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GRSP Update
Enjoying our Class of 2017/18 ... and Making a Difference in the Future

GRSP Trustee John Quinn shown here with Griffin Rotary President Tom Gardner

GRSP Trustee John Quinn shown here with Griffin Rotary President Tom Gardner


Students have all finally gotten settled in to their dorms and it is not too early to start planning for the holidays. We have had several reports that students may want to go back home for the holidays, but we always encourage them to do a little traveling here in the US and to enjoy the hospitality of their clubs and host families to exchange customs around the holidays. Please encourage your student to stay, as many never return for various reasons, and then you may miss a valuable experience with your student.

Remember that the GRSP student handbook says “Your host will define your GRSP responsibilities based on the Club’s expectation of you that are in addition to other items detail in this section of the Handbook”. Do not abuse your student with unrealistic expectations, but do encourage them to take advantage of their year with you and learn what it is like to be American and a Rotarian. Then, turn right around and learn what it is like to be German, Scottish, French, Lebanese or any of the countries that we are sponsoring students from this year. Get your expectations on their calendar early, so there is no misunderstanding.

Savannah Student Weekend

Our students have been invited to District 6920 the weekend of October 13-15 at the 11th Annual Hue Thomas Jr. Weekend in Savannah. It looks like Savannah missed the wrath of Hurricane Irma and will once again be hosting a weekend, barring anything between now and then.As Irma swept through Georgia, we were worried about how the students who were evacuated from South Georgia were going to get back home, but the foresight of the Lake Spivey/Clayton County, Griffin and Henry County allowed these students to spend an extra couple of days “up North” until things calmed down in South Georgia. Thank you, Rotarians, for stepping up to the plate. In Savannah, the students will participate in a Ghost Tour, visit the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum to interactively experience World War II from both the European and American perspectives, then tour the Tybee Island Lighthouse, get a little beach time and experience a Low Country Boil. District 6910 has been kindly supplying a bus for the last several years, which has made it easier for us in the Northern part of the state to get our students to certain weekends.

Endowment

With the evacuation of our Savannah Office a couple of weeks ago, Clubs who participated in the $50 per capita giving campaign last year may not receive a check until November. The Savannah Office is working on that now and we hope to have those out before the end of the month. For two years now, the Endowment has been able to subsidize each student with $5,250 and the executive committee will be meeting early in November to discuss how much can be given from the endowment for next year. This requires some educated guesswork from the committee on what the earnings will be from the Endowment for 2018-2019 AND what the increase in costs for the universities will be. Early information is that the committee may have under-estimated university costs, so it will be interesting to see what effect that will have on the endowment subsidy. We may or may not be able to report on that for the November issue, depending on the deadline.

From An Alumni – Jad Ibrahim Tabet – Georgia State University

My year as a GRSP student has been an amazing eye-opener. I come from a small Christian country in the Middle East called Lebanon, and though we have a lot of Western influence, we are more similar to Honduras than we are to the US. Having the opportunity to spend a year with Rotary and with the Roswell Rotary Club has really been a blessing that has impacted who I am as a human being in so many ways.

I have been blessed with an awesome host family who have devoted their year to making my GRSP year unforgettable. The Carlisle's have blessed me with a home away from home and because of that my stay here has been very easy. They always have activities planned for us to do, and there's never a dull moment living with them! If we're not visiting different parts of Georgia, we're most likely jamming out in their studio. I am glad to have had the opportunity to be included in their family.

So far in my year, I've been all over the US. My host brother was good enough to take me on a trip across the US, starting from Atlanta, Georgia, heading all the way out to L.A. and then back. Those were an amazing 14 days! I've had the pleasure of attending an Alabama State football game with a fellow Lebanese GRSP student, so I got to drive down to Tuscaloosa and enjoy the Alabama experience. I've had the opportunity to perform at several Rotary events and to visit many music shops, best of which has been Righteous Guitars in Roswell. I have also had the opportunity to tour the capital in Atlanta with a Mr. Roger Wise, a member of my sponsoring Rotary club.

My year with the GRSP program has changed my life. It has influenced how I see the world and how I see other people. I have gained the ability to be more patient, to view issues with an open mind, to consider both sides of the story before taking my decision, and to ask, listen, and speak properly. Most importantly, however, I have learned the beauty of Southern cuisine, from sweet tea to grits to hash browns. I have officially been spoiled beyond repair... Sorry, Mom!

To end on a serious note; this program has truly been a blessing for me and my family. The opportunity to study abroad does not often come to a Lebanese kid, but having had this experience, I can go back home and influence my circles and the circles of my peers, I can help rebuild my country, and as a future teacher, I can teach my students the way to test the things they say, think, and do by considering that:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

And from the Rotary Club of Griffin ...

The Rotary Club of Griffin has proudly supported the Georgia Rotary Student Program and has hosted at least one student every year since 1949.Longtime GRSP Trustee, Jake Cheatham, was a member of the Rotary Club of Griffin and now has a giving designation in his memory. The club is proud to have 36 Will Watt Sustainers, 54 Will Watt Fellows, 11 Hue Thomas Fellows and 1 Kendall Weisiger Fellow. Griffin Rotarian John Quinn currently serves as a GRSP Trustee.

Posted by Lynn Clarke
October 3, 2017

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