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Rotary Essay Contest 2011


4-Way Essay Contest

Sponsored by

Rotary District 5580 and Thunder Bay Rotary Club (Port Arthur)

Open to students in their Final Two Years of High School

 

CASH PRIZES

District Winner - $1100

6 Regional Winners - $150 each

Local Winner - $200

 
TOPIC: Any topic may be chosen that will utilize the Rotary 4-Way Test:

1. Is it the truth

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 

The topic may be specific or general; however, the essay must include all four (4) principles of the 4-Way Test and the way these principles relate to the topic presented.

 

LENGTH: 500-1000 words

 

JUDGING CRITERIA:

 Judging will be based on utilization and application of the principles of the 4-Way Test, creativity, organization and language/grammar.

 

DEADLINE for local entries is MARCH 7

 

QUESTIONS? Contact Brenda Winter, Port Arthur Rotary Club – bgwinter@lakeheadu.ca

 

 

May We Please Meet With You, Sir?

 

I am Nze Anizor, a member of the Rotary Club of Trans – Amadi.

 

When Did You Become a Rotarian?

 

I became a Rotarian in 2000.

 

What Made You To Join Rotary?

 

I joined Rotary because I identified Rotary as a good platform to contribute to the betterment of our society, and render worthwhile service to humanity.

I started by joining the Rotaract club of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka. At that time, all I knew about the organization was the service it renders. That resonated with me, and attracted me. I did not know then of the fun, friendship, and other aspects of Rotary. Nobody had talked to me about Rotary at that time. All I knew was what I read in a magazine as a secondary school student. So I entered the university knowing I will join a Rotaract Club. I joined within three weeks of my registration as an undergraduate.

 

 What Is Still Keeping You As a Rotarian?

 

The service, then the fun. I will walk away if the fun takes precedence over the service, but I know that is not going to happen.

 

How did the Spelling Bee start at Rotary club of Trans Amadi?

 

In 2010, the RI president Ray Klinginsmith encouraged clubs to be ‘bigger, better, and bolder’. It wasn't the theme that year but it was a charge from the RI President that all Rotary Clubs should strive to be ‘Bigger, Better and Bolder’ in everything they do, whether it was in club size, in projects or in programmes to be delivered. That appealed to me because I had always felt that many of our clubs were limiting themselves to really small projects in their immediate localities. So we had these really wonderful projects but with really limited impact due mostly to their scope. I have always believed that Rotarians are underutilized. We have incredible talents and skills in even an average Rotary Club, but we have not been able to harness these resources in our project formulation and execution. In a manner of speaking, we have been playing safe. You find professionals with different skills and competencies come together for one purpose and you are not doing anything impactful. It is beyond drilling a borehole somewhere. You don't need much thinking to drill a bore hole. Daniel Abia can wake up tomorrow morning and say he wants to drill a borehole for his community. You simply engage a contractor, he sinks a borehole and you walk away. So you don't really need a Rotary Club. Or donating a few exercise books to a school. Anybody can do that. That’s why I get this feeling when Rotary Clubs visit orphanages to donate bags of rice and noodles. I am not against visiting such Homes but I think Rotary Clubs should go way beyond such tokenism. Nze Anizor can wake up in the morning of his birthday and choose to visit a charity home with his family. We may buy two bags of rice, ten packs of noodles and whatever, and we go for a visit. Without prejudice to funding limitations, a Rotary club should be harnessing talents of its members to deliver extraordinary projects. So, ‘Bigger, Better, and Bolder’ made a lot of sense to the Board of Directors of our club in 2010/2011 and the Rotary Club of Trans – Amadi Spelling Bee was born. It has made sense to successive Boards of our club since then.

 Of course, the more impact a project makes, the more likely it is to impact positively on our public image. An enhanced positive public image increases our ability to attract and recruit new members, and attract funding for the Rotary Foundation. Naturally it helps out membership retention. So it all comes together.

 Remember that our club’s Vision statement is ‘to be the most visible Rotary club in Nigeria, with enhanced capacity to deliver service above self’.  So we saw the Spelling Bee as one of the vehicles to achieving and sustaining that vision. We had to do something that has capacity to attract national attention, and the Spelling Bee fit that bill.

 

What will you say is the significant impact of Spelling Bee to Rotarians and the society at large?

 

At least forty secondary schools have established Spelling Bee clubs since we started our project in 2011. About six other Spelling Bee competitions, run by different organizations, have also started in Rivers State since. Unfortunately, most of them have collapsed but one or two still remain. But ours is clearly the biggest and most exciting. This of course brings us back to my earlier point about the skills and talents resident in an average Rotary Club. Why has our project grown at such exponential rates while others are floundering? We have what they lack – established professional, business, and community leaders working for the same purpose.

Students and pupils in Rivers State now have something to look forward to every year. A child in a rural school knows that there is a competition where he can compete with a student from an upscale school on the same pedestal - no cheating, no malpractices, no undue advantage based on the financial status of one’s parents. There are not many competitions in Nigeria which offer such high level of transparency and fair play. So we are teaching the children the value of healthy competition, fair play, and that excellence has a reward.

Two of our winners participated in the National Spelling Bee in in May 2017, and won the first and third positions. Each Spelling Bee edition involves presentation of book prizes to twenty six schools. The more books students have in the libraries of their schools, the more likely they are to read. So our impact is really limitless.

For our club, the project aids our membership retention. It also encourages recruitment. I am aware of a Rotarian who joined just because of our Spelling Bee. Unfortunately, he couldn’t belong to an afternoon club, and so had to join another club which meets in the evening. We all look forward to the project and we are all very proud of it.

 

What is the Future of spelling Bee?

 

The future of spelling bee is very very bright. I can tell you my personal dream for the project. I dream that on the tenth anniversary of the Spelling Bee, in 2010/2011, we should be able to give N1, 000,000.00 as prize money to each first place winner for primary and secondary schools. It is achievable. What we need are more sponsors. If our club buys into that dream, we’ll work towards it and achieve it. We are the Rotary Club of Trans – Amadi, and we do whatever we set our mind to do.

Many companies pay huge sums of money to sponsor beauty pageants, reality shows, comedy shows, etc.

 

What do you think is the major challenge of Spelling Bee?

 

Funding

 

What is the downside of spelling bee?

 

None.

 

How do you balance Rotary, family and work life?

 

Rotary doesn’t take much. What does Rotary take? I attend meetings like any other Rotarian once every week. The same applies to our events. There is nothing really special I do. Naturally, I strive to get my family involved in Rotary as much as possible. So it has minimal impact on my work and other activities especially family.

 

What are the activities that are so important to you apart from Rotary?

 

Spending time with my family, reading, photography, religious activities, etc. Work is a given.

 

With crops of new Rotarians surging in to the club with different expectations, what will be your advice for new and young Rotarians?

 

No matter the reason one joins Rotary, it can only be realized through service. If you join Rotary for business networking opportunities, you can’t get it by sitting down and doing nothing. You have to be part of something. It is when you join an activity, or a committee that you will have the opportunity to work with the person who has that connection you wanted. That’s how it works. I don't bother myself so much with the reason people join Rotary. You want to get married? Good. Join and serve, and you may just find yourself working shoulder to shoulder with the person who will become your spouse. You join because you heard that a big shot in a multinational belongs to the same club? No problem. It is your activity that may bring you in contact with him. You want to make friends? Friends do not come magic. I tell people don't be too keen about why people join their Rotary Club. Just encourage them to serve. Maybe they will get that which brought them to Rotary. Rotary has a lot for everyone. But being active in service is the key.

Seek as much knowledge about Rotary as possible. It is difficult to enjoy what you do not understand. I deceive myself if I claim to enjoy Cricket. I do not understand it, and cannot possibly enjoy it.

 

How did you became a photographer?

 

It started from Rotary. As the editor-in-chief of our weekly bulletin, I needed to good quality pictures for publication. So I bought my first camera. Then I started reading about photography to improve my skills in taking and producing quality and professional pictures. Now I am a photographer and gets paid for it. I do serious photography now. But it started from a desire to improve the quality of pictures in the club’s bulletin. Right now I have read more than eighty books on photography. I have attended many courses on photography. But being a photographer came from the Rotary Club of Trans - Amadi, by trying to do something for the club.

 

Where do you think you will be in the next 10 years in Rotary?

 

I will be a member of the Rotary Club of Trans – Amadi, God willing.

 

Have you ever regretted being a Rotarian?

 

No.

 

What is your take in spelling Bee 2017?

 

It is going to be great. It will be the best we have ever organized. You know, I think that if we decide to stop the competition, schools may revolt. There are not many primary or secondary schools in Rivers State which will rightly claim not to have heard about Rotary.

 

It has been our pleasure to have you in our bulletin.

 

Thank you.

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