Fiona’s leadership have now been adopted by other schools.

Tertiary Scholarship winner Elsie Dixon, left, with 2021 School Captains Abbey Dawson and Patrick Sly, with Narooma High Principal Fiona Jackson.

She is proud of both staff and students for their resilience and the way they quickly adjusted to teaching under Covid restrictions. Students who had no computer at home were provided with laptops. Years 11 and 12 had four days of face-to-face teaching at a time when most other schools had much less, thanks to a tremendous effort by staff and students.

Current year 12 School Captains Abbey Dawson and Patrick Sly spoke about how the school’s leadership team has been encouraged to implement their own programmes. Abbey described the student initiated Diversity Program within the school to address major issues including racism, sexuality and body image. Patrick spoke of the need for more involvement in Aboriginal learning by getting participating groups to celebrate their history and stories. The team has also initiated a senior school uniform, while Year 12 now has their own designated area with coloured tables to brighten up the place.

(with some contributions from Mike Young)

Out and About

Narooma-Moruya Valentine’s Day Car Rally

Rally organiser David McInnes is planning a great day for us on Sunday 14 February. This will be in conjunction with Moruya Rotarians; it looks like maybe 20 might join us.

Test your wits and directional ability. Navigate the streets of Tuross Head meandering to Potato Point for a BBQ and live music. Along the way find the answers to questions that have not really been asked. Solve riddles that have no answer. Hopefully, you do not get lost!

When: Sunday 14th of February 2021. 11:45am scrutineering, 12pm start

Where: At the meeting of Trafalgar Rd & Nelson Parade Tuross Head, near the public toilets, above Tuross Boatshed and Cafe.

Rally Costs: $20 per car (minimum two people per car, maximum – the number of seat belts!)

BBQ: $10/head BYO refreshments To book: Please email numbers and dietary requirements to Also open to non-members.

News from Philippines Global Grant Project

The Rotary Clubs of Batemans Bay and Intramuros (Manila) are joint partners in a Global Grant Project in the Philippines under the WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) category of the Rotary Foundation. Narooma, along with Yass and Moruya Clubs have provided financial support. Vere Gray of Batemans Bay Club sent this update.

At long last, the project to provide a gravity-fed water supply and toilets to two villages in Barangay Inararo, four hours drive north of Manila, is finally underway.  Visits by Intramuros Rotarians to start the project were delayed because of Covid. However one member who lives in the area has been working hard with various officials to secure the necessary Certificates of Compliance to enable the project to commence, as well as securing the services of a drill team.  From the well, water will be pumped to a storage tank and then gravity fed via a pipeline through the villages.  A toilet will be provided at each outlet point (10 of them). Attached are a couple of photos of the initial visit on 26 January. This is the second Global Grant Project Batemans Bay has done with Intramuros. 

            The Bay’s first joint Project provided 52 toilets in three villages (which Vere visited with Bronwyn Geppert in February 2020 before lockdowns) has won their District 8310 ‘Champion of Champions Award’ for 2019-2020.  A video taken during their visit is on the RC Batemans Bay website.  It’s also been used in the Philippines’ Foundation Training Seminars.  Narooma and Moruya Rotary Clubs are mentioned in the video as financial supporters.

Presidents-Elect Training Seminar (PETS)

President Elect Andrew Lawson and Mike Young are off to Temora 20-21 February for PETS. This will help Andrew prepare for his year as President. It is a requirement by Rotary International and all clubs’ constitutions that Presidents Elect attend PETS.


The format for next week’s meeting will be determined by the Board this Thursday. Details at this Thursday’s meeting. Details will also be in the next newsletter and on our webpage.