GRSP Update
Celebrating Class of 2018-19 and District Conference Awards as We Get Ready for New Students

Magno Toniolo, Felipe Lopez, Erik Neman and Gabriel Aguiar at the Friday night Big Wheels event

Magno Toniolo, Felipe Lopez, Erik Neman and Gabriel Aguiar at the Friday night Big Wheels event


Those clubs that are sponsoring a GRSP are finally able to communicate with their students for next year. New friends are being made on Facebook and Instagram. We are finally seeing who our students really are and we are all excited each time we receive an email from this other country. We are Skyping and Facebooking with families that we know nothing about and we are learning what our students want from their year in Georgia. We are also talking with Rotarians from other clubs that we may not have met before. The interesting thing is that we will become friends – not only with our students, but with other Rotarians. As we take our students to other clubs for visits or email with other Rotarians, working through the logistics of getting our students through the Visa process and then on an airplane to the US, we are reminded of how wonderful it is to be a member of a fraternity of Rotarians that cares so deeply about the Georgia Rotary Student Program.


Awards for the largest per capita giving were awarded in each category at the District Conference. The Rotary Club of Griffin has been sponsoring this award for many years and has called it the Jake Cheatham Memorial Award in honor of a great Rotarian and sponsor of the Georgia Rotary Student Program. The winners were:

  • Category 1: RC of Tucker - $75.98
  • Category 2: RC of North Atlanta - $68.48
  • Category 3: RC of Atlanta Midtown - $25.34
  • Category 4: RC of Thomasville - $206.34

For those clubs that wish to receive a rebate for next year, it is not too late to get in your donations to make the $50 per capita in giving that is required to receive a rebate. A club can ask their trustee for that information or can request from me or the Savannah Office. Any of us would be happy to review what is needed to assure a club some extra funds to be used in whatever way the club desires.

Also awarded at the District Conference was the Frank E. Bentley Leadership Award sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs to honor a Rotarian who has given above and beyond to GRSP. This year the award was given to George Siggins of the Rotary Club of Henry County. George served six years as a trustee and took his students to every one of their club meetings. He communicated with all the students in Georgia to assure that we would have a great showing at the District Conference.

GRSPs had great fun at the conference during the Big Wheels Event. A Team was sponsored by the District and the students had great fun as a team plotting how to win. We are proud of the fact that they won both of their heats and will be receiving a special award from DG Court for their participation.

The Will Watt Award - sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pelham - was given to Daniyal Ajmal Nasir From Pakistan, who is attending the University of Georgia. Daniyal tells us: "I came to America with a fearful mind set; I was paranoid about how I would be received by the people of Georgia (or the south as a whole). With the divisive rhetoric often used by the politicians and political commentators of this country to describe an outsider: a brown man coming from Pakistan can naturally be skeptical about how life would be on this side of the world. I learnt, however, a lesson that is crucial for all people to learn in this day and age; we cannot gauge how a country is like by simply viewing what is presented to us at face value. It is important for us, as people, to inquire, be curious and be careful about the preconceived notions we make up in our own mind about a country and its people. The fear I felt coming to these United States of America is the same kind of fear that people unfortunately have when they think about my country of Pakistan. I learned, through the people I've met and had the pleasure of knowing, that there exists no fundamental difference in our own individual humanity. Pakistanis and the people of the South are both God fearing people, tolerant, welcoming and hospitable, and they have some of the best food in the world."

Posted by Lynn Clarke
May 6, 2019


This Year’s Posts