GRSP Update

Lucilla is from Brazil - above welcomed by her East Cobb hosts; below, waiting to meet Congressman Barry Loudermilk with her Vinings host

Lucilla is from Brazil - above welcomed by her East Cobb hosts; below, waiting to meet Congressman Barry Loudermilk with her Vinings host


This year the Annual GRSP Conclave was hosted by our District’s Rotary Club of Bainbridge. Every third year our District hosts the Conclave - a weekend dedicated to discussing Rotary and what is required of the students who were selected for this cultural scholarship. The students arrive each year filled with anticipation about who they will meet. The Bainbridge Club did an outstanding job of hosting these students, as well as the Officers, Directors, Trustees and Host Families from around the state. The venue was perfect and the food was delicious. We also enjoyed the annual cabaret that the students put together after only 2-3 hours of practice. We heard songs, watched and participated in dancing and watched skits. We were all thoroughly entertained and look forward to a year of talent. We have heard from the students over the last several years that they did not have enough free time to bond with each other. GRSP heard them and the Bainbridge Club arranged for a Sunday morning game of frisbee golf. As we left the weekend a little later than usual on Sunday morning, many of us drove home in silence as our students slept most of the way home—a far cry from the excited chatter we heard driving down.

Due to the generosity of Dale Covington from the Marietta Rotary Club, we were able to give out solar sunglasses to each student. They were thrilled beyond measure and modeled them for the camera. Thank you, Dale, for this very kind gesture for the students!!


This weekend was named after a very important person to the Georgia Rotary Student Program. Maynard Knestrick was a member of the original Clayton County Rotary Club for many years and was passionate about this program unique to Georgia Rotarians. Several years ago, the sponsors of the weekend decided to name it in his honor and it carries his name to this day. Once again the Rotary Clubs of Lake Spivey/Clayton, Griffin and Henry County will be hosting the student weekend of September 8-10. This weekend will be dedicated to bonding the students as opposed to teaching the students. They will have quite a bit of free time with very little organized activities.


This year we have yet another district governor who is supportive of GRSP. DG Alec has not only allowed, but encouraged, trustees to come with him to his club visits and board of directors visits along with your AG. Please welcome your trustee and set aside a time for a program about the Georgia Rotary Student Program, whether or not your club hosts a student. Again, this program is unique to Georgia and has been in existence for 70 years. The Georgia Rotary Student Program has commissioned a very good short video about the program, which your trustee would be happy to show your club.


The GRSP Office is busy calculating the checks that will be sent out in response to those clubs that donated at least $50 per capita last year. Your trustee should be delivering those by the middle of October. The check will be written out to the Club and the Club may use this money to help subsidize the student or for another service project. This is GRSP's effort to give back all of the income from the GRSP Endowment each year. While your trustee is visiting your club, ask about matching funds that may get you to your next level of giving.


Mhairi Dunnett, a 2016-17 student from Edinburgh, Scotland attending Kennesaw State University writes: "When I found out I had been accepted into the GRSP programme, I did not even think about the fact that I would be moving 4000 miles away from home at age 18. I was so excited to accept and start this amazing new chapter of my life and meet everyone. I knew my GRSP experience was not going to be the same as the other GRSP students, due to the fact that I was already good friends with five of the other Scots coming into this. I was a little disappointed to hear that I was placed with two other Scots (whom I did not know prior to this) and a Swedish girl, as I would only get to learn about one new culture instead of three, but as soon as we all met I knew that this year was going to be one of the best I will ever have.

Like many other students, the best thing for me about this program has been the people I have met and shared this incredible journey with. I could not imagine going to school with anyone else or anywhere else. The other GRSP girls and I at Kennesaw have become very close and surprisingly were not sick of each other yet. I am so fortunate that I get on well with my roommates because they have also quickly become integrated into my social circle. A great thing about Kennesaw is that there is a very active International Student Association which means that there are always opportunities for you to meet people and to learn about another culture, as well as a room in the Student Centre where you can hang out with other International students and make new friends. I will sorely miss the friends I have made here at school, the Americans and the Internationals at school, but that just means that I will have to travel to one of the many countries they are from to go see them - which is ok by me!

None of this experience would be the same without my three Host Families: Vince and Cynthia; Bev and Pat; Ryan and Teresa, and every Rotarian in my Sponsoring Clubs of Vinings Cumberland, Marietta Metro and Paulding. I would like to thank everyone for making this year special and trying their hardest to help me accommodate into Georgian life, including allowing me to experience traditional American holidays like Thanksgiving and spending Christmas Day at the beach in St Augustine. I will never forget my first week, before school started, where Cynthia made me eat anything and everything in sight - from Southern staples like grits (my first food in the US) and fried okra to regular foods like lobster and peanut butter which I had never tried. I can now happily say I am a regular at Chick Fil-A and it will definitely be one of the things I miss most about Georgia.

Coming from the UK and having family live here in the United States, I had a good expectation of what American life was like. However, I was greatly mistaken at how different the North was from the South. I was quickly thrown into the world of Rotary, something I had not much experience with before. I was nicely surprised to learn about all the great organisations and programs, both in the world and in the local communities, which Rotary proudly supports. I am very happy to be a part of such an incredible organisation and the Rotary motto 'Service above self really is a helpful reminder of just how much we can influence the people we meet, big or small, and that is definitely something that I can say everyone I have met this year has done. Thank you."

Posted by Lynn Clarke
September 5, 2017


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