Rotary Club meeting minutes
 
ROTAGRAM
 
ROTARY CLUB OF JACKSON (RCJ) MEETING
Monday, June 19, 2017
 
President Jill Beneke, CEO and president of Pileum, called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.  Patrick Phillips, retired minister, delivered the invocation. Brent Melton, Vizaline LLC, led the pledge of allegiance.  Beneke led the four-way test and introduced the head table: Phillip Macon, business manager of the Education Center School; Cindy Yelverton, owner of Sitters LLC; Will Crossley, president of The Piney Woods School and Richard Wilbourn, owner of Wilbourn and Associates who introduced the speaker Dr. Jeff Bulington, director of the Franklin County Chess Education Project.  Johnny Donaldson, BankPlus, introduced the many guests and visiting Rotarians.
 
Beneke announced the fiscal year ends June 30 and asked that those who have past-due balances to please get them in so they can be included in this year’s financials.  Invoices for 3rd Quarter 2017 will be going out by email the last week in June. 
 
Committee Preference Sheets are available for those who have not yet let us know on which committee(s) they would like to serve.  Please get these to Carol Hardwick asap.
 
Fontaine, as chair of the Rotary Raffle, thanked all who purchased raffle tickets and noted that sales will continue through the last drawing on June 26. The winning tickets drawn today were:

1. $100 gift card to Lou’s (donated by Paul Bowers at People Lease) – Yolanda Singleton
2. Virtual Reality Headset – Sarah Hodges
3. Guy Fieri Cookware Set – Leslie Sinclair
4. 28-bottle Single Zone Thermoelectric Wine Refrigerator – Kim Burke
5. Keurig Coffee Maker – Al Sage
6. Dyson V6 Cordless Vacuum – Cindy Henderson
7. The Graduate Hotel, Oxford, Package – Keith Ferguson
8.  Vizio 65” Smart TV – Nancy Lane
 
Dr. Bulington, or, as his students know him, Dr. B, who was hired in 2015 with funds from an anonymous donor to start The Franklin County Chess Education project, said he would put his students up against any other students anywhere, and he successfully did just that, first in Starkville at the Mississippi state championships where his mostly elementary-school-aged students faced off against mainly high-school-aged students, and dominated them, winning five out of six divisions.  They proved themselves capable again when they went to the national tournament where they placed in the top 10 in the country.  And the U. S. Chess Foundation just designated Meadville Chess City of the Year.  The population of the entire county is less than 8,000.

As background he said no one in his family played chess, even calling it “chest” when he was a child.  One of his teachers started some of them playing chess, but she chose only boys and only those in the highest reading group.  Now he realizes this was such a “remarkable waste.”  In Franklin County, he has as many girls as boys. He did fall in love with the game, though, and told about meeting a farmer at church who invited him out to his house to play.  The farmer beat him, which very much surprised him, and greatly disturbed him.  But he quickly realized he could learn from this farmer.  He went to his house every day.  Gradually he did learn from the farmer and, over time, came to beat the farmer regularly.  He said he is not teaching chess just for the sake of having them learn the game itself.  For example, when he heard us say the Rotarian 4-Way Test at the beginning of the meeting, he thought that is sort of what chess is all about, truth, fairness, good will, better friendships. Chess players learn from their losses and appreciate them. And go back at it better for what they learned. This is a different kind of attitude in learning.

They learn academics as well. One of his rules of chess is that you write down every move you make so you can refer to it afterward and into the future.  This instills the value of writing.  It is a big advantage to make literacy part of the process.  Students have to read chess books.  Chess is also about pattern recognition, and students read books about that, too.  Chess creates behavioral changes.  You must behave to play.  
 
CBS filmed about 100 hours for the 60 Minutes segment, and he was sorry about some of the things that got edited out, such as when he talked about being a student himself when his grandmother came to his house during one of the many chess meetings he organized.  She did not play chess and he did not take the time to include her.  He said in Franklin County he hears his grandmother’s voice every day and feels he is in some way making up for what he missed many years ago. He is in a place he likes to be.  He is doing what he likes to do. 

On one of their first trips in the bus, one of his students said language arts was his least favorite subject.  Later, on another trip the same student said English is his favorite subject as he wants to be really good at it. Another student asked Dr. B if he had ever thought about being a teacher. He told the boy he might think about it someday.  He said the community's recently turning an old dilapidated building in Meadville into the Franklin County Chess Center shows commitment, to the community, to the students.  When they also bought the building next door to expand the center, a student asked him “Are we going to keep on buying buildings and turning them into chess centers?”  Dr. B replied, “No. Not me.  You will do that when you grow up.”  “OK,” said the student. 
 
Right now the 60 Minutes segment “Chess Country” can be viewed in its entirety at
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/chess-country-2/ and a transcript of it is at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kids-fight-stereotypes-using-chess-in-rural-mississippi/ 

Next Monday, June 26, is the Changing of the Guard when we will thank Jill Beneke for all she has done as President for The Rotary Club of Jackson, and Brooks Buchanan will become President for 2017-2018. 

The 4-Way Test:
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?

Carol Hardwick, IOM
Executive Director
The Rotary Club of Jackson
P. O. Box 3807
Jackson, MS 39207
jrotary@bellsouth.net
601-352-8500
www.rotaryclubofjackson.org