VOL 19, NO 42
, MAY 1, 2007

Friday Program: The Immortality of Influence — Salome Thomas-EL
 | Preliminaries | Off-Site Meeting! | Student of the Month: Jesse Franklin | Presidential Membership Conference | Last Minute Rotary Walks! Talk | GSE Team Travel Log From Sayoko | Charity Golf Classic on the Horizon | Web Fun

Click here for photos from the meeting.

Friday Program
The Immortality of Influence — Salome Thomas-EL

Reveille ImageRourke O’Brien introduced our speaker today, Salome Thomas-EL (STEL). Some of you may remember that STEL was extremely well received by the BBRC when he spoke to us in 2004. STEL is a Principal in Philadelphia, guest speaker around the country, author, husband, and father of two little girls. He has now written his second book, "The Immortality of Influence," and shared some of his thoughts with us.

For STEL, the influence his mother had started early continues today. She always encouraged him to leave the earth a better place than he found it. “The way we can achieve immortality is through our influence here on earth.”

STEL complimented our student of the month, Jesse Franklin, on his plan and his commitment to serving people. He may not know what he is going to do specifically, but he has a plan. “I tell my students all the time, 'A vision without a plan is a hallucination.'" It takes lots of study, hard work, and commitment to make your vision a reality.



Reveille ImageBob Bowen offered the invocation and pledge. Bob attended the District conference last weekend and had the privilege of sitting next to David Stern, a long-time member of the Edmonds Rotary Club, former Edmonds Police Chief and incoming Club President. David passed away suddenly on Tuesday from a brain aneurysm. Bob requested a moment of silence for this outstanding individual and fellow Rotarian.

Morris Kremen introduced visiting Rotarians and guests. We had two visiting Rotarians and three guests. Morris completed his job perfectly by saying, “You are all always welcome at the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club!”

Jim recapped the GSE team from Japan. He and his wife, Sandy, hosted Imoto and had a great experience. When he left, Imoto said, “Oh, Jim-san, Bellevue Breakfast, best club, best club.” The Japanese GSE team returned to Japan on Wednesday and our GSE Team, led by our very own Sayoko Kuwahara, left Wednesday as well. Sayoko and her team arrived safely and are already enjoying their trip!

Back to Top

Student of the Month: Jesse Franklin

Reveille ImageBob Holert introduced (with some difficulty) Student of the Month Jesse Franklin. Jesse's parents Seth and Kathy Franklin were also in attendance. Jesse is a senior from Sammamish high school, who has a 3.96 GPA and is a successful athlete. Jesse has always been committed to helping others. He helped organized a walk-a-thon to raise money to support one of the teachers at SHS whose son was recently diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He is also a camp counselor and has helped with youth sports teams.

Jesse will be attending Claremont-McKenna this fall, where he will play football and major in economics and business. While he doesn’t know exactly what he is going to do after college, he does know it will have something to do with helping people. Congratulations, Jesse, for being our Rotary Student of the Month!

Back to Top

Last Minute Rotary Walks! Talk

Reveille ImageJenny Andrews thanked her committee chairs for all of their hard work in getting the walk-a-thon going. She reminded us that we all made a commitment to the walk-a-thon by either getting walkers or writing a check. When we had the raffle, we had an $800 commitment per person. This year, the contribution was lowered to $500 per person. Please bring your check if you have not gathered enough walkers.

Surprisingly (or maybe it was planned), a large number of people came racing to the front of the room waving checks.

Andrew face pointed out that Jenny forgot to recognize Tim Moriarty as a committee chair. Andrew knows all too well that Tim was a committee chair, he missed one meeting and found himself assigned to Porta-Potties.

John Martinka then played To Tell The Truth with some “Jenny-isms” from the Turkey trip. John asked us which one was not true. Here they are:

Having just returned from the ladies room she exclaimed, “I am a prisoner of my pants!”

When asked how to find John and the others she said, “Tell them we are on the street with all the people.”

After being told tulips originally came from Turkey, she said, “Shouldn’t they be having the tulip festival in Holland?”

Yelling down the hall, “We are locked out of our room.”

As it turns out, all of the quotes are true. It was a scam for Andrew to increase his collections this year, since he is behind in his “fundraising” goal.

• • •

The first Rotary Walks! is now history. Click on the links below to view a short video by Ernie Hayden and a slideshow of the event.

Rotary Walks Video Rotary Walks Slideshow

Back to Top

GSE Team Travel Log From Sayoko

Reveille Image04.26.07 - GSE Team Arrives in Japan
At 11:30am on Wednesday the 24th, all the GSE team members showed up at SeaTac airport ... n ine hours and forty-five minutes later, we safely arrived in Narita airport. We were greeted by the Japanese GSE committee members.

We waited for the Japanese GSE team to arrive, but it was not long before we received a phone call from Emoto-san. Their flight had mechanical trouble 4 hours after taking off and it turned around over the Pacific Ocean to land in Anchorage. They are hoping to return to Japan tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, but no assurance at this point.

The Saitama 2770 District GSE committee members were at the airport to welcome us. They are so energetic, friendly and fun! They said affectionately, “Emoto is too serious. We are not like him at all. So, please relax.” They took us to Narita Shrine to pray for our safety while our stay in Japan.

They promptly began a party on a chartered bus. It was not even 2 hours after we arrived in Japan that we all began drinking sake.
Our first three days are packed with actions, as we are jumping into the District Conference.

Reveille Image04.27.07 - First Official Day in Saitama
If you have any preconceived notion of what Japanese Rotarians are like, SHRED it to pieces and THROW IT AWAY Immediately!

We attended the Welcoming Party where District officials, Club Presidents, and host families attended for us. The GSE Committee members who picked us up at the airport continued to be extremely helpful and supportive of us. They made all of us feel very comfortable.

We made our first official presentation to 80+ people. Everything went well technically. We delivered our presentation completely in Japanese. We all felt that all the practice we had done paid off. We re comments on our presentation like: “I have been involved in GSE forever, but have never seen any GSE presentation like yours before. It is fabulous!” and “Your team can articulate what GSE is about in your presentation better than anything I have read about the GSE program,” and “Let’s change our district conference agenda and have all the exchange and scholarship students here this presentation.”

Needless to say, I was very pleased, but more importantly, I was extremely happy for my team members, as they went through A LOT to construct our presentations. We practiced and practiced and practiced. Remember, not all of them speak Japanese fluently. ALL OF OUR HARD WORK PAID OFF TODAY. The team did a fabulous job!

Reveille Image04.28.07 - District Conference, Day 1
Today was the first day of the D2770 District Conference. When we saw the auditorium where we were going to make our presentation, we were taken aback by its size. They assured us that it was the SMALL one of the two auditoriums. It did not help us that much.

Apparently, the Rotary Foundation Chair, Kawamoto-san, who had seen our presentation, made a lot of calls to Rotarians last night to tell them to attend the GSE segment of the District Conference. The auditorium was packed to maximum with people standing against the wall all the way around the room.

Both Japan Team and U.S. teams lined up on stage. We looked sharp although our hearts were pounding. Nao-chan reported his team’s experiences in the U.S. Then came our turn. Onto the huge screen our presentation was projected and we related our personal stories.

Thanks to the skilled technical staff, everything went smoothly. We walked off the stage with sense of pride, accomplishment and relief. Team members said that they were very pleased that our presentation carried an important message which is in line with Rotary and GSE mission.

We received more positive comments about our presentation and the way we carried ourselves. At the official dinner with the RI president’s agent, many club presidents came to our table and gave us feedback, saying our presentation was “impressive,” “dignified,” and “meaningful.”

Reveille Image04.29.07 - District Conference, Day 2
Today, we participated in a discussion with Rotary youth, including scholarship students, ambassadorial students, and exchange students. District 2770 puts tremendous emphasis on international education of youth. We met a lot of students from foreign countries. Most of them are staying in Japan for a year. We also met young Japanese people who would soon go to various countries.

The D5030 GSE team leader was given 5 minutes to make a speech to these young people and team members shared their views of Japan. The immediate Past Gov. Kita came to the auditorium where our discussion was going on made the following statement.

“In our district, we stress the importance of educating the future generation. The large number of students we receive from other countries and Japanese students we send to the world says a lot about our dedication. After we heard the GSE’s presentation which focused on individual social responsibility, we felt validated, but at the same time, we felt the time we devoted to the International Exchange during the District Conference was not enough. Besides, we said to each other that the youth/GSE discussion and presentations should be done in the main hall. We have made a decision to change the format for the next District Conference to include the larger segment of the International Exchange.”

The 5030 GSE team has been given more opportunities to appear on stage in front of people than the conference schedule initially indicated. The team leader has been asked to give quite a few speeches. We met a huge number of Rotarians in just 2 days. We are very relieved that the District Conference is over. Tomorrow is a free day and we spend our time with individual host family.

05.01.07 - Free Day
Reveille ImageToday, we went to Nikko, a beautiful place of historical importance, with representatives from Groups 7 and 8 of District 2770. Unfortunately, it was drizzly and cold — but it reminded us of Seattle.

Rotarians here are so kind and particularly concerned with our health condition. One’s health barometer by their definition is how well we are eating. We are fed unbelievably well. Lindsey said, “I am eating my way through Japan.” Sayoko has never eaten so many meals a day in recent years. Kelly and Lindsey are very adventurous. They are trying everything and loving most everything. Alice, Michele and Sayoko appear to have something to eat in their hands all times.

It may sound that we are just eating all times. But we do remember that we are a GSE team and our purpose is vocational experience.

Back to Top

Friday Program
The Immortality of Influence — Salome Thomas-EL

Rourke O’Brien introduced our speaker today, Salome Thomas-EL (STEL). Some of you may remember that STEL was extremely well received by the BBRC when he spoke to us in 2004. STEL is a Principal in Philadelphia, guest speaker around the country, author, husband, and father of two little girls. He has now written his second book, "The Immortality of Influence," and shared some of his thoughts with us.

For STEL, the influence his mother had started early continues today. She always encouraged him to leave the earth a better place than he found it. “The way we can achieve immortality is through our influence here on earth.”

STEL complimented our student of the month, Jesse Franklin, on his plan and his commitment to serving people. He may not know what he is going to do specifically, but he has a plan. “I tell my students all the time, 'A vision without a plan is a hallucination.'" It takes lots of study, hard work, and commitment to make your vision a reality.

In dealing with young men and women, STEL has found that with high school kids, the way to get to the boys is through the girls. Boys don’t care what STEL has to say, but they hang on every word the girls say. He uses the girls as a secret weapon to get the boys to achieve. When asked for their phone number, STEL tells young women to say, “I will give you my phone number, but first, I need you to solve a quadratic equation.” Next thing he knows, that young man is in his math tutoring sessions asking to learn quadratic equations. Remember, “If he is not on his way, he is in your way!”

Growing up in inner-city Philadelphia, STEL was supported by his mother, teachers, and community — then did what everyone else did and left. He took a job in television production working with big sports stars. He went back to school for a Career Day event and realized he had walked out on some of the people who had influenced him the most, his teachers. He quit his job in TV, went back to school and earned a degree in education. Then he did what most people wouldn’t have done: he returned to the same neighborhood where he grew up and went to work as a teacher.

In his first year as a teacher, his school lost 20 students to murder. Unthinkable for most of us, but a reality of many of the nation’s urban districts. STEL had to find a way to get these kids engaged and using their brain to think and make decisions. To make a long story short (the long story is in his first book, "I Choose to Stay"), STEL got the kids playing chess (ask or for more information on the powerful benefits of chess). His kids became National Champions! But it wasn’t just about winning titles, it was about the thinking they were doing and the experiences they were having.

One of those experiences was having Arnold Schwartzenegger visit the school. He offered to play one of the kids. I warned him, “Arnold, do not challenge the girls, they treat the chess pieces like offspring, they will not give them up.” He didn’t take the advice and played Denise, one of the top 50 female chess players in the nation. Denise won and Arnold exclaimed, “You terminated The Terminator.” The experience certainly left a lasting impression on the students, and so did the $25,000 that Arnold donated to the chess program! They couldn’t believe that someone from outside their area, who didn’t know them, would donate money to them!

STEL developed a friendship with a school in Vermont. One of the goals was to show the students they are more alike then different. After getting to know each other through letters, STEL and kids traveled to Vermont to visit. Vermont was significant in that it was the first state to abolish slavery. The children had an opportunity to see the house where Harriet Tubman lived, and they read letters demanding slaves be returned and letters saying no. They also found their new friends liked similar music, had issues with their parents and faced the same teen challenges. It was an incredible experience for everyone.

“We need to teach our young people that we must seek to understand before we are understood.”

The life of an urban educator is a tough one. We don’t hear all the stories about the kids who have incarcerated parents, whose siblings are killed in gang violence, or whose mothers are raising eight kids single-handedly.

“My goal is to keep these kids from getting checkmated in life.” There was a student in elementary school whom most teachers had written off, but STEL got to him and taught him chess. His name was Willow, and chess turned his life around. Willow started making good decisions, participating in school, getting good grades, and he loved chess! Unfortunately, when he went on to high school, there was no chess club so Willow didn’t have chess anymore. He started making bad decisions. Friends came to tell STEL what was happening. “Willow was killed on the street, and it haunts me every day.”

We influence each other in a very powerful way. Kids like Jesse (our student of the month) don’t turn out the way they do without positive influence. As adults, we sometimes forget the power of our influence, and who we influence. It’s not just our kids, but our family, the people we work with, the people we interact with every day and those that we will never meet. Rotarians are known for helping people around the world that we will never meet.

Will Smith is reading the script for the movie based on STEL’s first book, "I Choose to Stay." Will invited STEL and his family (he’s not sure how his mother-in-law fit into one of the suitcases) down to visit. They had a wonderful time. The script is still being worked on, but hopefully it will become a reality. STEL gave the BBRC a special invitation to attend the red carpet event in Seattle because of our “powerful influence.” Don’t ever underestimate the influence you have on others.


What were the circumstances around the death of the students?
Some were random victims, some made bad decisions. Many didn’t have the proper training when they were younger. Chess teaches them critical thinking skills. They need these skills! It helps children change their self-concept.

What do you think about standardized testing?
Assessment is important, but these tests are just a snapshot of their abilities. We need to invest in our schools to properly educate our children.

On our trip to Turkey, all the kids had uniforms. What do you think about uniforms?
The kids don’t usually complain; it is the parents who complain. They can’t use clothing as a reward or incentive. It gives students a sense of pride, and it helps the school keep track of the kids as well. If one of them is lost at the zoo, it’s easy to answer the question, “What was he wearing?”

Back to Top

Web Fun

The Price of Gas
Courtesy of Chuck Barnes

These examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap; it just illustrates how outrageous some other prices are.

Compared with gasoline ...

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ... $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ... $9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 ... $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 ... $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 ... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ... $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ... $25.42 per gallon

Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 ... $84.48 per gallon

Evian water 9 oz $1.49 ... $21.19 per gallon!

$21.19 for WATER!

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Scope, Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil or WATER!

Back to Top


"Russia in Transition — A Rotary Perspective," Bill Robinson, Law Offices, William T. Robinson LLC. Bill Robinson is a Seattle #4 Rotarian with the classification Law Practice-Russian, specializing in international business law, and trade and investment in Russia. He has lived in Japan and Russia, and since 1990, has worked with over 150 clients and projects in eight republics of the former Soviet Union and many regions of Russia. His firm advises clients on how to structure Russian business operations, and how to manage legal issues relating to trade and investment in Russia. His practice is equally divided between representing Russian-owned companies, and Western or Asian companies doing business in Russia. (Howell)


From Pericles, “What you leave behind is not what is engrained in stone monuments, it is what you have woven."

Click on the names below to wish your fellow members a happy birthday or congratulate them on their BBRC anniversaries.




21 yrs
20 yrs
20 yrs
19 yrs
18 yrs
14 yrs
12 yrs
6 yrs
4 yrs
2 yrs


The May 18th meeting will NOT be held at the Glendale CC but at:

Overlake G&CC
8000 NE 16th
Medina, WA 98039

Do NOT go to Glendale that morning. Please mark this on your calendars.

Back to Top

Presidential Membership Conference
Rotary International President (2007-08) Wilf Wilkinson invites clubs, districts, and Rotarians to a Presidential Membership Conference in Vancouver, BC (Richmond) on Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11, 2007.

Rotarians from Canada, USA and international delegates will attend this outstanding event. This conference is one of only seven Presidential Membership Conferences being held by RIP Wilf Wilkinson. Targeted to Rotary clubs, this conference will focus on the need for change and practical ways to increase membership, retain existing members, and extend Rotary through new clubs.

Keynote speakers will include RI President Wilf Wilkinson, Past RIBI President John Hockin (from the UK) and an exceptional line-up of speakers with experience in membership development. The conference will feature interactive roundtable discussion opportunities to exchange ideas and best practices.

Who should attend?
• Club membership committee chairs and members
• Club presidents and club officers
• District membership committee chairs and members
• District Governor, DGE, DGN, AG and past officers
• All Rotarians enthused about strengthening Rotary

Conference details, agenda, list of speakers, hotel information and registration are all available at Preferential hotel room rates are available and for those areas served by WestJet there are discount flights available.

Back to Top

Charity Golf Classic on the Horizon
The BBRC Charity Golf Classic is now on the calendar for Monday, July 30, 8:00 am, at Willows Run, Eagle Talon Course. More information is forthcoming.

Back to Top


Reveille Image