Club Meeting September 12 2018 Pitsa Binnion McKinnon Secondary College


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Once again we came to our meeting in daylight. How lovely to see that the short days are getting longer. At the last moment Neville became our Chairperson inviting Karin to give us invocation and Larry to present us with the Royal Loyal Toast.
Grant took us to Morocco. Morocco is a North Western in Africa with the coast on the Atlantic Ocean that passes the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is situated across from Spain. Its borders are Algeria in the east and Western Sahara on the south. As Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, its southern border is Mauritania. Morocco surrounds three small Spanish-controlled exclaves; Ceuta, Melilla, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera. These tiny exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla sit on the northern shores of the Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. Penon de Velez de la Gomera in ancient times Badis or Bades is a Spanish rock in the west of the Mediterranean Sea connected to Morocco by a sandy isthmus. In 710 Morocco was the first Arab state in the area that is now modern Morocco. It collapsed in 739 after a number of Berber uprisings and the creation of a number of separate states. In 1549 the region fell to successive Arab dynasties until 1631 the Alaouite dynasty rose to power and have ruled ever since. The French influence increased in 1905 until1912 when it became a French protectorate except in the north and Western Sahara. France and Spain withdrew in 1955. The capital is Rabat (prior Fez in 1912). The largest city is Casablanca. Agadir is a city in mid-southern Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean near the Atlas Mountains. The Portuguese established a fort and trading post but lost it in 1541. The city was destroyed in 1731 and 1969 by earthquakes and after 1969 was rebuilt 2km south. Grant asked us to be upstanding to toast President Hassan Squalli and the members of the Rotary Club of Agadir-Vallee du Souss , Kingdom of Morocco. The club was chartered 11th April 1990 and has 16 members and is in district 9010. The club meets in the Hotel Club les Jardins d’Agadir MARMARA on Thursday 8.00pm.
Pres Ian welcomed Kevin (back from the Gold Coast and China) Tim L and Tim M. There were apologies from Charles A and Terry. He reminded us that it was holiday time again and the next two meetings would be held at Frank’s Café in Cheltenham. As the 20th is the Jewish Day of Atonement the Jewish Members have apologised for their absence. We wish them “Well Over the Fast”. He also reminded us that for those who are interested, Matt Donovan from Food For Change has invited us to visit the farm that grows food for the needy. We were reminded that the meeting with Lucinda Nolan is an evening meeting on the 17th October and we definitely need to book with Peter L. Pres, Ian explained the 3 motions being brought forward. One was the $10,000 donation to the NSW Drought Relief Appeal. As we are donating through Rotary we can be assured that donation reaches the people we need it to go to. Second motion was for the donation of $5000 to Interplast and the third goes to ROMAC. All motions were passed.
Our Guest Speaker was Pitsa Binnion. Pitsa is a most vibrant, energetic and charismatic and is the Principal of McKinnon Secondary College. She enthusiastically thanked our club for the support we have given over the years and the difference we have made for children in the shape of scholarships, lap-tops and education. She explained that McKinnon SC was her 8th school and was appointed in 1997 with her job specification being to inaugurate improving outcomes for the children attending this school. There were 123 Staff and 1100 children and now after 21 years of service there are 2200 children with 200 totally committed, hardworking staff. There are 65 different nationalities with 1out 0r 4 top of the state! Every child comes from the zone which is comparatively small. There is a strong sense of belonging, value and community in this school with great academic aspirants with 99% successfully entering university and 1% entering TAFE. Some schools are known to ask the low achievers to leave in order to maintain High marks but at McKinnon every one matters so no one is to leave. The school is “big” in music and has the biggest music school. The school is also good at sport and the arts and help children to shine. The Biannual Relay organised by the Rotaract Club raised $4,000 and the funds were for Monash Children’s Hospital and in a big way taught the children to give back to the community. The school’s moto is WISDOM AND SERVICE. The question asked was why this school is so successful. Hard work, the teachers do not take “the eye off the ball” so the children have the “ticket” for a better future and therefor creating the McKinnon magic. In the near future the aim is to build a second campus so it can be the best facility that McKinnon SC can offer. Pitsa with great enthusiasm told us that it is an exciting chapter and bit-by-bit, person-by-person it will become a tailor made program that suits education with important outcomes. She further explained that it is a complex job but has built strong relationships with parents and participation with other organisations such as Interactors. Chang is rapid and the children need to be technically savvy. In closing Pitsa said that as a born and bred local person from Greek immigrant background she feels very proud to be involved in this School environment. She thanked Rotary for the wisdom and compassion to share. We as a club were thrilled to have you come so early in tour very, very busy day. We were certainly a captive audience and would love to have you back in the near future . Thank you for sharing.
Peter G presented a cheque towards the funds raised by Interact. There were some birthdays to remember. HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY to John M, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sarah (Larry’s partner) and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Asia ( Charles R’s partner) WE all wish you a great year ahead filled with love, health and happiness. Sergeant Tim mixed football, bad jokes and other miscellaneous excuses to fetch fines from us making us laugh at the end of a happy meeting with the reminder of BE THE INSPIRATION.

After the meeting, Pres. Ian, Jo, Grant, Tim M and I met Matt Donovan at the farm of Food for Change. Report over page.

Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)

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